I don't think game counting is practical from a UAV, I've tried from a fixed wing model but the camera/goggle resolution, stability, inability to look around, terrain, etc makes it very hard. A friend tried with a FLIR camera on a full size heli but they couldn't differentiate between a kudu or a waterbuck or sable.
but for general game it's not easy. The RCG thread lists more limitations.
The buffalo had to be out in an open area in winter, in summer 80+% of the herd was under tree cover when the sun was vertical and invisible to the plane's camera.
I think with a large budget one could develop a system to do it fairly well but by that time it would've been cheaper and less time consuming to hire a full size plane.
An Arducopter also has a very limited duration of maybe 12-15 minutes if your system is very efficient which limits a) how far you can fly (6 minutes away and 6 minutes back), b) how much area you can cover in that time.
Thank you Graham, your comments are very valuable indeed.
I understand the ArduCopter may just be a starting point for me and the ArduPlane may be more appropriate. I believe there are UAV solutions for game counts available overseas, although probably also a lot more expensive... but so are game counts using a helicopter on a reasonable size reserve.
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