Drone Deer Recovery

By Brodie SwisherDecember 2, 20228 Comments

Hunters never cease to be amazed at the development in technology and tools designed specifically for the pursuit of wild game. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along. And now, there’s a new way of recovering your deer after the shot. Maybe you’ve used a tracking hound, lighted nock, or hand-held tracking tool in the past for deer recovery. But have you ever considered a drone? 

The guys at Drone Deer Recovery not only thought about it, but they put a plan into place and are now making it happen when it comes to recovering deer for hunters with the use of a drone and camera. 

Drone Deer Recovery
A new way of recovering deer has arrived.

How They Do It

Mike Yoder, of Drone Deer Recovery, says the process all starts with him collecting info from the hunter on how things went down. “What type of bow, what kind of broadhead, how heavy of an arrow, and where you think you hit the deer are all some of the basic data we want to collect right from the start,” says Yoder. “If the hunter thinks it was a gut shot, then I’ll typically begin my search in areas where there’s water. But again, it all comes down to data collected by the hunter to help narrow down where we’ll begin the search.” 

Drone Deer Recovery
A bird's eye view gives Drone Deer Recovery the advantage of quickly locating your deer after the shot.

With the basic data collected, Yoder then puts his drone to work. But it’s not just your average drone. This drone is equipped with multiple cameras, from infrared, to a powerful camera with a 200X lens allowing him to identify deer from high in the sky. Finding deer with leaves on the tree can be difficult, but the team says they can still make it happen. It simply takes longer with leaves on the trees.  

Yoder says the average time it takes to find a deer is 7 minutes, and deer have been found up to 48 hours after the shot.

Check out my conversation with Mike Yoder from Drone Deer Recovery in the podcast below…

Legalities of Using a Drone for Deer Recovery

Yoder says recovering deer with a drone is completely legal as long as you’re looking for a dead carcass. No weapons can be on hand. However, things can get questionable when a deer is found still alive.

A hunter can’t simply run back to the truck and grab a bow or gun. That would be considered using a drone to locate and kill deer. But there’s a lot of grey areas here as well. Most states don’t have rules and regulations in place on how long a hunter must wait after locating a deer with the use of drone. And that’s where hunter ethics come into play. Is it right, or wrong, to go in and finish a wounded animal that you’ve located with the use of a drone? Outside of what the law states, it comes down to the hunter’s best judgement. 

Yoder is quick to point out that he’s done his due diligence for the legalities in the state of Ohio. He’s spent a tremendous amount of time researching the subject and meeting with Fish & Game staff to ensure he’s on the right side of the law for using drones for deer recovery. He urges hunters in other states to do the same when it comes to using drones for deer recovery where they live. 

Watch the video below for a look at how the process works.

Advantages Over a Tracking Dog

The use of a drone over a tracking dog has many benefits, primarily being the impact and disturbance of the property. “You’ll have far less disturbance when using a drone,” says Yoder. “There’s no unwanted scent trails from humans or hounds when using a drone.”  

But one of the biggest advantages of a drone is how quickly you can cut to the chase, ruling out certain areas, as well as those that need further inspection. It also helps limit the unnecessary  hassle of having to deal with the neighbors for permission to look for a deer that may, or may not, be on their property. 

Drone Deer Recovery
Drone or Dog? The drone offers less disturbance to your property throughout the search.

The Cost of Drone Deer Recovery

The cost of deer recovery, whether by drone, hounds, or other means, can vary greatly across the country. It all depends on the quality and experience of the handler. But the cost of Drone Deer Recovery is likely comparable to the cost of an experienced hound for tracking your deer. 

Drone Deer Recovery charges $450 for their services + $100 if they are successful finding your deer (does not include mileage fees).

Be sure to check out Drone Deer Recovery at their website www.dronedeerrecovery.com, as well as their social media and YouTube channels.

Lastly, we want to know what you think. What are your thoughts on using a drone for deer recovery? Would you try it? Do you think it’s an ethical way to recover deer? 

Comment below, and let us know what you think.  

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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