Sunday, February 28, 2016

News You Can't Use: These Undercover Robot Animals are Helping in the Hunt for Poachers

Remember when a dentist shot some mega-fauna in a loser country and it dominated the "feed" of your personal information-gathering websites for a short while, displacing condescending stick figure cartoons? Well, all those "likes" apparently failed to converge into real-world change, but the good news is in the future there will be robots. Yes, with hunting season a scant seven months off now is clearly a good time to discuss how drone animals will play a valuable role in the process of blasting Bambi's mother.

Two men in Maryland recently achieved Internet infamy when they were temporarily banned from hunting after they’d used crossbows to shoot a deer on state land.

This stick man drawing is two guys from Maryland? Yeah, right. Instead they managed highly fleeting "infamy" a state that in today's modern world is even more unstable than traditional celebrity. Their "Welcome to Sherwood" antics were promptly defeated by the King's animal-bots, a few disapproving clucks from the usual quarters and back to slowly marching toward hateful oblivion.

Or so they thought.

Record scratch! Plot twist! Wacky, wacky, wacky.

The men had actually fallen prey to the ruse of a state-owned robotic deer, one of a growing number of remote-controlled decoys being used by American wildlife law enforcement to stop poachers.

I guess the steady spray of sparks from the Disney protagonist's sucking chest wound might have been a tip-off, but dat blood lust doe.

Across the nation, a small army of deer, elk, bear, turkey, fox and wolf dummies has been deployed to catch people who hunt in the wrong place, in the wrong season or otherwise illegally.

Fortunately there's enough tax revenue to easily afford blimp defense counter-measures, cyborg elks and many other essential programs.

The decoys look so alive because, well, they once were, said Brian Wolslegel, owner of the Wisconsin-based Custom Robotic Wildlife.  

I mean plastics and oil used to be dinosaurs or whatever, right?

Each year he sells as many as 100 whitetail deer, by far his most popular item. Officers, he said, tell him they make as much as $30,000 in fines off each fake animal.

This is proof that our society is not highly corrupt.

Robo-wildlife, it turns out, are pretty hard to kill.

I eventually destroyed the glistening steel super turkey by spraying it with liquid nitrogen and then shattering it into a million pieces. Then I got a $500 fine for illegal hunting.

Think you’re more observant than a poacher? Take this quiz to find out if you can tell a robo-animal from a live animal.

Stumped? Yeah, told you it would be difficult.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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