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Robotic Deer to Fight Illegal Hunting 325

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the low-tech-honey-pot dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "If you were a law enforcement official searching for hunters who don't follow the rules, what would be a good gift for you? In 'Robot Deer Captures Poachers,' Brian Bull, reporting from Mosinee, Wisconsin, writes that you can buy robotic decoys for deer, elks, moose and even bears. These life-like creatures are made of animal hides or skins attached to polyurethane foam bodies and equipped with remotely controlled motors allowing the head and tail to move. After you pay about $2,000 for such a robo-deer, you put it on a side road. All you have to do is wait for an illegal hunter trying to shoot the fake deer and fine him. Many officers have reported collecting well over $30,000 in fines with a single robot. Not a bad deal."
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Robotic Deer to Fight Illegal Hunting

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  • by mtenhagen (450608) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:26AM (#17364856) Homepage
    Now that is a good business model!

    But I prefer parking fines since it requires a lower investment and less skilled personnel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283)
      But I prefer parking fines since it requires a lower investment and less skilled personnel.

      More importantly, they are away and are not carrying a high power loaded weapon.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:28AM (#17364868) Journal
    After you pay about $2,000 for such a robo-deer, you put it on a side road

    Then you watch as it gets hit by a car.
    • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:37AM (#17364918)
      Fantastic: We killed the wolf, we killed the coyote, and now we're creating a device to reduce the number of the deer's last remaining predator.

      Now, if we could only make a robo-whitetail-suicide bomber.
      • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @08:20AM (#17365648) Journal

        and now we're creating a device to reduce the number of the deer's last remaining predator.

        Not if they follow the rules. This device does nothing to reduce legal hunting of deer. There's various reasons to regulate hunting, ranging from game management (you can only take so many animals and most of them have to be male) to safety (can't discharge your firearm within X yards of a structure). All this device does is provide a decoy for the violators to shoot at.

        Living in Upstate NY and dealing with morons from the city that shoot at anything that moves (hint: diary cows don't look anything like deer yet they are routinely shot...) I think this is a wonderful idea.

        • by bohemian72 (898284) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @10:24AM (#17366236)
          (hint: diary cows don't look anything like deer yet they are routinely shot...)
          That's because they have no privacy and those poacher predators found their info on MySpace.
        • by The Tyro (247333) *
          They really should try to build in some life-like behavior for the deer, aimed at the idiots who like to spotlight them at night. Those fools are particularly dangerous, because in low-light they can't be sure of what's beyond their target, yet they blast away at it; pity the poor sod whose house is downrange.

          Put in a photocell that makes the robotic deer raise its head, and turn toward the light... that'd be pure gold.

      • by djh101010 (656795) *
        Fantastic: We killed the wolf, we killed the coyote, and now we're creating a device to reduce the number of the deer's last remaining predator.

        Um...the whole point of having laws wrapped around hunting, is to control where, which, and how many deer should be removed from the herd. Some random poacher shooting the first deer they see, doesn't help to _manage_ the population. Poachers (notice I didn't say "hunters", who are by large a honorable and careful group) aren't helping, and they're breaking sev
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:46AM (#17364958) Journal
      You got modded funny, but there's a kernel of truth in there.

      One of the shitty things that poachers do, is shoot a deer then run it over with their truck.

      By doing this, they can claim that the deer was hit by a car & they were only putting it out of its misery... an act which is perfectly legal.
      • by plopez (54068)
        an act which is perfectly legal.
        Not in my state. Usually you call the Sherrif, who then may contact state or federal fish and wildlife depending on jurisdiction for permission to euthanize the animal.
      • ...shoot a deer then run it over with their truck.

        Sounds reasonable. Venison definately requires tenderization.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Can you network the robodeer so that a herd jumps across the road in front of you?

      How many jumps per second does a beowulf cluster of deer produce? :p

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:29AM (#17364878)
    ...developped in a joint research project by PETA and the DoD, will feature an autonomous targetting and self-defense system that fires back at persistent poachers to hand out harsher punishments than just fines. ;-)
  • isn't that entrapment?
    • Re:entrapment (Score:5, Informative)

      by JackStrife17 (982300) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:51AM (#17364974)
      From Columbia University Press encyclopedia:

      entrapment, in law, the instigation of a crime in the attempt to obtain cause for a criminal prosecution. Situations in which a government operative merely provides the occasion for the commission of a criminal act (e.g., when an undercover agent posing as a narcotics dealer is approached by a would-be customer) do not constitute entrapment. Only when the crime was not initially contemplated by the target is entrapment said to occur: thus, for example, an undercover agent may not recruit a previously law-abiding individual into a drug distribution ring in order to prosecute. Many police operations, especially in the areas of drugs and gambling, raise questions of entrapment, which is available as a defense in a trial.

