Pennsylvania Game Commission officials will soon be deploying their latest weapon against poachers: robot deer. Instead of an ungulate version of RoboCop’s Alex Murphy, however, the robotic deer are just elaborate decoys. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Game Commission will receive a robotic decoy as a gift from the PA National Pike Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). The chapter had originally bought the mechanical deer for $1,650 and it is capable of moving its head and tail.
“We’re seeing more nice deer out there than ever before,” said chapter officer Jason Beck. “Some people try to take advantage of that the right way, and unfortunately, some feel the need to go about it the wrong way. We don’t want honest sportsmen to suffer for that.”
The gift doubles the number of robot deer owned by the Game Commission, along with a number of more common decoys. Since using these decoys do not constitute entrapment, officials plan on setting them up so that only poachers will shoot them.
“Every officer in the region has problem roads where they habitually see a lot of road hunting,” said Game Commission information and education officer Tom Fazi. “That’s where these get used.”
Although they can be relatively expensive, robotic decoys have been used successfully in a number of states. Manufacturers such as Custom Robotic Wildlife create decoys for a number of species, some of which can move in a lifelike manner. Of course, due to technological restraints most of these decoys still cannot walk under their own power.
An example of a decoy “sting” can be seen below, conducted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.