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Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go on a hunting trip, but with superpowers? Well, using a drone can help you experience this feeling.
The time when drones were used only for entertainment purposes is long gone. Nowadays, they can be utilized in numerous activities. One of these activities is hunting.
From having an easier time navigating through the terrain to locating your prey, drones have proven to be immensely helpful for hunters, especially beginner ones.
However, finding a suitable drone for hunting might not be the easiest task in the world. That is why we created this list of our top choices to help you make the right purchase.
Let’s start ‘hunting’ for that perfect drone!
Best Hunting Drones
After testing dozens of different models and reading expert reviews, this is the list we came up with for the best hunting drones currently on the market.
DJI Mavic 3
The Mavic 3 is arguably one of the best and most popular DJI drones to date. With the largest camera sensor and 28x digital zoom, you won’t find many drones that have this kind of camera quality.
There are two cameras, a Hasselblad sensor with a 20 MPX resolution and a secondary CMOS sensor with a 12 MPX resolution (mostly used as the digital zoom lens).
Even though this model is pretty huge, it has four foldable arms that make it easily portable for travel purposes.
DJI is known for always upgrading the flight time of its new models, which is why the Mavic 3 is much better in this regard compared to its predecessors – it has a flight time of around 45 minutes.
In terms of features, the most notable one is the subject-lock option that allows hunters to follow their prey for longer periods, resulting in a successful hunt.
- Weight: 895 g
- Video resolution: 4K at 120 FPS
- Camera resolution: 20 MP, plus a 12 MP digital zoom
- Battery life: up to 45 minutes (40 when hovering)
- Max speed: around 65 – 70 kmh
- Long flight time
- Subject-lock feature
- High-quality camera
Autel Robotics EVO 2
The main advantage of the Autel Robotics EVO 2 is the outstanding modular camera system. This drone features three different camera models with which you can capture some extremely detailed shots in the wild.
There is a 48 MPX CMOS sensor that can produce 8K 24 FPS footage, making the EVO 2 the first-ever drone with this kind of quality. However, if you don’t have much experience with drones, you can also use the 6k 30 FPS camera since it will be easier to operate.
The flight time is also pretty nice since the battery can withstand around 40 minutes of flight time (this is under ideal conditions).
One of the downsides of this drone is that it’s not as easy to carry as some other models. It is much bigger and heavier compared to DJI Mavic series drones, for example.
However, with the outstanding camera resolution, many hunters choose to overlook this factor.
- Weight: 1175 g
- Camera resolution: 48 MP
- Video resolution: 8K at 24 FPS and 6k at 30 FPS
- Battery life: 40 minutes (in ideal conditions)
- Max speed: 70 kmh
- One of the best cameras on the market
- Nice flight time
- Professional design
- Big and heavy
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
For hunters that are looking for a bit more budget-friendly drone to add to their equipment, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom may be the ideal option.
Although the camera on Mavic 2 Zoom isn’t as good compared to the Mavic 2 Pro, it’s more than sufficient for hunting activities. You can use it to check out your surroundings from a secure distance, but also zoom in on any areas that seem interesting.
The FPV feature works great as well, and it can transmit videos in an 8 km wide radius, which is unparalleled in the consumer drone market.
Another nice addition is the 30 minute flight time, providing you with more than enough time to explore your environment.
In terms of features, there is the standard ActiveTrack 2.0 DJI visual recognition system that is great for tracking objects without having to deal with any annoying obstacles in the way. Plus, there is omnidirectional obstacle sensing that further expands the drone’s detection abilities.
- Flight time: around 30 minutes
- Flight range: 8 kilometers
- Camera: 4K at 30 fps and 48 MPX with 3-axis gimbal
- Plenty of features
- Impressive flight range
- Some reviews complain about the battery
The agility of the Potensic D85 is what makes this drone a great choice for hunting. It also falls under the list of more affordable drones, yet it has plenty of advanced features to offer.
Potensic’s camera is one of its main features, and it can capture some quality shots with the 2K UHD. Although, since there is no gimbal included, the live feed will be a bit buggy.
This drone is also extremely fast, and it can reach the speed of 50 kmh, making it perfect for hunting some of the faster animals in the wild.
Flight modes such as the GPS return are a pretty nice addition, and there is also the Follow Me feature that you can set up if you want the drone to automatically follow your movement.
Some of the downsides of the D85 are the relatively low flight range of 1.5 km and the battery that can only withstand 20 minutes of flight time.
Nonetheless, this drone has a great price/quality ratio, and it will undoubtedly be a very helpful piece of equipment to bring on hunting trips.
- Flight Time: appx. 20 minutes
- Range: around 1.5 km
- Camera Resolution: 1080p HD (No 4K)
- Weight: 525 g
- Great price/quality ratio
- Advanced motors
- Nice set of features
- Doesn’t work good in windy conditions
Holy Stone HS720
The last drone on our list is the Holy Stone HS720.
