Pennsylvania man convicted of using drone to help hunters find deer carcasses

 A Pennsylvania man who used a drone to locate injured deer killed by hunters so they could remove their carcasses has been convicted of violating state hunting laws.

Joshua Wingenroth, 35, of Downingtown plans to appeal the ruling handed down Thursday by Lancaster County District Judge Raymond Sheller. This case is apparently the first time someone has been cited and prosecuted for using a drone to recover a dead animal in Pennsylvania and depends on whether Wingenroth was found guilty in the state. Was involved in hunting as defined by the law of.

"The Legislature needs to take notice of this," Schaller said in announcing his decision. "Everyone is playing catch-up with science."

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Wingenroth, who openly advertised his business in area publications, was told by state game wardens last year that such activity was illegal, officials said. However, Wingroth told him that his lawyer "has a different interpretation" of the law.

On 6 December, an undercover Game Commission officer contacted Wingenroth and asked to meet him and help him find a deer he had killed in the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve. Wingenroth met with the officer there within an hour and had the officer sign a waiver stating that he wanted to recover the deer carcass, but, if the deer was found still alive, he would "hunt the deer another day." Agreed to do.

Wingenroth, who did not know that the story of the shot deer was fabricated and part of a sting operation, soon launched a drone and captured it remotely, using a thermal camera setting to show the scenes in black and white. Operated. They soon spotted a live deer, and turned on the camera's infrared setting to show it on a heat map.

He later turned off that setting and activated a spotlight to see the deer normally. However, he was soon approached by a game warden and the officer, who confiscated the drone and charged him with two counts of using illegal electronic devices during hunting and violating regulations on disturbing game or wildlife and recreational spotlighting. Wingenroth cited for single cases.

Since the legal definition of hunting includes tracking, hunting and retrieval, authorities said Wingenroth used the drone to technically "hunt" game. He was convicted on all four counts and fined $1,500.

Wingenroth's attorney, Michael Siddons, said his client planned to appeal the verdict. Siddons argued in the lawsuit that state laws related to the use of devices while hunting are "outdated," saying they have been reformed over time to cover new technologies but have yet to address the use of drones. has not been done.

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