Sunday, December 08, 2002

Ruh Oh!
(Via Free Republic) The Country Today alarms with Poachers beware: 'Bambi' is in on sting operation:
So you missed your deer. Don't let a tempting buck at the side of the road lure you into sneaking a parting shot from the window of your truck. That swishing tail might hide a stinger.

Brian Wolslegel, Mosinee, claims that his robotic deer are so lifelike, they draw in poachers, amorous mates and territorial bucks just as effectively as the real thing. The only problem is, there is always a game warden close by.

Since 1995, when Mr. Wolslegel started Custom Robotic Wildlife, he has shipped his battery-powered decoys to 48 states and all the provinces of Canada. Most of those are being used by game wardens to educate the public to endangered species and put the squeeze on unscrupulous hunters.
His critters have evolved to the wildlife version of RoboCop, with custom-designed gearboxes and remote controllers that will turn the head, stamp a foot or make a turkey look like it's fanning its tail and strutting. He is even working through a design that will allow a deer decoy to blow steam from its nostrils in cold weather.
In spite of its size, the company puts out about 300 decoys a year, marketing the product on the Internet and at wildlife management conventions around the country. The most popular product is whitetail deer, but he also creates robotic elk, moose, caribou, turkey, bear, lynx and fox.

"We do just about every animal there is," Mr. Wolslegel said.

Hunters are getting savvier about decoy wildlife, but that doesn't mean that they don't fool a lot of people a lot of the time. Wardens at Seeley Lake, Mont., had to stop a car full of visitors from throwing stones at a grizzly bear decoy. They were trying to get it to move.

There are also plenty of decoys that come back for repair after being shot repeatedly by the same hunter.

"There are a million stories out there," Mr. Wolslegel said. "People running them over with their cars when they get mad. People trying to get out and shoo the deer away so it won't run across the road."
It's an IQ test! And throwing stones at a grizzly bear also gets Darwin Award points.
If you're in the market for a robotic deer in your back yard, Mr. Wolslegel can arrange that as well.

"I might sell 50 deer at a convention to wardens, but at one show, I had three guys walk up to me who don't bow hunt and said it was the coolest thing they had ever seen, and bought them to put in their yards," he said.

"I sold one to a guy who was goofing around with his neighbor. He was going to take it out to the guy's tree stand with a marine battery, and it would be standing there when the sun came up in the morning."
Who says us country folks are unsophisticated?