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Safely Flying near wildlife questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Traveler, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Traveler

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    Greetings all, please note my name change, "BV-SkyOne" is now "Traveler", fits me better.

    This post is to request opinions, legal information, and experiences on the "SAFE" flying near wildlife. I happen to live in an area where we are visited by seasonal Elk. They are a wonderful site to behold and they draw many roadside photographers. I am interested in shooting them from the air, but I want to be legal and responsible about it. That said, I have already concluded that I may draw some negative attention from the drone naysayers, but because they often stray into the our model airfield space, its a great opportunity. The problem is, we have a fairly wide-angle lens that requires getting close. I can apply some common sense as to how close is too close by observing the Elk's reaction, and it does makes sense to also turnoff VPS, but all common sense aside, what does the law (California) allow for, and what are the general opinions of any negative implication to the future of our hobby? Lastly, has anyone flew near an Elk and how did the Elk react? I'm hoping they, like my neighbors horses, couldn't care less. These particular Elk are so timid that they will stand 10 feet from the roads edge and never even twitch when a car drives by, but they will stir if approached on foot, and did I mention that they are huge and can kill you.
    Thoughts please, because I do care!


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  2. Sagebrush

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  3. Traveler

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    Thanks, thus far I have not even tried. You hear stories about drones being used to conduct safe and les intrusive research, but I certainly wouldn't want to endanger them, or me for that matter.


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  4. tcope

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    You cannot "harass" wildlife. What constitutes harassment is open for debate. My rule of thumb on that is if the animal runs, don't follow it. For horse, deer, elk, burros, etc. they spook very easy from things that are above them. I've gotten about 800' from burros and they start to run pretty good.
     
  5. Traveler

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    Yeah, my original thought was to move slowly in their direction and stop or reverse if they took notice of me. Keep them calm, as I said, for their sake and mine.

    This all said, my post doesn't reflect all my concerns. Not wanting to mix threads and all, but I live in an HOA, and they recently lumped us (drones) into the same category as fixed wing RC and sense have restricted us to the HOA model airfield. Now don't get me wrong, I am happy we have that, but as I have recently explained to a board member, we and fixed wing crafts don't fly for the same purpose, and their restricting us is preventing us from getting video of the surrounding scenery, parks, and other amenities. I showed the board member a video made before the restriction and he was impressed. I was making it for all residents to enjoy. Free to all and not tied to any business. He said, "we must be able to find a way for you and others alike to continue outside the boundary of the model airfield". So with the possibility that they may change their recent restriction, the last thing I want to do is upset the community and give them a reason to stand firm on the restriction, but when the Elk come into the model airfield, the door of opportunity opens, and at that point I defer back to, how close can I get without upsetting them.

    Thanks for the info.


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  6. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I wouldn't attempt this with drones already being a "hot button" in your HOA. If you want less restrictions the last thing you should do is even consider "Wildlife Droning".

    With that being said, basically if the animal changes/stops whatever it was doing before the aircraft arrived then you have altered its actions. If you continue to fly around the animal you are harassing it. Very vague which I think this is intentional to allow the courts determine to what degree you are harassing the wildlife.

    One way the HOA can "limit" the flights is to require some type of certification/permitting for flying from within the HOA outside of the model aircraft flying field. Once again I'm not sure I'd rock that boat either. It sounds like you have a SWEET set up there and it would be a shame to ruin it for all.
     
  7. Traveler

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    I agree with everything you said. The funny part is, I, a drone enthusiast, is the only one in this area that is being thoughtful of the seasonal Elk. The cars stop on the side of the road, they walk into the field for close photos, and one year, a moron even shot one of them, and we are a no hunting community. Well it won't be me that adds fuel for the HOA. I am trying to build better relationships. Last, I would be fine with the use of 107 to fly outside the boundary. We do have some "not smart" drone pilots living here.




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