HomeOutdoorsNewsOhio Hunter Fails to Track Downed Deer, Uses High-Tech Drone to Help

Ohio Hunter Fails to Track Downed Deer, Uses High-Tech Drone to Help

by Craig Garrett
Drone view of deer surrounded by greenery and rocks in the valley in autumn - stock photo
Drone view of deer surrounded by greenery and rocks in the valley in autumn - stock photo

An Ohio deer hunter is using commercial-grade drones to aid him in tracking game without disturbing trails. Mike Yoder is a seasoned local gamesman in Tuscarawas County. Ever since he was young, growing up in an Amish community in Ohio, the thought of wounding an animal and not being able to find it has given him a great sense of worry.

But Yoder is different from the innumerable hunters who have had to use a tracking dog, or even worse, failed to recover their deer. The 31-year-old instead relies on his knowledge of aeronautics and passion for hunting to utilize drones in the process. Yoder created Drone Deer Recovery, which uses commercial-grade drones and high-tech thermal cameras to search immense areas quickly and adeptly, both day and night. This method doesn’t agitate other wildlife or leave any scent trails.

“That was the reason I came up with this — I had a love of hunting and I hated that feeling of knowing I had hit a deer, but I couldn’t find it,” Yoder told The Blade. “As the technology of drones progressed and they became good enough to perform this task, I thought there was no reason we couldn’t use this method to recover deer.” He’s even shared footage from one of his drones on a deer hunt on Instagram.

Deer hunters can usually only use drones for carcass recovery

After taking the time to develop a business plan, Yoder met with officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He wanted to be sure that his use of drones to recover deer carcasses was in line with state regulations. “We worked on all of the legalities involved in something like this. [We] went through everything with the [authorities]. Then started to build the brand,” Yoder explained. “We wanted a name and a brand that would be good all over the country, even though we a just operating in Ohio this year.”

Yoder wanted to see how his idea would play out, so he had some brochures printed that explained Drone Deer Recovery. He also made a short video of him using the drone to recover a deer he harvested on land that he leases for hunting. Finally, he rented a booth at a local outdoor show. “I wanted to see what the sportsmen’s reaction would be, and it was nuts. I ran out of literature and had to call my wife to get more printed up,” Yoder recalled. “The reaction to this kind of service was great. It was such a huge response that it put me over the edge as far as deciding if I should pursue this. After that show, I decided that I gotta do this.”

After launching dronedeerrecovery.com at the start of Ohio’s archery season, Yoder quickly gained success. “As soon as the website went public, we got requests from all over the place,” Yoder explained. “And we had calls coming in from Ohio hunters on Day One.”

Yoder noted that drones can only be employed to locate a downed deer–not for hunting itself. He went on to state that using drones while hunting is illegal in many states. “We are not using a drone for hunting, we are looking for a carcass,” Yoder insisted.