This model comes at a much lower price compared to the Mavic and DJI drones, but it still has all the necessary features to provide users with a great hunting experience.
There is a 2.7K camera with 5GHZ image transmission that can capture very detailed shots during the scouting phase.
If you use the GPS positioning feature, you can set up the drone to follow you during relocations. Plus, there is a return button that you can activate in case the drone starts running out of batteries.
The flight time isn’t very high since the HS720 can last around 18 minutes in the air. On the other hand, the FPV transmission is pretty good, and it has a range of up to 1200 feet.
Overall, it’s a pretty good hunting drone that doesn’t cost very much but still includes lots of features.
- Flight time: 18 minutes
- Camera resolution: 4K
- Video transmission range: around 800 meters
- Weight: 460 g
- Suitable for beginners
- Decent camera
- Flight time is very weak
Parrot Anafi Base
One of the hunters’ favorite go-to drone choices is the Parrot Anafi Base.
The main strong suits of this model are the impressive camera and FPV feature. The camera is 4K resolution, and it comes with a 3-axis gimbal that guarantees smooth shots in the wilderness.
You can combine the camera with the 4 km video transmission, which results in a fantastic FPV. Experiencing any sort of lags during the live feeds is out of the question.
This model is extremely silent, which is a great advantage for hunters who want to avoid scaring their prey with the drone. Furthermore, you can use the Anafi Base for hunting even in windy conditions since the motor can endure winds of up to 40 kmh.
The flight time isn’t as impressive as the other features, but you will be able to use the drone for around 25 minutes.
- Flight time: 25 minutes
- Range: 4 km
- Camera: 4K with 21 MPX
- Video transmission range: 4 km
- Weight: 320 g
- Doesn’t make any noises during the flight
- Exceptional camera
- Isn’t suitable for beginner hunters
How to Use a Drone for Hunting
Bringing a drone on a hunting trip can benefit you in many different ways.
For example, you will have an extra set of eyes on the sky that will help you locate the prey and follow it. Although, some hunters complain about this kind of advantage since it can take away the ‘thrill of the hunt’.
Nonetheless, it’s an interesting upgrade to the overall hunting game, and beginner hunters could greatly benefit from drone technology.
Here is a detailed guide on how you should use a drone for hunting.
Scouting an area
If you ask any experienced hunter what the most important part of it is, most of them will say preparation and scouting.
Even before the hunting season begins, you have to start preparing for the hunt. This begins with finding a good location with plenty of animals.
However, this part can be a bit complex, especially since animals don’t really stay in the same areas for longer periods. They are in a non-stop search for food. This means that what would seem like the ideal hunting ground in one month will probably change when the hunting season comes.
Experienced hunters know how to assess hunting areas by looking for animal tracks in the ground and gathering information by analyzing the tracks.
But, if you aren’t an experienced hunter, this method won’t do you much good.
This is why many beginners and amateurs choose to use drones for the scouting process. You can use them to fly over specific areas and then check if the camera captured any wildlife during the process. Track areas in different periods so you can establish a pattern.
Also, drones are great for the overall geographical understanding of areas. Of course, you can use maps, but seeing the location yourself from a bird’s-eye perspective is unparalleled.
Looking for potential game off-season
Apart from being useful for area scouting, drones can also help you identify potential off-season prey. This part of the drone’s utility is a bit controversial since it takes away the hunting thrill you get from stalking the prey. Some hunters even refer to it as cheating.
Chasing after wounded prey
It’s very common for hunters to hit a target but not manage to kill it. Animals can easily run away, even if they are wounded and injured. If that happens, you risk losing far more than one animal since others will get a sense of what’s going on.
Drones can come in handy in these situations since you will be able to lock the target and follow it in case it escapes. Since the animal will be injured, it would have to stop somewhere eventually. Then, you can make your approach and create a better shooting opportunity to finish off the job.
Support hunters with physical disabilities or conditions
The hunters that can benefit from drone technology the most are those that suffer from some specific physical disabilities.
For example, older hunters that have health problems are the ones who use drones the most and it’s not surprising considering that they don’t have the endurance and agility they once did.
Drive animals to the desired area
This is something that hunters find the most unethical when it comes to drone hunting.
How this works is a pilot flies a drone to a certain area where they spot a group of animals. After that, they use the drone’s noise to disturb the group and direct them to a specific location where they await.
If the plan is successful, all the hunter has to do is prepare to shoot.
While this is an efficient method to catch prey, it’s also considered a ‘lazy’ way to hunt.
Is It Acceptable To Use A Drone For Hunting?
As we said, using drones for hunting is still looked down upon by many experienced enthusiasts. While they can be helpful when it comes to killing bigger games, it disrupts the nature of the sport.
