Best Drone For Hunting
Technology has been advancing by the day, and for the last couple of years, drones have gained a lot of popularity. Hunters are some of the people who have adopted drones in their hunting activities. Drones have become essential hunting gear because they help hunters to track their kill from an aerial view. Moreover, drones capture high-quality videos and images. They also help save hunters a lot of time and effort when scouting and recovering a kill. If you are enthusiastic about hunting and want a drone, this article will review some of the best drones for hunting.
Hunting Drone Reviews
Below is a comparison table of the top rated drones for hunting.
DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO V2.0
If you are looking to embark on your hunting escapades but you are undecided on the drone to get yourself, you could consider purchasing the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. The V2.0 is an upgrade of the original DJI Phantom 4 Pro. Apart from a few distinct features, DJI has designed this drone to the specifications of the previous version.
This is a device that you would be proud to have to help you scout for prey during hunting preseason because of its excellent capturing capabilities. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is designed with a 3-axis gimbal-stabilized camera that includes a 1-inch 20MP CMOS Sensor. It allows you to capture high-quality 4K videos at 60 frames per second, and 20MP still images at 14 frames per second. Quite impressive for the field, don’t you think so?
That is not all; this high-end drone also features a sturdy and ergonomic design, allowing you to use it for a couple of your hunting trips. Moreover, it is designed with Ocusync Transmission- a feature that helps you to better stream videos of your hunting grounds. It makes tracking your kill seem like a walk in the park. Controlling this upgraded version is also easy thanks to the included FlightAutonomy system. This system ensures that the drone will not crash into obstacles. How so? It comes fitted with infrared sensing and dual rear-vision sensors that provide four directions of obstacle avoidance and five directions of obstacle sensing.
Another feature that makes the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 ideal for hunting is its range. You are able to control it up to a range of 4.3 miles. Moreover, it has visual tracking capabilities, allowing you to follow moving prey. Control is made seamless by the included remote controller, and it has an excellent flight time of up to 30 minutes. It also comes with additional accessories to make flying more enjoyable.
DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO V2 - PROS
• This drone comes with intelligent flight modes
• It has an ample flight time
• The device also has great picture and video shooting capabilities
• It comes fitted with obstacle avoidance sensors
DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO V2 - CONS
• It is a bit pricey
DJI MAVIC PRO PLATINUM
The next item on our list is the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. DJI not only designed this drone with excellent features suitable for hunting but also made it readily available at an affordable price. One of the major aspects that make it fit for your hunting escapades is its quiet flight. This drone reduces noise by about 40 percent, ensuring that you do not scare away the prey you are hunting. Smaller animals, especially those that are on the lookout for predators from above, tend to be scared by the noise of the drones, something that the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum eliminates.
Featuring a sleek design, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is also very portable, allowing you to move with it from one hunting ground to the other without getting tired. Its portability is further enhanced by the fact that it is collapsible. This is convenience all in one package. This drone also comes with a pocket-sized remote controller that provides you with better navigation. DJI has also ensured to fit it with OcuSync Transmission technology that allows you to fly it up to a range of 4.3 miles.
You can easily track your kill with this drone because it is fitted with a camera that captures 4K videos. Its remote controller also delivers you with full HD 1080p video streaming. That is not all. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum also has a great flight time of up to 27 minutes. Keep in mind that you will have more time when you are constantly flying the drone as compared to when it is hovering.
If there is no wind, this drone can achieve speeds of up to 40mph. It is also fitted with ActiveTrack to help you track mobile animals across the hunting grounds. Another impressive feature of this drone is its obstacle avoidance, which is aided by the fitted sensors to provide you with a seamless flying experience. Moreover, its TapFly feature makes it easier even for a beginner hunter to fly. This drone also features vision positioning paired with GLONASS and GPS for easier navigation allowing you to use your phone to fly it.