      • by dwater (72834)
        So, I guess it's possible to claim entrapment, since it is not illegal to own, carry, or even fire a gun (or is it?) - surely it's not illegal to shoot fake deer, is it? Couldn't they just claim they knew it was fake - or is that too much of a stretch?
    • Only if the deer comes on to the hunter. If you see a deer in hotpants and high heels standing on a corner don't shoot it.
    • Yes - but it's so much easier than real police work.
      • by c6gunner (950153)
        I think what you meant to say is:

        "I don't know - but I'm too lazy to look it up, so I'll just say 'yes' and blame it on lazy cops".
  • At least here in France it would not work.
    In many cases (methinks this one included) French law states that pushing someone to commit an offence is a bigger offence than the original one.
    A hounter could argue that he was provoqued and the fine would be probabely dropped.
    What other countries have similar laws ?

    Additionally a hounter could claim that he was aware of the trick an thus not guilty of shooting an animal but just damaging an artefact.

    • by rolfwind (528248)
      Screw that, I'd consider suing the warden or the state for reckless endangerment if they put it on the side of the road.

      What a great idea! Goading hunters to shoot at a target just a few feet/meters of the road where cars pass.

      Ironically enough, one of the fine they (hunter) would incur would be shooting too close to the road. The wardens here are little better than the shooters IMO.
      • by djh101010 (656795) * on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @09:43AM (#17365962) Homepage Journal
        What a great idea! Goading hunters to shoot at a target just a few feet/meters of the road where cars pass.

        You seem to miss the entire point. This isn't about hunters, it's about poachers. Poachers are people who illegally kill animals, either in the wrong place, at the wrong time of year, the wrong sex, or without having paid their license fee to do so. A hunter doesn't just drive along and suddenly decide "Oh, I think today I shall break the law, since there is a deer standing right over there." The only people shooting at these robodeer, are the people who aren't following the laws. I am having a hard time understanding why so many people in this thread are seeming to confuse hunting with poaching, this isn't a subtle distinction. Hunters follow laws and manage the deer population in the proportions determined by people who know what, where, and how many deer should be removed from the population. Poachers, don't give a shit about the laws or management, they just want free meat without paying their fair share, and without regard for the laws.

        If you get the impression that hunters get annoyed at being associated with poachers, then you're perceptive. Two different groups of people.
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Screw that, I'd consider suing the warden or the state for reckless endangerment if they put it on the side of the road.

        You might be able to--if it actually resulted in you getting shot. You can't sue people because you might have been injured.

        What a great idea! Goading hunters to shoot at a target just a few feet/meters of the road where cars pass.

        I don't see the "goading".
    • by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @06:10AM (#17365044)
      It's called entrapment, and it's illegal here in the united states, or at least is a valid defense against a 'guilty' verdict.

      Like you said, goading or pushing someone into committing a crime they would otherwise not is unlawful.

      What is perfectly lawful is presenting them with an opportunity to commit a crime, and then punishing them for it. There is a significant difference.

      Further, 'knowing' that a deer was fake would not permit you to shoot it, as you're still discharging your firearm near/on a road.

      You could maybe get away with attacking it if you got out of your vehicle and bum rushed it.
      • by Charcharodon (611187) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @06:59AM (#17365224)
        They also use the fake deer to fine people that hunt from cars. It was funny one story my uncle told me, he's was a warden and they've been using fake deer for decades to fine rule breakers.

        They had the fake deer out on the edge of the trees near the road, it didn't have all the motion stuff just a stuffed dear. An old guy in a pick-up truck saw it, pulled over, put on his hunting vest(orange safety) got out of the truck, got his rifle, moved the minimum distance from the road and vehicle, and proceeded to take a bead on it. He shot it and was surprised that it didn't fall down or run away, before he could take a second shot all the rangers busted out laughing and then he realized what was up.

        They didn't fine the old man because he did everything he was supposed and had a license to hunt the deer, they just wanted to see if he could figure out whether or not he'd fall for a completely still fake deer (This was some 30 years ago.).

    • In many cases (methinks this one included) French law states that pushing someone to commit an offence is a bigger offence than the original one.
      A hounter could argue that he was provoqued and the fine would be probabely dropped.

