Drones can help you reduce the more tedious parts of the hunt, like finding downed game in tall grass before it starts to spoil. They can help you scout game or explore the lay of the land so you pick the best route.
There are many ways drones can help you hunt, but before heading out you must research what’s legal where you are.
Follow the law
Before using a drone at all, you must familiarize yourself with the law. This goes double for hunting with a drone because the additional hunting laws apply. Research the laws where you intend to hunt with your drone and be considerate of the local hunting community.
Top Pick: Autel Robotics EVO II 640T Dual Thermal – Best drone for hunting
This mid-range drone does everything well that you need a hunting drone to do: stay up in the air for a decent amount of time, zip around quickly and have a decent thermal camera.
The Evo II Dual 640T comes with a thermal camera as standard. Its flight time is a generous 38 minutes and its top speed is 45 mph. It captures beautiful 8K video and 48 MP photos in the bargain.
It simply can’t be beaten at this affordable price point.
Best drone for hunting comparison chart
|Autel Robotics EVO II 640T Dual Thermal||Parrot ANAFI thermal||Yuneec H520||Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced||DJI Matrice 300 RTK|
|Zoom||4x lossless zoom||3x digital zoom||N/A||32x digital zoom16x thermal zoom||30x optical zoom (Zenmuse Z30 camera)|
|Flight time||38 mins||26 mins||28 mins||31 mins||55 mins|
|Top speed||45 mph||34 mph(55 kph)||42 m/h(68 k/h)||45 mph(72 kph)||51 mph(83 kph)|
|Video||8K||4K 24FPS||N/A||4K 30FPS||N/A|
|Photo||48 MP||21 MP||N/A||48 MP||N/A|
|Maximum wind resistance||39 –46 mph(63 – 74 kmh)||31 mph(50 kph)||not confirmed||22 mph(35 kph)||33 mph(53 kph)|
|Operating temperature range||14-104°F (-10-40°C)||14° to 104° F|
(-10° to +40°C)
|not confirmed||14° to 104° F|
(-10° to +40°C)
|-4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C)|
Best Drones for Hunting – Reviews
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Autel Robotics EVO II 640T Dual Thermal – Best hunting drone
Once you try tracking with the picture-in-picture mode, you’ll understand why the Evo II 640T Dual Thermal is such a good purchase. This innovative mode allows you to overlay thermal imaging in a small square on top of the regular camera’s image.
It is an ideal way to orient yourself while scanning the horizon and takes advantage of the controller’s large 3.26-inch OLED screen. Zoom in up to 4x with no loss.
The camera records in 8K and 48 MP photos, so capture that natural beauty while you’re up there, to remember.
Sometimes you need to move around or need your attention somewhere else, but if you’re tailing a buck you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen. EVO II 640T Dual Thermal’s Dynamic Track 2.0 can track targets intelligently on its own while using 360° obstacle avoidance to give you a quick break.
This is very helpful if you’re on your own, especially because EVO II 640T’s flies for 38 minutes, so this scenario is likely to happen at some point.
It has a high top speed of 45 mph and a transmission range of 5.5 mi so you can cover a lot of distance in your radius within your flight time. With its object avoidance capabilities, it’s a great tool for finding a trail while you’re still at your vehicle so you can pack accordingly.
It’s also got good wind resistance at 39–46 mph, which is great because the weather might turn bad at some point if you’re hunting for days.
- Great price for all the hunting features you need
- Picture-in-picture thermal image feature
- Tracking and 360° obstacle avoidance
- Not the cheapest option (but still good value)
Parrot Anafi Thermal – Best low-cost hunting drone
The most game-changing feature of a drone for hunting is a thermal camera, which most drones don’t have. The Parrot Anafi Thermal is a low-cost all-in-one thermal drone.
You won’t get the top performance on the market. Its wind resistance is a decent 31 mph, and its top speed is 34 mph. But its flight time is limited to only 26 mins.
You will be able to scout and trail find but making the most of the drone’s flight time will take more preparation using maps beforehand to launch in the right place (Google Maps is good for this).
It can shoot video in 4K at 24FPS and take 21 MP stills for when the mood catches you.
The best thing about it is the thermal camera does not need to be bought separately, so it offers great value for money. That also means fewer bits to pack and lose/forget.
One downside is the controller doesn’t come with a screen. You’ll need to connect your mobile phone to the controller. Some people don’t mind this.
Read more: the best drones with screens in the controller
On the plus side, the drone transmits live video in HD 720p video to the controller so you’ll have a crisp window on the terrain. It does keep your phone busy though when you might need it for other things. This makes you more reliant on your phone and it’s never ideal to be too reliant on one piece of equipment
Depending on your budget though it is worth it for the price. The Anafi Thermal is anything between 2 – 10x as cheap as other options on this list, once the separate camera has been bought where necessary.
