Can drones replace Trackers?

As Technology becomes way more sophsticated, this question is entirely licit.

In recent times the Border Patrol has massively started to employ drones to control the borders with Mexico, monitoring the passage of illegal aliens and smugglers: ” Hoping to help agents in the field, the Border Patrol is testing a fleet of personal drones, giving agents in remote areas eyes where they are currently blind.

“This drone could be deployed to assist agents on the ground, moving to a target or moving in on a group it detects,” said Border Patrol Agent Jason Weatherby.

The program is still in a testing phase, but Fox News joined a special operations team out of Tucson in the west Arizona desert, an 80-mile stretch of cactus, mesquite bushes and Palo Verde trees – and no fence at all.”

Certainly drones work actually well in desertic or logged areas, with a good, wide-open visual perspective. But what if they were employed in counties partially or completely covered by forests?

The suspected/missing one could easily flee the the drones surveillance, taking advantages of trees, shades, slopes and so on.

That’s can be easily understood, isn’t it?


At the same manner, we can apply this reasoning to animal behaviour.  Fortunately not all the animals are yet familiars with technology: the presence of drones, widely employed by biologist to reach them in the most remote areas, produces the opposite effect, making them fleeing away, scared by the unknown threat they see or perceive.

Watch, for example, this video:

Bear cub climbs mountain to reunite with mama bear

The behaviour of mama bear is totally reasonable, but the effect of the zooming drones on her and her baby cannot help to little one to make his reach of her mum.

Similarly, drones put any other animal specie on alert or perhaps vigilant, making things easy to any suspected who wants to avoid to be monitored reading their signs and interpreting them at his own advantage.

On the other way, as mentioned in several books that you can download for free here, the silent working of a good Tracking team guarantees a constant effort on the field alongside with unmatched skills in a victorius, ancestral art.


Published by

Kyt Walken

Hull's Tracking School Instructor and Official Representative. C.R.O.W. Certified Ranger. Recognized Tracking Expert.

2 thoughts on “Can drones replace Trackers?

  1. I have been an agent on the SW border for over 10 years. Drones are very effective for verifying people on the move, but are garbage for actually finding sign. Brush and tree cover, mountain passes, and hooched up subjects all will defeat a drone. Also the problems with flight times, time on scene, and priority of resources all limit a drone’s effectiveness. The type of drone matters (handheld vs predator style with radar). I have seen lots of technology that has promised to eliminate the need for trackers (cameras, sensors, FLIR, drones) but nothing replaces a tracker.


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