DJI MAVIC PRO PLATINUM - PROS
• The drone is available at an excellent price given its impressive features
• It features obstacle avoidance
• The device has an excellent flight time
• Great range for hunting
• It provides a quieter flight
• The drone is collapsible and very portable
DJI MAVIC PRO PLATINUM - CONS
• You may experience problems with transmission after firmware update
• Customer support is not reliable
• The drone has issues connecting with the controller
DJI MAVIC AIR
If you are a hunter looking to track your prey from an aerial view, you could easily do so by getting yourself the DJI Mavic Air. This drone features an ergonomic and lightweight design, enabling you to move from one hunting site to the next with ease. In addition to its convenient design, it also has a compact foldable design that allows you to fit it into a small carry case. If portability is what you are going for, this might be the ideal choice for you.
This drone comes with a horizontal, vertical, and 180 degrees panoramas. It can stitch 25 photos together in 8 seconds to deliver sharp 32MP sphere panoramas. DJI has designed this drone with a 3-axis gimbal that helps to stabilize the camera for capturing clearer photos and videos even at high speeds. It comes with a 12MP camera and captures 4K videos at 30 frames per second.
The DJI Mavic Air is fitted with a lithium battery that delivers up to 21 minutes of flight time. It also comes with a remote controller that allows you to control the drone from a range of up to 6526’. The remote controller is also foldable to allow you to hold your smartphone. This gives you better control of your drone as you scout during preseason or when you are tracking your kill. You can also detach the control sticks on the controller for easier portability.
This drone is also designed with ActiveTrack to help you follow moving animals. That is not all. You can also rely on it to record 1080p slow-motion videos at 120 frames per second. The Mavic Air also has an 8 GB internal storage, and a Micro SD card slot to store your hunting images and videos.
DJI MAVIC AIR - PROS
• The drone has a foldable and compact design
• It is portable
• The device is well priced
• It produces excellent image and video quality
• It comes fitted with sensors to avoid a collision
• The DJI Mavic Air features an ergonomically designed remote controller
DJI MAVIC AIR - CONS
• It has a relatively shorter flight time
• Its Wi-Fi signal is not as strong
• The drone’s range is not so impressive
AUTEL X-STAR PREMIUM
Another ideal drone for hunting that you could get yourself is the Autel X-Star Premium. This is one of the drones that feature a stylish and ergonomic design. Autel has designed it with a bright orange color that allows you to see it from a distance up in the sky even when it is slightly foggy. One of the features that makes it suitable for tracking your kill is its 4K ultra HD video camera. This camera is also stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal, which makes it easier for you to capture crisp images and videos of your prey even when you are flying it at a high speed.
There is more; the X-Star Premium is designed with an HD Live View that allows you to view images from 1.2 miles away. Moreover, it has autonomous flight modes through the free Starlink app that is supported by both Android an iOS devices.
Tracking your prey using the Autel X-Star Premium is much easier because it is built with Dual GPS and GLONASS outdoor navigation. Other features that enhance navigation are its Starpoint Positioning SystemTM, and the SecureFlyTM magnetic interference protection. You can use this drone to take 12MP stills. Interestingly, the camera and gimbal are removable, allowing you to upgrade your drone to better features.
Controlling this drone does not give you a hard time either because of its intuitive remote controller that is fitted with one-touch action buttons and an LCD display. Moreover, if you have issues with your drone, you can easily get help from the 24/7 customer support from Autel. It also comes with accessories to boost the flight experience. You can enjoy up to 25 minutes of flight time with this drone.
AUTEL X-STAR PREMIUM - PROS
• Available customer support
• Batteries charge considerably fast
• It comes with an ergonomic and stylish design
• It comes with a remote controller that improves functionality
• The drone supports the free-to-download Starlink App that is compatible with iOS and Android devices
• It comes with a hard carry case
• The device is economically priced
AUTEL X-STAR PREMIUM - CONS
• If the battery dies, it’s hard to get a new one
• A little hard to control
Finally in our review is the Autel Evo. This is an ideal drone for a hunter who is looking for a drone with high image and video quality. The Autel Evo is designed with a camera that captures 4K ultra HD videos at 60 frames per second and 12MP images. This drone is also fitted with a 3-axis gimbal that helps to stabilize the camera.