      The game wardens aren't going up to hunters and saying "Hey, I'll give you $50 if you shoot that deer over there." That would be entrapment. Since we all love analogies, it's like putting a realistic looking person on a park bench at night. If someone comes up to that "person" and repeatedly stabs them over and over just because they saw it and had the urge, that's not entrapment... that's the murderous tendencies of a criminal coming to light and that person should find their ass in jail sooner rather

    • by MrNougat (927651)
      IANAL

      In the first part, provoking someone to break the law, in the US it is also illegal to entice someone to break the law, provided they wouldn't have broken said law under normal circumstances. So - going up to a random house and offering to sell them a bag of weed, then arresting them when they buy it - that's illegal. Going up to a specific house, one where drug activity has been reported and observed, offering to sell them a bag of weed, then arresting them when they buy it - that's legal.

      This is an
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Popsmear (828416)
      I tried this same defense. Someone put a 7-Year old girl on the side of the road. I stopped, picked her up, drove across state lines, and raped her. They tried to tell me I was responsible. Hah. I let them know it was entrapment. I was provoked into committing that crime.
    • by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @01:41PM (#17368216) Homepage
      A hounter could argue that he was provoqued and the fine would be probabely dropped.


      What, because the mere sight of a deer drives people into such a state of lustful desire that they can't control themselves?


      "Yer honor, the deer was asking for it! His lips said no, but his antlers were saying yes, yes, yes!"

  • No deer involved (Score:4, Interesting)

    by piggydoggy (804252) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @06:07AM (#17365030)
    The people who shoot them aren't actually shooting deer. They are shooting a robot. So how come those people charged for poaching, instead of just vandalism?
  • by Conanymous Award (597667) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @06:56AM (#17365206)
    What's up with all these robotic animal stories recently? Within a couple of days, we've had stories of robo-seals, robo-snakes and now robo-deer. Should I welcome our new robotic animal overlords? Was that Dr. Eggman I just saw?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @07:03AM (#17365242)
    ... so long as they yell "it's coming right for us! [wikipedia.org]" before shooting.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @07:37AM (#17365422)
    when the state starts using the police as revenue collectors, they are no better then gangsters. tax's are THE only place a government is supposed to make money. buying a device especially to entrap people into paying fines is no better then hitting them for "protection" money. If any hunter had the money to challenge this i'm sure a good lawyer would win it for them.
    • by khallow (566160)
      So the government is a protection racket. What else is new? And why do you cast it as being "bad". Remember that even Mafia protection rackets had some legitimate benefit (ie, it reduced regular crimes against the "protected") since property crimes reduced the value of the extortee's property and how much could be extorted from that victim.
  • Hardly news (Score:5, Informative)

    by barzok (26681) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @07:40AM (#17365438)
    These "robo-deer" have been out for several years now. I recall one poacher in Michigan getting caught hunting these things not once but twice.

    I've seen a few on the side of highways.
  • Best of all (Score:3, Funny)

    by rbanffy (584143) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @07:48AM (#17365482) Homepage Journal
    If these robo-deer prove as profitable as the OP said, they will hardly become extinct.

    I for one welcome our new robotic-deer overlords.
  • It's not illegal to hunt robot deer, it's illegal to hunt real deer. If you want to argue in court, it seems like a slam dunk to say that this in fact is not a real deer, so you can't be busted for hunting a real deer when you didn't actually shoot a real one.
    • So take your pick: pay the poaching fine or pay for the robotic damage. If the hunter KNEW it was a robotic deer and shot it anyway then it's vandalism. Slam dunk for the prosecutor, not the poacher. Surely you're not suggesting that it's ok to shoot anything that isn't a deer just because it's not fenced in/locked in/guared by a person/etc.
    • by Detritus (11846)
      Show me your robot hunting license. :-)
    • And there are laws that forbid shooting accross or within a certain distance of a road. Not to mention laws forbidding discharging a firearm from a car. Not to entrap said poor hunter, but to protect the poor schmucks driving on the same road as the dipshit.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Factual impossibility is NOT a defense to an attempt crime. Just because the gun was unloaded even though you thought it was loaded, or that the cocaine you tried to buy is baking powder, or that 16-year-old girl on AIM was really a deputy sheriff, does not mean you're getting away scott-free.
    • They can make a fine 10x more for shooting a robotic state-setup deer. (kind of like the fine/punnishment for destroying a red-light camera is several orders of magnitude than a ticket for running a red-light).

      ie: ``But it's not a real deer, and I knew it wasn't a real deer when I shot it'' argument would be met with ``Fine, then you're liable to replace this damanged property that you knowing damaged, along with a 30k fine.''
  • by Wansu (846) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @08:48AM (#17365756)


    They should be paying them, not fining them. There's way too many deer in the US and not enough predators to keep them in check. Most get killed by vehicle collisions anyway. Deer hunting should be encouraged.

