Elk NetworkHeat-Seeking Drone Finds Lost Elk Hunters

General | September 16, 2019

Two elk hunters who got lost in the Boise Foothills of southeast Idaho have modern technology and the local sheriff’s department to thank for their rescue.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office used its brand new thermal detection drone which has the ability to scan the landscape below for heat. In fact, the rescue was the first time the department used the new high tech tool. In addition to seeking heat, the drone also has an audio speaker and spotlight functions plus the standard video capability.

Dispatchers received a call from the hunters after 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night. They ended up in a dark ravine surrounded by thick brush. Deputies eventually determined the hunters’ general location by spotting the flashing strobe lights on their headlamps. They then flew the drone overhead and used thermal detection to find the hunters, turned on the spotlight to light up a safe route and led them out to safety.

The Boise Foothills cover more than 80,000 acres immediately north of Boise and rise to more than 6,500 feet in elevation.

(Photo source: Ada County Sheriff’s Department)