Drones For Hunting: Ultimate Guide And Best Drone Review


Drones For Hunting Ultimate Guide And Best Drone Review

Often hunters ask: is it possible to use the serial drone (quadrocopter) DJI Inspire, Walkera, Phantom or Mavic for hunting? For photos and videos of brave hunters, landscapes, snowmobile rides – you can and should! These drones make great quality videos. But the task of the drone for hunting is to help the hunter in finding game. Effectively, this can only be done with a thermal imager.  Look at examples of synchronous video shooting – the difference is obvious (see video example below). Using a conventional copter video camera, finding a beast in a coniferous or mixed forest, on the field, is very difficult, and in low light conditions it is impossible. “Flying Imager” is the only tool that allows you to detect the beast in the forest or in the field at a great distance or over a large area during the day and night.

Synchronous recording of one scene. Normal video (right) and thermal imager. Walking people in camouflage are not visible when shooting in the visible range!

 

Drone Requirements For Hunting

The specifics of using the drone during hunting determines the basic requirements for it:

  • Thermal imager on a gyro-stabilized suspension controlled from the remote control
  • GPS coordinates on the pilot’s screen (to be able to quickly inform group members the exact coordinates of the target)
  • At least 5 km radius
  • 40+ minutes time
  • Easy to use
  • Compact but preferably high landing gear for grass take-off
  • Maintenance free

How To Choose Professional Drones For Hunting

All drones are designed based on customer specifications. Their characteristics are determined not by the recommendations of marketers, but by real requests. The main model range of the company is the basis for the implementation of most projects, which has the minimum necessary functionality, and the customer determines the capabilities of the final product. 

All the company’s projects implemented for several principles, for example, “weight culture” or “optimization x2”. The use of engines and electronics of the best world manufacturers, aviation materials, static and flight tests determine the excellent flight qualities, reliability and safety.

Common features of all professional drones for search of the beast, target designation and assistance to hunters:

  • thermal imager FLIR VUE on a controlled 3-axis gyro-stabilized suspension
  • OSD with the translation of accurate GPS coordinates in the general video stream, i.e. accurate target designation to all participants
  • simple and reliable design
  • possibility of expansion and modification

The flight characteristics given in the review may vary depending on the manner of piloting and flight conditions: air temperature, wind strength.

Custom Made Drones for Hunting

1. DS550 with thermal imaging module

DS550 Hunting Drone

Price: +$4,100

The quadcopter DS550 is a compact four-engine drone designed for long flights and designed for compact load. The model is equipped with a directional camera. The pilot has the ability to switch between different video sources from the radio remote control. Video broadcasting from a quadrocopter to ground equipment is carried out in real time, without delays characteristic of digital transmission. An analog video channel with a frequency of 5.8 GHz is used to transmit the video signal. The standard copter has a range of 16+ km, the maximum distance from the take-off point is 5+ km and makes it possible to accurately determine the location of the target and operational target designation.

The budget includes a DS550, a suspension thermal imaging module, an FPV system, a radio control kit (RU), a monitor, a video receiver with a set of antennas, batteries, a charger.

PROS:

+ Compactness
+ Time, Radius and Range           
                             

CONS:

– Short chassis

2. DS700 + FLIR VUE PRO

DS700 Drone For Hunting

Price: +$9,400

The quadcopter DS700 is a utilitarian model designed for the installation of several cameras, a thermal imaging module on a gyro-stabilized suspension. The copter was designed taking into account the requirements of the military and the Ministry of Emergency Situations: “operation without regular maintenance, in difficult conditions and by unqualified personnel ”. The copter allows you to install three cameras (for example: standard, thermal, HD) and switch between them from the remote control – this configuration is usually used for search operations. Video broadcasting is carried out from the board of the copter to ground equipment via an analog video channel 5.8 GHz. The DS700 copter  with standard equipment has a range of 12+ km, can be 5+ km away from the take-off location and has a flight information display unit (OSD) that translates the coordinates of the drone’s current location.

The budget includes a DS700 as standard, a thermal imaging module, a suspension, an FPV system, a set of switchgear, a monitor, a video receiver with a set of antennas, batteries, a charger.

PROS:

+  the most affordable solution with a specialized device
+  simple and robust design for harsh environments
+  high landing gear for grass take-off        
                    

CONS:

–  flight time with a load of 35 minutes

3. DS800 + FLIR VUE PRO

DS800 + FLIR VUE PRO Hunting Drone

Price: +$11,300

Hexacopter DS800 – a copter with a large radius and range. The six-motor configuration reduces the risks for the payload (relevant when installing the equipment of the price segment 5K $ +: TAU2, radiometric devices). Permanent video recording with GPS coordinates, a search beacon (option) and a professional flight controller provide a high level of security. Energy-absorbing elements are installed in the frame, due to which the copter ensures parry of hard landings and the safety of electronics in case of emergency.

