Study: Bear heart rate affected by drones

Biologists at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul have discovered that it’s not just humans who get agitated when someone’s hobby drone aircraft is buzzing over them – wildlife doesn’t seem to appreciate it, either.

While it’s illegal to use drones for hunting in most states, some biologists like to use the small, unmanned aircraft for research. The drones make it much easier to get into remote areas that might otherwise be difficult if not impossible to access for research. That type of use doesn’t seem to bother people as much as when your neighbor flies a drone over your backyard swimming pool.

One researcher at UMSP wanted to know what wildlife thinks about having drones following them, so he extended a study in the state that had outfitted black bears with radio transmitters to record their heartbeats and examine how the animals are able to vary their heart rates so dramatically between months when they are hibernating and months when they are active. According to follow-up research published in Current Biology, the biologists found that bears’ heart rates increased – some by quite a bit – when the drones were flying overhead. Some of the animals ran away from the drones; others went about their business but still experienced increased heart rates when drones were present.

Meanwhile, at least one ammunition company has come up with packaging for its shotgun shells much like what Hornady did with its “Zombie Max” shells designed to help you cope with the zombie apocalypse. Snake River Shooting Products and Consulting has come up with “Drone Munitions” shotgun shells that are supposedly designed to take down the pesky neighborhood drones. 

Of course, like the zombie ammo, the anti-drone ammo isn’t any different than regular shells, but Snake River is probably hoping its packaging will make its shells as popular as Hornady’s, which didn’t stay long on the store shelves when they were first introduced. 

I can see the slogan now: “Save a bear. Shoot a drone.”

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Blogs, Hunting News, MicBlogs, Michigan – Tom Pink

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