(UAV) Drone Deer Survey Scotland

Location – Lochaber
UAV – DJI M300
Payload – Zenmuse H20t


The serious damage that wild deer can cause to young trees by browsing means that deer control has been an important factor throughout the history of woodland expansion in Scotland and will continue to be in the creation of further new woodlands.

The need for deer control within woodlands is similarly important to enabling existing woodlands to be re-stocked or regenerated, as well as to avoid other forms of damage such as bark stripping on established trees.


Using drones to regularly check new plantations and re-gen sites for deer gaining access can save a considerable amount of time and money compared to traditional methods.

Most Plantations smaller than 100ha can be surveyed in under 30 minutes providing an accurate overview of any deer gaining access to the plantations. At the height of 120m, the drone goes unnoticed by wildlife on the ground, creating minimal disturbance to wildlife.

By using dual thermal & zoom payloads we can detect deer with the thermal sensor while using the zoom for identification. Infrared surveys should be carried out before sunrise or after sunset to prevent solar gain.

Benefits of using drones to detect deer in plantations

Using drones with thermal cameras to detect deer in new tree plantations can offer a number of advantages over traditional methods of monitoring and managing deer populations.

Efficiency: Drones can cover large areas of land quickly and efficiently, allowing plantation managers to survey their property and identify areas where deer may be present. This can help managers prioritize their efforts and focus on areas that are most at risk of deer damage.

Cost-effectiveness: Using drones can reduce the cost of deer management compared to traditional methods such as hiring a team of human observers or installing physical barriers.

Non-invasive: Drones do not disturb deer or other wildlife, making them a more humane option for monitoring deer populations.

Real-time monitoring: Thermal cameras can detect heat signatures, allowing drones to identify deer even in low light or foggy conditions. This means that plantation managers can monitor deer activity in real-time, allowing them to quickly.

Accurate data: Drones equipped with thermal cameras can provide highly accurate data on deer populations, including location, size, and movement patterns. This data can be used to inform deer management decisions and improve conservation efforts.

In conclusion, using drones with thermal cameras to detect deer in new tree plantations offers a number of advantages over traditional methods. Drones are efficient, cost-effective, and non-invasive, and provide real-time monitoring and accurate data on deer populations, making them a valuable tool for plantation managers and conservationists.



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