DS800 allows you to install two cameras – heading and thermal imaging, switching between which is carried out from the remote control. Video transmission from the board of the copter is carried out on a monitor / helmet / glasses at a frequency of 5.8 GHz. The use of analog broadcast video streams significantly increases security, as it is carried out without the delays characteristic of digital transmission and helps to fend off the line of sight visibility in time.  The DS800 hexacopter  with a standard propeller-motor group has a range of 16+ km, a radius of 5+ km. The flight information display unit (OSD), which broadcasts the current position of the drone, is installed on the copter.

The budget includes a DS800 in its basic configuration, a suspension kit, FPV system, RU, monitor, video receiver, set of antennas, batteries, charger.

PROS:

+  Extra security
+  Radius and range                   
+  High landing gear for grass take-off                
     

CONS:

–  Time with load – 35 minutes
–  Optimized for a specific set of equipment

4. DS900 With Thermal Imaging Monocular

DS900 Drone For Hunting

Price:  +$7,200 

Hexacopter DS900 is a model designed to mount a PULSAR QUANTUM or DALI S240 monocular thermal imager on a gyro-stabilized servo suspension. The DS900 was created at the request of hunters who already have a monocular in their arsenal. The device can be removed / installed by the user independently.  According to operating experience, the most suitable for use on a drone are monoculars with a focal length of less than 20 mm:

+  Pulsar Quantum XD19S
+  Dali  s 240
+  Guide IR510P                            
+  Guide IR517G-19                       
+  FLIR Scout LS-32 | PS-32          

– Guide IR517V-35 | 60 | 80


– PULSAR Quantum XD 38S | 50S

–  FLIR Scout TS-32r Pro | BTS-X 100

 

 

The six-motor configuration reduces the risks of aircraft loss and payload. Permanent video recording with GPS coordinates, a search beacon (option) and a professional flight controller provide a high level of security. Energy-absorbing elements are installed in the hexacopter frame, due to which the copter provides parry of hard landings and the safety of electronics in case of an emergency.

DS900 allows you to install two cameras. The pilot switches between them during the flight from the remote control. The video stream is transmitted from the board of the copter to ground equipment at a frequency of 5.8 GHz. The use of analog video transmission significantly improves flight safety.  The DS900 hexacopter with a standard VMG and a DALI S240 monocular has a range of 10+ km, a radius of 5+ km.

The budget includes a DS900 hexacopter as standard, a servo suspension of up to 1 kg, an FPV system, RU, monitor, video receiver, antennas, batteries, and a charger.

PROS:

+  Most affordable solution       
+  Security                                        
+  Load shedding module (option)
+  High chassis                                   

CONS:

– Narrow field of view F19 – 26 x 20 degrees
–  Time with load – 25 minutes
–  Servo suspension
– Dimensions

DJI Drones For Hunting

Of the many serial models of quadrocopters available on the market for use as a thermal imager for hunting, consider the quadrocopters of DJI, the world leader in the mass copter industry that offers the best solutions for aerial video shooting today. But the task of the hunting drone is to search for game. Let us consider in more detail the possibility of using DJI copters on the hunt.

The first common drawback of all DJI copters  is the lack of GPS coordinates of the drone’s current position on the pilot’s screen. Suppose you found a target, but you cannot say where it is. Accordingly, you can not give clear target designation to group members. This greatly reduces the possibility of using drones in hunting without broadcasting the exact coordinates on the pilot’s screen.

The second common drawback of DJI copters  is the lack of anonymity in use. Drones of the world leader in aircraft engineering require authorization via the Internet before use. If you ignore the authorization requirement, then your drone:

And if you log in? DJI drone software saves the tracks of your flights, the serial numbers of the drone and the mobile device (phone or tablet) from which the authorization is being performed, determines your location by checking the coordinates of the No Fly Zone prohibited zones . This information is sent to company servers located in the USA and China. One of the points of company policy  reads:

“We may preserve and disclose your information if required to do so by law or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with applicable laws, in response to a court order, judicial or other government subpoena, warrant or request, or to otherwise cooperate with law enforcement or other government agencies. We may store and disclose your information if required by law or in good faith believe that such actions are necessary to comply with applicable law, in response to a court order, court order or other government order or request, or otherwise cooperate with law enforcement agencies or other government agencies .”

That is that DJI drone reports all your flights, and this information is available at the request of the court and other authorities. That is, upon a request to the company “Over the territory with coordinates … date … time … a drone was noticed. Can you tell the owner? ”, The company will provide the IMEA / number of your tablet or phone, your e-mail from which the authorization was made, the serial number of the drone and much more.

DJI Drones Equipped For Hunting

1. DJI Mavic with FLIR Boson 320 Thermal Imaging Module

DJI Mavic For Hunting

Price: +$6,600

DJI MAVIC PRO The module is mounted on the quadrocopter housing and is not controlled (!). Video from the FLIR Boson 320 is transmitted from the board of the quadrocopter using an additional video transmitter to a separate monitor, the transmission frequency is 5.8 GHz. The joint work of two 5.8 systems on one copter leads to a deterioration in the quality of digital image transmission from the main camera. Thus, in order to fly you need: a tablet with an Internet connection + monitor. In order to ensure a range of more than 1-2 km, an external video receiver with an antenna is also needed – the built-in video monitor receiver is not capable of providing high-quality video signal reception. And for the video receiver you need a battery. Moreover, the standard Mavic charger will not be able to charge it.