  • robohookers (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kildjean (871084) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @08:57AM (#17365784) Homepage
    the next thing they will do is making robo-hookers and robo-drugdealers...
  • I'm a Brit and don't know a deer from an elk from a moose - some of them have horns some of the time don't they? I've rarely been able to get close to large animals for photos in North America but imagine the embarrassment if I saw one of these and was snapping away like hell when the cops came.
  • How do you pronounce Piquepaille?
    • by BCW2 (168187)
      Pigpail, since everything he submits is hog slop!
    • I'll let somebody else cover the slashdotisms (i.e. ass-munch, astroturfer, fuck head..), and in case you were really curious, the French would pronounce it mostly like an American would say "peek-pie".

      • Yes, I was really curious. And you forgot "fuckwit" and "fucktard", two of the more common Slashdotisms.
  • Not really robots (Score:3, Informative)

    by ishmalius (153450) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @10:04AM (#17366096)
    I would call these "animatrons" since they are merely animated to have the appearance of animals. But I would not classify them as robots. They are no more robots than Battlebots are robots. They are not autonomous at all.

    Nor do they have any "servo" function. That is where they would sense something in their environment, perform some analysis of that information, and respond according to the analysis.
    • Oh come on, everybody loves robots.

      I keep telling my kid that her uncle has a robot leg. (Actually, it's a high-tech version of Terry Fox's)

      Just wait'll she sees 'im again, I wonder what she'll say to him.

      hehehehe

      He'll probably tell her to bite his shiny metal ass.
    • I would call these "animatrons" since they are merely animated to have the appearance of animals. But I would not classify them as robots. They are no more robots than Battlebots are robots. They are not autonomous at all.

      That may be true, but it would make a lousy headline.

      Nor do they have any "servo" function. That is where they would sense something in their environment, perform some analysis of that information, and respond according to the analysis.

      I didn't design the robot (sorry, animatronic) de

  • Law for Profit? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @10:57AM (#17366534)
    Like another poster mentioned, this is just a blatant case of using the police as gangster-like money collectors. It's a big problem when you start measuring your laws and law-enforcement techniques in terms of how much PROFIT they generate.

    It sounds like an all-too-common case of too many police, not enough crime.

    If they're down to spending their time going after deer poachers, they're already scraping the bottom of the crime barrel. Perhaps they need to start making cuts in the police force rather than investing in a $2,000 money-making deer robot.
    • by Catbeller (118204)
      Don't shoot the deer. That's all you have to not do.
    • The law has to be enforced (and obayed). Period. If the law is stupid, then get rid of the law. But if the law exists, then it should be enforced.

      I'd welcome less laws. The problem is that if most laws aren't enforced, then you're not exactly sure whether you're in violation of any at any given time---and thus can be arrested/fined for `no reason' (well, any reason) at any time without having much of a ground to complain on ('cause ignorance of the `law' that isn't usually enforced, except right then and th
    • by Vellmont (569020)

      It's a big problem when you start measuring your laws and law-enforcement techniques in terms of how much PROFIT they generate.

      This I totally agree with. Law enforcement isn't a business. The current trend towards looking at everything as something that generates money is destructive to the society. The problem here is there it's the article submitter that's measuring law enforcement through profit, not the actual article or the police.


      If they're down to spending their time going after deer poachers, the
  • ...if he and his mother had been protected by a cyborg deer from the future. Picture the robot deer riding down on a motorbike, grabbing Bambi before he's killed by a poacher, and he takes out one big, badass gun and blows the poacher's head off.

    "Hasta la vista, POACHER!"

    _That_ would have been a movie.
  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @12:14PM (#17367302) Journal
    They kill a deer to build a robotic deer to catch people killing deer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      They kill a deer to build a robotic deer to catch people killing deer.
      Most deer that are processed by professionals have the hides sold. Most deer processed at home have the hides thrown out (a shame).

      They most likely get the hides from a local processor and use them instead of letting them go to waste. This is a good thing. The more of the animal that is used, the better.

  • Why fine them? They should attack the poacher when he shoots them, in such a way that he doesn't realize they are robots.
  • nothing new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrDitto (962751) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @01:22PM (#17367996)
    I was hunting with a friend 15 years ago in Wisconsin. We were driving down a road, saw a large buck standing about 100 yards away...its head had a slight movement. My friend got out and shot the thing about 10 times before getting back into the truck. 5 minutes later a DNR officer was writing a $1000+ ticket!
  • The test (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @03:56PM (#17369438) Homepage Journal
    If you cannot ballistically distinguish a deer from a robot, can the robot be considered a deer?

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