Photo: Tostie14 Via Flickr
If you would have told me three months ago that a robot turkey was a worthwhile invention, I would have argued with you. "No," I would have said. "I'm not quite sure what turkeys do with their time, but I'm pretty sure that we don't need to replicate it mechanically." But I would have been wrong, wrong about the turkeys.
Game and Fish Departments across the United States have been using mechanical animals to snare poachers. Thousands of arrests are made each year with the help of robotic decoys.
Poachers Come Running for the Great Taste of Decoy!
Wildlife agents precariously place the robotic decoy--turkey, bear, deer or swimming moose--in a no-hunting area or poaching hot spot. The decoys have fiberglass shells and are wrapped in the donated/confiscated pelts of formerly live animals. Wildlife agents manipulate the head, ears and tail of the decoy with a remote control in order to simulate lifelike behavior. The cold, glassy eyes of the robots also glow in the dark.
When the opportunist poachers fire at the fake animal, the wildlife agents emerge from hiding places and poach the poacher. Firing at a robotic decoy carries the same penalty as firing at the real thing. Decoys can cost thousands of dollars. $500 for a turkey or $5,500 for a bear. But a single robot can bring in $30,000 in fines.
Poaching, A Serious Problem
It is estimated that for every animal legally taken, there is another animal that is poached.
From How Stuff Works:
According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a pre-spawn walleye that was illegally taken by a poacher can result in 2,000 fewer walleye. It also estimated that illegal kills equal approximately 30 percent of the annual harvest by legal means.
Custom Robotic Wildlife
Custom Robot Wildlife builds the robotic wildlife. (hence the name) They also offer a selection of robot coyotes that scare geese and moving targets to help bow hunters hone their archery skills.
The decoys used by wildlife agents are bound to get shot. Some get plugged repeatedly. What happens to them?
From Custom Robotic Wildlife:
Our robotic systems have been designed to make parts replacement as quick & easy as possible.
So, I guess, when your robot gets shot, he'll be back. ( sorry)