PROS:

+  compactness
+  the cheapest solution

CONS:

– uncontrolled thermal imager
– need internet connection
– lack of flight data on the monitor
– flight time – 27 minutes
– the need for additional equipment
– monitor, video receiver, battery, charger

– lack of GPS coordinates

2. Phantom 4 PRO + With Boson 320 × 256 Thermal Imager

DJI Phantom 4 Drone For Hunting

PRICE: +$7,400 

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Everything is the same as with Mavic, but there is an option with a controlled thermal imager! The module is mounted on a standard camera mount. The weight of the FLIR Boson 320 module with a 4.4 mm lens is 18 grams, plus a mounting bracket. A small balancing weight has been added for the correct suspension balance. The weight of the camera has grown more than 2 times, respectively – the load on the suspension motors has increased. No feedback has been received on this suspension after such an upgrade.

A separate video channel without flight data and the lack of GPS coordinates make this solution unsuitable for hunting.

PROS:

+  controlled imager
+  compactness

CONS:

– double suspension load (option 1)
– uncontrolled thermal imager with partially obscured vision (option 2)
– need internet connection
– lack of flight data on the pilot’s monitor
– flight time of 27 minutes
– lack of coordinates on the pilot’s monitor

3. DJI Inspire 1 Zenmuse XT Thermal Imaging Module

DJI Inspire 1 Drone For HUnting

PRICE: +$11,000

DJI Inspire 1 The module is installed in place of the standard camera of the Inspire 1 quadrocopter. A running camera is also required on the copter. The Zenmuse XT thermal imaging module cannot be installed on the Inspire 2! Although there is a Zenmuse XT Gimbal Adapter, it is only suitable for the Matrice 200.

The module on a gyro-stabilized suspension is controlled. Video from FLIR VUE is transmitted from the board of the quadrocopter in the general video channel to the tablet with a special application.

The use of “gentle” Inspire for hunting in hunting conditions is also very problematic. Short chassis, fine mechanics, short flight time and common disadvantages of all products of the world leader in aircraft building.

PROS:

+ storage system
+ video from the thermal imager in the general video stream
+ high-quality video recording

CONS:

– frame mechanics
– short chassis
– need internet connection
– flight time
– lack of coordinates
– there is no way to determine the exact location of the target

4. DJI Matrice 200 Zenmuse XT Thermal Imaging Module

DJI Matrice Drone For Hunting

PRICE: +$14,500

DJI Matrice 200 The module is installed in place of the standard camera quadrocopter Matrice 200. The video is broadcast from the board of the quadrocopter in general, the video channel to the tablet with a special application. The copter has a protection class of IP43 (from foreign bodies with a diameter of 1 mm and from water sprayed at any angle within 60 degrees from the vertical). But the FLIR VUE module is not protected from water, so flying on the Matrice 200 in the rain is possible, but with a camera it’s not worth it.

Among DJI products, this model came closest to the requirements of hunters, but the lack of GPS coordinates does not allow the full use of the Matrice 200 in hunting.

PROS:

+ storage system
+ video from the thermal imager in the general video stream
+ frame folding system
+ high-quality video recording

CONS:

– short chassis
– need internet connection
– flight time
– there is no way to determine the exact location of the target

5. DJI Matrice 600 with Zenmuse XT module

dji-matrice-600-Drone For Hunting

PRICE: +$13,000

 

DJI Matrice 600 The module is installed in place of the standard camera quadrocopter Matrice 600. The video is broadcast from the hexacopter in the general video channel to the tablet with a special application. The Matrice 600 platform is designed for professional heavy camera aerial photography. The take-off weight exceeds 15 kg, the hexacopter has six (!) Batteries on board, and when ready to fly, has a diameter of ~ 1.7 meters!

Among DJI products, this model is the least suitable for the hunter !!!

PROS:

+ storage system

CONS:

– weight 15+ kg
– 6 batteries
– Dimensions
– lack of GPS coordinates

 

Conclusions

The following models are available in the DJI product line on which you can install a thermal imager: Mavic, Phantom 4, Inspire 1, Matrice 100 | 200 | 600. The standard installation supports the Inspire 1 and Matrice models. None of the models meets all the requirements that consumers make for drones for hunting. Of the main shortcomings of serial DJI drones, it is necessary to note such significant ones as the lack of broadcasting GPS coordinates to the pilot, digital video transmission and the lack of anonymity. You also have the above selection of custom-made private drones that are more suitable for hunting.

Mario

I'm the CEO and founder of DTH. I have been passionate about Drones since I was a boy. I will bring you experience, expertise and knowledge in this new industry which I have gained over the last couple of years.

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