Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Law Enforcement

Game Wardens Use Drones in Rescues, Arrest

Three recent incidents requiring game warden drone support led to rescues of two lost individuals in Central Texas and an arrest in East Texas.

On the night of Nov. 3, Texas Game Warden Michael Hummert responded to an Erath County Sheriff’s Office request for assistance. An elderly man had gone missing in Dublin.

“The setting sun prevented us from locating him through usual means,” Hummert says. “The thermal drone picks up body heat, which is necessary to locate someone at night. With the cold creeping in, it was imperative to find him quickly.”

Using cell phone records, the sheriff’s office determined a general location for the missing man, and Hummert found him through a thermal scan.

Just nine days later, in Bell County, federal officials reached out to Hummert in another missing person case. The family shared information about the person’s general location, and Hummert found the individual using the drone.

In East Texas, Game Warden Doug Williams used a thermal drone to locate a person suspected of shooting at and physically assaulting two people. The suspect was arrested and later treated for hypothermia.

“The success is really about the right equipment,” Hummert says. “A helicopter is highly beneficial for any search and rescue, but it’s not always practical in rural areas. Responding with a drone cuts your response time and cost, allowing for more versatility.” 

 TPWD staff;  Courtesy of Lauren Hummert

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