Hunters shoot down Mikrokopter used by animal rights group to film pigeon shoot

From the Times and Democrat newspaper in South Carolina:

A remote-controlled aircraft owned by an animal rights group was reportedly shot down near Broxton Bridge Plantation Sunday.

Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.

"It didn't work; what SHARK was doing was perfectly legal," Hindi said in a news release. "Once they knew nothing was going to stop us, the shooting stopped and the cars lined up to leave."

He said the animal rights group decided to send the drone up anyway.

"Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out," Hindi said in the release. "As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter."

He claimed the shooters were "in tree cover" and "fled the scene on small motorized vehicles."

"It is important to note how dangerous this was, as they were shooting toward and into a well-travelled highway," Hindi stated in the release. He said someone from SHARK called the Colleton County Sheriff's Department, which took a report of the incident.

The Colleton County Sheriff's Department filed a malicious damage to property incident report.

The incident report went on to state that "once shot, the helicopter lost lift and crash landed on the roadway of U.S. 601."According to the report, Hindi told the responding deputy the group's remote-controlled aircraft "was hovering over U.S. 601 when he heard a shot come from the wood line. The shot sounded to him that it was of small caliber."

The deputy noted in the report that he was unable to speak to anyone at Broxton Bridge Plantation following the incident.

Hindi estimated damage to the drone at around $200 to $300.

Hindi said he will seek charges against those who shot down the drone.

"This was SHARK's first encounter with the Broxton Bridge Plantation, but it will certainly not be the last," Hindi said in the release. "We are already making plans for a considerably upscaled action in 2013."

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Comment by Rory Paul on February 16, 2012 at 3:30pm

Is the airspace above my property legally "my property"?  I always assumed that it "belonged" to the FAA since none of the airlines flying overhead ever bother to get my permission to pass through my to setup a toll booth on my quadcopter.

Comment by Sgt Ric on February 16, 2012 at 3:39pm


quote "I believe I have a right to shoot it down."   

Excuse me?  

What a truly American thing to say!


Comment by Sgt Ric on February 16, 2012 at 4:26pm

As has been pointed out here earlier, in the USA you do not own the airspace above your property, but you do have the right to use it to a reasonable height as may be required for recreational purposes, like throwing a ball around.

Comment by Rory Paul on February 16, 2012 at 4:36pm

ACLU can of worms developing here...

Comment by David M Eno on February 16, 2012 at 5:13pm

I agree that I do not own the airspace over my home.  I know what the legal situation is.  I can't shoot at manned aviation any more than I can shoot at unmanned aviation.  This is however, as Rory Paul says an "ACLU can of worms".  Personally, I feel that if you want to fly over my property with camera drone at low altitude it is an invasion of my privacy.  I feel personally that I should be allowed to shoot down your craft and then mount it on the wall as a trophy.  In reality I believe that this would be illegal, but it's fun to think about to explore the attitudes people have towards this new technology.  Really it would come down to the judge I ended up in front of and the ensuing series of legal challenges.  

This doesn't mean i'm against drones.  It just means that paparazzi like action is something I don't support.  If you want to fly a plane well out of my visual field of view that's one thing, but a large and visible remote control drone .... i don't know.      

Comment by Sgt Ric on February 16, 2012 at 6:37pm
Right, I get what you mean.
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 16, 2012 at 6:59pm

I'm not really sure how a drone, in this case a somewhat large black object that sounds like a swarm of 10,000 bees can be considered spying.  It's not exactly discrete.

I do agree that at some point something is going to have to be decided, because this new technology is creating a situation which has never existed before.  That being the relatively easy ability of people to get cameras into private properties without trespassing.  I think most people would expect the same amount of privacy if they are standing in the middle of 100 acres of private property, than if they are in their home behind closed blinds.

At the same time, I think some things do deserve to be exposed to the public, and do not deserve to be protected just because they occur on private property.  Whether it is a river of blood being illegally dumped, or the incredibly barbaric treatment of animals.  I realize this is moral relativism but...  Yeah, I dunno.

Comment by Ehren on February 17, 2012 at 1:32pm

Well what can you do when one lunatic group picks a fight with another lunatic group? (Popcorn maybe)

In this case I think both parties are wrong; and in need of some hefty fines.

The use of remotely piloted air vehicles to gain access and film activities on private property should be a criminal act.  I think it should be trespassing; as the remote pilot was trespassing via his mechanical device.  What would be the difference if the pedophile club flew cameras over neighborhoods to film kid’s pool parties?  In my opinion they want access to a place they are not legally able to be; and by use of their technology they are there. Laws currently exist to cover that; they should be enforced.

On the other hand, use of a gun at a gun range. Hmmm just give a ticket for being a redneck.


I think property right should extend up to the NAS (500ft).  Flying below that requires permission,  flying above requires FAA approval.


Comment by Björn Videnberg on February 18, 2012 at 12:05am

Well Its about integrity. Who would want someone to legally be able to fly by and have a look into their window by the way, when having a good time with their wife,lol. 

Flying at a beach looking at people might be the same thing, who want to be spied up on? ofc there are some, but most people doesn't like that.

I wouldn't like a pedo to be able to fly around looking at kids either as former post mentioned.

The hunters, they dont want to be spied at either, its the same thing. No one want that.It very simple. This is really a integrity question and it applies to many scenarios just as this specific topic. One might think this case was for a good cause (from an animal right point of view), but it doesn't matter from a principal point of view.

Aerial photography is a no brainier as people in general don't have anything against this. Any kind of private surveillance or paparazzi usage of UAV is bad for our hobby.

From my point of view it was bad someone shot it down, but even more bad, using a mikrokopter to hunt the hunters.It starts peoples opinions. the world is full of regulations anyway.

Comment by Chris Gough on February 18, 2012 at 2:07am
If you feel you must shoot guns, doing it safely at a gun club it totally fine by me. This story is about someone firing out of a gun club into the rest of the world. If that was my local community, I would expect the club to have to justify it's ongoing existance at that location, and the gun owners to prove they are fit and propper people to continue to posess guns. Community standards differ, I'm glad I don't live in America.


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