While they are young, baby deer lie extremely still in the grass, relying on their natural coats to stay hidden., Source: Vincent Van Zalinge / Unsplash

400 baby deer saved with heat-seeking drone in Tyrol

400 baby deer saved with heat-seeking drone in Tyrol

Around 25,000 newborn fawns fall victim to mowing in May and June in Austria

Today, the Tyrolean Hunters’ Association in Austria announced that since 2022, the association’s heat-seeking drone service managed to save 400 baby deer during the mating season in May and June. During this period, the animals are uniquely vulnerable as they tend to hide in meadows and agricultural regions.

Moreover, while they are young, fawns tend to only rely on their coat as natural camouflage, laying extremely still in the grass. This behaviour makes them nearly invisible to both predators and farmers alike, leading to an estimated 25,000 falling victim to mowers every spring in Austria.

Drone rescue

The Tyrolean Hunters’ Association in the Austrian Federal State has 40 drone pilots and every year they manage to save more and more animals, according to the state’s hunt master Anton Larcher. The number of saved baby deer heavily relies on trust and cooperation between farmers and the Hunters’ Association.

This is because the newborns need to be handled with extreme care by professionals, so farm owners must call in drone checks on their land. Moreover, the best time to remove baby deer is before mowing starts and the animals need to be kept in specific conditions and returned after mowing is complete.

Professionals use the drones equipped with thermal cameras, flying them over the fields to locate baby deer. The animal handlers take great care to remove the animals, using a layer of hay or straw to pick them up. This is because, according to a statement by the Hunters’ Association, mothers dislike the smell of humans and may abandon their young ones.

After professionals pick up the animals, they are placed in protective captivity, until the field is mowed, otherwise, they might try and get back into the danger zone.



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