- Costs 2.5x less than a separate thermal camera costs for other drones
- Covers all the features you need
- Flight time is restrictive at 26 mins
- The controller uses your mobile phone as a camera
Yuneec H520 – Most versatile mid-market hunting drone
If you are hunting on your own land or you have a farm, the Yuneec H520 can help you hunt and survey your terrain.
Like all drones that don’t come with a camera, you can buy cameras for specialized purposes.
The drone itself is cheap low-cost but the separate cameras will cost you. However, as an investment into hunting and, for example, agriculture, you’ll get good value for money from it.
Its bright orange design helps you keep track of it. It’s easy to lose track of a drone between looking down at the screen and navigating trees, especially if your eyes aren’t what they used to be.
Thermal cameras for hunting get an easy ride because you’re only looking for heat signatures, not for the temperature of the heat signature. The average body temperature of a deer is 101.4°F (38.5°C). This can easily be picked up by even the cheapest compatible thermal camera that Yuneec sells.
Both compatible Yuneec cameras have a picture-in-picture mode, which is great for scouting efficiently.
The Yuneec H520 offers 28 minutes of flight time, depending on which camera you use.
- The base drone is very good value for the price
- Separately bought thermal cameras have picture-in-picture mode
- Separate cameras are expensive
- Flight time is below 30 mins before a camera is attached
- Might need to use the drone for something as well as hunting to get your money’s worth
Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced – Cheapest low-cost advanced hunting drone
With 32x digital zoom and 16x thermal zoom as standard, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is a great scouting drone.
The 5.5-inch 1080p controller screen has a handy half-thermal and half-visible light mode to help you scout. It’s not as intuitive as Autel Robotics EVO II 640T Dual Thermal’s picture-in-picture but it is still useful for scouting.
Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is a commercial-grade drone. Its top speed is 45 mph so you’ll be able to scout the area quickly, which is just as well because its flight time is only 31 minutes.
This is no surprise as it’s based on the discontinued Mavic 2. The inclusion of a thermal camera as standard more than makes up for this though.
DJI has omnidirectional object sensing to help you navigate the terrain, although it doesn’t have the tracking capabilities of other DJI products.
You can take great photos at 48 MP, which is way beyond what you’d need for visually saving waypoints when trail finding.
You’ll have access to the collision risk with any other manned and unmanned aircraft using the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, keeping both your drone and other fliers safe.
- 32x digital zoom and 16x thermal zoom, great for scouting and trail finding
- Great 45 mph top speed
- Good value for money as thermal camera included
- Based on an older drone model, so flight time is low at 31 minutes
Matrice 300 RTK – Best high-end hunting drone
The Matrice 300 RTK is like a Swiss army knife. It does everything. This is the drone for the hunter who needs to have the best gear, and is happy to pay for it.
Yes, you need to buy cameras separately, but it can carry three, each optimized to a different function.
The H20T – Quad-Sensor Solution camera, for example, has a thermal sensor that measures heat in tiny intervals of 50mk and a laser rangefinder that can tell you the distance of anything up to 1200m away, with a 20 MP zoom camera to boot. This is easily enough to observe game and their behavior patterns.
The Zenmuse Z30 camera has 30× optical zoom, incredible for scouting and trail finding.
With no payload attached, the Matrice 300 will fly for an incredible 55 mins. With one camera, you’ll get 43 – 48 mins, with two 39 – 40 mins, and with three it is 31 mins.
Its battery setup is ideal for a drone. It can carry two at a time. With another two charged spares there’s no way you’ll run out of time. You can even switch the batteries without having to turn the drone off.
This is also the most robust drone you’re going to find, for hunting in all seasons. It has the best operating temperature range, from -4°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C), but also a feature you don’t see often in consumer drones.
It has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP45, ensuring it has good protection against rain getting inside the machine. That’s not a license to be careless about the elements but it does provide a sense of security.
It’s not a small machine though. Even folded, it is almost a 1.5 ft square. You’ll probably be using this from your truck rather than carrying it with you.
If price is no issue, look into the Matrice 300. If it is, you could do very well with a cheaper alternative.
- Can carry three cameras
- Fitted with two batteries
- Laser rangefinder gives you the distance of anything up to 1200m away. Amazing for scouting
- The IP45 rating makes this the most resilient to the elements
- Very expensive base drone and very expensive cameras
- Only worthwhile if you have a lot of money to spend
- Large drone so difficult to carry