Armed drones could become the new tool for a new generation of hunters raised on Playstation, and there’s a home-made prototype out there proving it can be done.
Already a crucial piece of military equipment, drones are increasingly being used by civilians for fun, surveillance and even harassing hunters, but until now it was only the armed forces who fitted guns to unmanned aircraft and used them to attack targets.
A group calling itself Dangerous Information put together a six-rotor drone armed with a paintball marker gun to prove the concept would work.
As shown in the video below, the drone can shoot very accurately and hit a number of targets in quick succession. Its speed and mobility would probably make it very difficult for targets to get away.
At the same time, dangerous Information has challenged everyone by posing a number of questions, including whether this is a dangerous and scary idea.
“What about … when drones are used in an ethically grey area, or even directly in unlawful activities?” asks Dangerous Information’s masked frontman.
Dangerous Information’s armed drone has been described as disturbing, cool, stupid, fun and pretty scary, among many other things.
It was inevitable that civilians would arm drones as drone technology became cheap and widely available, and in the US it can be argued there’s a place for their use in self-defence.
The use of an armed drone would break a number of Australian gun laws – depending upon the situation – but the ethics of their use also brings up all kinds of questions.
Self-defence is clearly off the agenda here, but hunting and culling are two potential uses, again subject to various laws.
‘Stalking’ in to prey is probably no good because of the noise of the drone, but its speed could permit hunters to make quick attacks on game. Of course, is that really hunting?
For commercial shooting and culling, drones would permit shooters to cover large amounts of ground very quickly and pursue fleeing groups of animals such as pigs.
Drones would be so much cheaper than using helicopter-borne shooting teams that they could rapidly take over the job.
Fitment of a tracking devise would ensure that a firearm was never lost if a drone crashed in bushland away from its controller, a particularly important consideration for the prohibited D-category firearms often used by professional cullers.