Hunting is a ‘traditional’ sport where the players should heavily rely on their senses and skill to catch the prey. If you use a gadget for locating the animals, it gives a bit of an unfair advantage and it is why many hunters call it cheating.
If we take the animal’s perspective into account, it basically disables them from escaping the hunters, which isn’t really in the spirit of the sport.
Using a drone for hunting mostly depends on your country and whether there is any law for it. In general, it is acceptable to use drones, especially if you have some sort of physical disability or you are a total beginner.
Drawbacks and ethics of using drones for hunting
We have gone over the benefits of using drones for hunting, but what about the drawbacks?
There are quite a few of these as well, but we will review some of the most popular.
Harassing other hunters
When using your drone on a hunting trip, you make sure not to harass any other hunters with it. If you spy on your competitors, it gives you an unfair advantage that is both unfair and unethical.
This kind of practice is popular among animal rights activists who use drones to ensure other hunters follow the rules. However, even in this case, where there are no ill intentions, the drones can distract the hunters, and it’s considered a breach of privacy, which is why many countries made it illegal.
This drawback is related to what we were talking about driving animals to specific areas. Drones tend to be very loud, and once animals notice them, they typically get scared of the noise.
This can be a double-edged sword. You can try to navigate the animals to a certain area, but if you fail, you will probably minimize your chances of catching a game since they will flee to another area. At the same time, this ruins the chances of other hunters catching them as well.
What to Look For In a Hunting Drone
When purchasing a drone for hunting purposes, you have to know which features to look out for. Of course, there are plenty of high-quality drones available, but not all of them are suitable for these kinds of expeditions.
Here are the things you should consider when picking a hunting drone.
The FPV feature is one of the first things to look out for since it enables a lag-free drone experience. This is important since animals can often blend in with the surroundings and the live feed resolution has to be top-notch.
Look for drones with a 720p resolution minimum, while the ideal option is 1080p 4K.
The range of your drone is important for scouting different wildlife areas. You should be able to fly the drone at bigger distances, so you capture as much information about animal groupings as possible.
At a minimum, your drone should be able to fly at least 1 km. However, 5 km is a perfect choice, and it offers the most possibilities.
Perhaps the most significant feature of hunting drones is the silent operation option. When hunting, you want to be as quiet as possible, so you don’t scare away the animals.
Drones that include brushless motors are always a good choice since they produce the least amount of noise and are much more durable.
Zoom and Adjustable Tilt
As we said, discretion is the most important characteristic of a good hunter. Of course, this directly applies to the drone as well.
Find a drone that has a decent zoom feature since it allows you to not get too close to the animals but still spot where they are located. In addition, the adjustable tilt is useful for adjusting the viewpoint of the FPV feature.
Going hunting already involves a bunch of equipment that you have to carry around. This is why you should look for easily portable drones that aren’t too heavy.
Foldable drones are the best option, and most of the models on our list are exactly that.
Hunting can sometimes literally take hours. Having a good battery to endure these long expeditions is of utmost importance, and you should always remember to bring an additional set of batteries as well.
For max efficiency, don’t look for drones that can’t endure at least 25 minutes of flight time.
Visual tracking comes in handy once you spot your game and want the drone to lock onto it and follow it.
By using this feature, you won’t have to manually follow your prey; the drone does it by itself. However, visual tracking doesn’t always work great, so be sure to read user reviews before purchasing a specific drone.
Obstacle avoidance is important if you tend to hunt in forests or other tree-filled areas. This feature prevents the drones from crashing into trees or other obstacles.
Advanced drones typically have obstacle avoidance sensors in the front and sometimes even on the sides.
Hunting isn’t always done on sunny days. Sometimes, the weather can be windy, or it can start raining in an instant.
A drone that can adapt to bad weather conditions is essential for an efficient hunt.
The last thing on our list is the speed of the drone. Often, you will have to catch up with running animals, and if you aren’t fast enough, you will lose track of where they went.
Fast drones can keep up with their pace, and you will know when and where they stopped. The ideal speed of your drone should be at least 25-30 kmh.
Most countries do require that hunters have pilot licenses to operate their drones. It’s best to check the laws of your specific country.
Using a drone for hunting isn’t illegal in most countries, but there are those that forbid it.
If using a hunting drone isn’t illegal in your country, then you are allowed to use it for scouting wildlife.
All the drones on our list are suitable for hunting. The best option, if you can afford it, is the Parrot Anafi Base drone.
If using a hunting drone isn’t legally forbidden in your country, then yes, you can use a drone for scouting ducks.
Once again, this varies from country to country and whether there are any laws on the matter.
No, Fish and Game do not use drones.
No, using drones for hunting in Texas is illegal.
It is illegal to shoot down drones – even if they are flying over your private property.