The longevity of the Autel Evo should be the least of your concerns because it features a sturdy construction, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. Autel also provides every customer that buys this drone with 7 days a week customer support. With an excellent flight time of up to 30 minutes, this drone reaches a range of up to 4.3 miles.
Using the free-to-download Explorer app, you get 1080p HD live view from your iOS or Android device, making it easier to track your prey. Besides autonomous flight modes, this drone also includes a remote controller with a 3.3-inch OLED display and one-touch action buttons that deliver seamless control of your drone. Did we also mention that it has GPS and GLONASS satellite positioning plus computer vision systems? Well, it does. They improve navigation. It is also fitted with sensors to avoid hitting obstacles.
AUTEL EVO - PROS
• It is customizable to fit your desired settings
• Durable construction
• It has a couple of flight modes
• Captures crisp and clear images and videos
• Supports Android and iOS devices
• Comes with a 1-year warranty plus customer support throughout the week
AUTEL EVO - CONS
• It takes longer to charge
• Camera upgrades can only be bought from Autel
Regulations for Flying Drones for Hunting
Drones are now being used by hunters to scout for animals in hard to reach areas. However, as a hunter, you cannot just use drones in whatever way you want. You must adhere to certain rules as stipulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Here are some of the regulations that the FAA has set aside.
• You have to register your drone. A $5 fee is charged
• Drones should be flown at or below 400 feet
• Ensure that your drone is always within your line of sight
• Privacy has to be respected
• Drones should not be flown faster than 100 mph.
• You may not fly near other aircraft, particularly near airports
• You may not fly your drone close to emergency response effort sites like fires or hurricane recovery efforts
• You are not allowed to fly under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
• Get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration
• Notify the airport and air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport
• Drones should weigh less than 55 pounds
• Drone Small Unmanned Aircraft should be flown only during daylight or civil twilight
The aforementioned are some of the regulations that hunters have to adhere to. Keep in mind, however, that different states have different regulations. As a result, you need to acquaint yourself with the FAA Airspace Restrictions set for the state you’re hunting in. Numerous states have either banned or established additional regulations for flying drones for hunting. Alaska, for instance, was the first state to ban hunters from using drones to spot animals/game. Other states have followed suit, and it is expected that others might join in line. These regulations came into play to prevent drones from disturbing animals in their habitats.
Ethical Issues Concerning Drones for Hunting
Today, technology is an integral part of hunting, and drones are at the top of the list. However, their use has brought about ethical concerns. There are hunters who are in support of their use, while there are those that are against the use of drones for hunting. Those who are against the use of drones claim that their use goes against what hunting stands for. According to them, hunting is a sport that requires certain skills, especially precision, and using drones just eliminates that.
Those in support of using drones suggest that drones can be used for flushing out big game, making it easier for hunters to acquire their targets. Unfortunately, there is inadequate proof that this is indeed possible. After all, most animals’ habitats are in the woods, and you understand flying a drone in areas where there is heavy cover is a little hectic. There is a high probability that hunters cannot manage to flush out the animals using the drones because of their flight restrictions. Then again, drones tend to have a limited range, making it even harder to carry out a successful hunt.
As a result, hunters who use drones should adhere to certain rules in order to remain ethical during the hunt. If you intend to use a drone in your next hunting trip to scout for the game, here are some of the rules that you ought to abide by.
• No same day hunting
If you are scouting for a game using a drone, it is recommended you wait for at least 24 hours after flying before you go hunting within that area. The state of Alaska has put this regulation in place. This is an effective strategy to ensure that hunters do not flush out the game and get into the woods immediately to hunt.
