See all the reasons your next wildlife survey should be conducted with a thermal drone!
Spotlight surveys, considered by many an outdated method for estimating deer population, yield very poor results. Helicopters, while more accurate, exhibit significant variability in estimating the total population, ranging from 30-70%. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) often relies on a 50% estimate for recommendations, potentially leading to misleading conclusions. An alarming scenario arises if a property owner observes 70% one year but only 30% the next, falsely indicating a population decline. Conversely, mistaking a population increase for a decrease could result in unnecessary culling. Drones, though not flawless, generally detect 60-80% of animals. An Auburn University study achieved a remarkable 92% identification rate. Drones' ability to capture video from entire surveys allows for multiple reviews, minimizing human error and offering a more reliable approach to deer population assessment.
Less Pressure on Animals
Utilizing drones for animal observation presents a less intrusive and pressure-free alternative compared to helicopter counts. Helicopter surveys rely on loud rotor noises to startle animals out of the brush, which negatively impacts accuracy and jeopardizes animal safety. This method proves challenging for obtaining a clear view of the animals and places significant stress on them, especially on properties where it may lead to displacement (low fence) or collisions with fences (high fence). Over time, animals on properties subject to repeated helicopter surveys may become accustomed to the disturbance, merely choosing to bed down upon hearing the helicopter overhead. In contrast, drones equipped with thermal sensors can detect animals even in dense brush, operating quietly and allowing for extended observation periods as animals remain undisturbed. This approach minimizes stress on the wildlife and enhances the accuracy of observations.
Opting for a thermal drone survey proves to be a more cost-effective solution than traditional methods. While expensive pieces of technology, drones have significantly lower maintenance and fuel costs than helicopters. Moreover, these drones are easily transportable to properties without the need for flying or towing on a trailer. One goal of our company is to offer aerial surveys to a broader range of landowners, specifically those with properties where helicopter surveys didn't make financial sense. With a thermal survey, you are often paying less for significantly better, more actionable insights about your land and wildlife.