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Ehrhardt, SCSHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), an Illinois animal rights group, has taken the fight against animal cruelty into the 21st century by equipping a state-of-the-art helicopter drone with surveillance equipment to create a platform by which the behavior – or misbehavior – of hunters can be recorded and assessed. Effective? You decide…

On February 12, SHARK operatives deployed the drone outside of the boundary of the Broxton Bridge Plantation. Broxton Bridge Plantation is self-described as offering ‘a wide variety of hunting opportunities on over 7,000 acres of land’ including ‘deer hunting, wild hog hunting, duck hunting over decoys, in addition to pheasants and bobwhite quail.’ On this particular day, though, the target of SHARK was a BBP pigeon hunt.

As the hunters were positioned on the plantation grounds ready for the hunt to begin, SHARK members completed final preparations to the drone that was to serve to document the hunters’ vile actions and contempt for animal life. At the crucial moment, the video-equipped high-technology eight-propeller helicopter drone is released and lifts flawlessly into the air.  As the drone rises above the treeline, though, the quiet buzz from the drones engines is interrupted by much louder bursts of sound from the nearby fields.

“Are they shootin’ at it?” asks one of the SHARK volunteers incredulously in a video taken at the time of the launch.

No. No. …it cannot be. Could it be that people armed with guns in preparation to shoot and kill flying birds might brazenly shoot at an expensive aircraft paid for by animal rights activists and equipped with video equipment intended to gather data with the intent of putting an end to their prized activity?!? No! It most certainly is not possible.

Then, as the drone staggers and begins to fall, the same SHARK volunteer is heard saying, “Oh, dang it.”

…and with that stark realization – and a collective gasp worldwide – we are left to conclude that, yes. Yes. …perhaps, it is possible.

A police report was filed by SHARK members in hopes that the hunters who shot down their survellance drone will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. On the video, the founder of SHARK expressed his lack of faith that local police will be working hard to identify the perpetrators. How odd his view… given the unconditional support that southern law enforcement has typically afforded animal rights groups.

In the meantime, SHARK volunteers are left with the quandary of how to make their expensive donor-funded intelligence-gathering drone an unattractive target to the very hunters that they have organized themselves against. Perhaps disguising it as a bald eagle? …or one of Santa’s reindeer. I mean, nobody would shoot at one of Santa’s reindeer. Would they?!

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