A Pennsylvania man who helped hunters locate deer carcasses by using a drone was found guilty

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A guy from Pennsylvania was found guilty of breaking state hunting regulations when he used drones to attempt and find wounded deer that hunters had shot so they could recover their carcasses.

Downingtown resident Joshua Wingenroth, 35, intends to file an appeal against the decisions rendered by District Judge Raymond Sheller of Lancaster County on Thursday. The case, which focused on whether Wingenroth was engaged in hunting as that term is defined by state law, appears to have been the first instance of someone being ticketed and convicted in Pennsylvania for operating a drone to locate a dead wildlife animal.

Sheller declared, “The Legislature has to deal with this,” as he handed down his decision. “Everybody has been playing catchup to science.”

State wildlife wardens informed Wingenroth a year ago that his open promotion of his business in local periodicals was prohibited, according to the officials. However, Wingeroth informed them that his attorney “has an entirely different interpretation” of the law.

Wingenroth was approached on December 6 by an undercover game commission officer who requested to meet and assist in locating a deer that Wingenroth had shot in the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve. After meeting the officer there in less than an hour, Wingenroth signed a disclaimer saying he would “catch the deer another day” if the deer was discovered to be alive, even though he still wanted to retrieve the carcass.

Unaware that the shooting deer report was a fraud and an illegal operation, Wingenroth quickly set off a drone and flew it remotely, utilizing a thermal camera setting to capture the landscape in black and white. Before long, he was able to see a live deer. He used the thermal option on the camera to display it as a heat map.

Later on, seeing the deer normally, he switched off the settings and turned on a spotlight. But soon after, the officer and Wingenroth were contacted by a game warden who seized the drone and issued citations for 2 offenses: one of disrupting game or species and the other of breaking the rules for recreational spotlighting.

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