Texas game wardens are adding a new set of eyes in the sky - an Unmanned Aircraft System or UAS - they say will enhance their ability to quickly and safely survey hard to access areas during natural disasters and search and rescue operations.
The new drone, a DJI Inspire 2, was donated through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Gear Up for Game Wardens program, which has generated over $100,000 in private donations thus far to fund purchases of specialized equipment for state game wardens.
“It will definitely be deployed during disaster events and search operations,” said Game Warden Pilot Lt. Brandon Rose. “We’re limited from using our helicopter and airplane if weather is bad. With this drone we may be able to search for missing persons in situations where we can’t use the manned aircraft. During those down times, this craft could be the difference maker in getting help and saving lives.”
The new game warden UAS can attain a maximum speed of 58 mph and can go from 0 to 50 in 5 seconds with a range of about 4 miles.
Campbell went on to add, “The UAS will enhance our ability to quickly locate and guide rescuers to victim locations, and we also see the potential of the UAS as a training tool, as well as helping with reconstructing boat accident scenes.”
The UAS will be based out of Texas Game Warden Region 7 in Temple, but available for deployment statewide.
Wardens are hoping to obtain additional unmanned aircraft in the future armed with thermal imaging systems for deployment throughout their eight law enforcement regions.