• Drones should not be used when hunters are in the hunting grounds
Hunting is a sport that deserves to be treated with respect. As such, it would be unethical for hunters to be in the field while their associates are flying a drone trying to track game. It would be right to consider this an atrocity to hunting, which is why it is highly discouraged. It would be wrong or rather unethical for those navigating the drone to call the hunters on the ground informing them of the specific position of the prey being hunted. This rule goes hand in hand with the 24-hour rule and going against it is outright wrong for someone who is passionate about hunting.
• The game should not be harassed
Hunting is an old sport. If you look around, you will be sure to find hunters as old as 80. During their time, there was limited hunting technology and they relied on pure skill. In fact, people used to flush out the game by themselves. A lot of experienced hunters suggest this to be the best way. Drones will most likely scare away game – something that you would not want to do. It is about time that regulations are set aside on how drones need be used for hunting because they have amassed a lot of popularity in recent times.
• Attaching firearms to drones
Another issue that has raised eyebrows when it comes to hunting with drones is attaching firearms to the drones. If hunters attach firearms to the drones, hunting will not be the same sport it deserves to be. Hunting needs people to be on the ground rather than being done from the comfort of a screen. This is a thing that is better left to the military when they are going on missions to help eradicate risks. Attaching a firearm to a drone for hunting is outright wrong, and it deserves to be banned it is.
Some of the Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Drones
What is a UAS?
A UAS is an unmanned aircraft system. A drone and a UAS are the same for registration purposes. A UAS is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. (Public Law 112-95, Section 331 (8)).
Is a UAS the same as a model aircraft?
A model aircraft is a UAS that is flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it. It is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere. It is flown as a hobby or recreational purposes.
How much is the penalty for failing to register?
The FAA stipulates that individuals who do not register an aircraft are liable for regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties amounting up to $27,500, while criminal fines could go up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to three years.
Are you required to have proof of registration when operating a UAS?
Yes, it is mandatory to have your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating your drone.
Who can you contact if your question is not answered on the UAS website?
Well, operators are advised to read all the information on the website. If you don’t find the answer to the question you are looking for, you should contact the FAA’s UAS Integration office through email or on phone – 844-FLY-MY-UA or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where is information about operating your UAS safely found?
You can find information concerning the safe operation of a UAS at www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft. Here, you will find all the information you need, including other crucial facts.
Who needs to register on the UAS registration website?
Anybody who is operating an unmanned aircraft system/drone that weighs less than 55 pounds for commercial or recreational purposes has to register.
What is the weight limit for registration?
Anyone who has a UAS that weighs less than 55 pounds and more than 250 grams has to register.
Is the registration process for commercial purposes different from recreational purposes?
The registration process for commercial UASs is different from that of personal use because of the contents that need to be submitted. Moreover, you must have a Part107 license for you to use a UAS commercially.
What is the minimum age requirement?
The minimum age requirement for registering for a UAS is 13 years. If the owner of a drone is below the age of 13, a person who is at least 13 years old has to register the UAS.
What is the definition of recreational use of an Unmanned Aircraft System?
Technically, recreational usage is flying for enjoyment and not for work, commercial purposes, or for hire. The FAA sourced this definition from the dictionary.
How do you know where it is okay to fly and where it is not?
The FAA has come up with a mobile app known as B4UFLY to help recreational UAS operators to know whether there are any restrictions or other regulations where they want to fly. There is also some information on the FAA website.
Are you required to inform all airports within 5 miles of where you want to fly?
Yes. This is a must do. You need to notify any airport and air traffic control towers within 5 miles of the area you intend to fly your drone.
Today, the use of drones in different societies has been on the rise. People are adopting technologies in different fields, and hunters haven’t been left behind. Most hunters use them to scout for game or to track their kill. If you are looking to get yourself a great hunting drone, you may want to consider starting with one of those in our review. Unfortunately, we can’t settle on the best one for you, you just should go through each review and determine the one that best suits you. Keep in mind that there are regulations you should adhere to when it comes to flying a drone.