What’s the best thermal camera and drone for hog hunting?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drones, thermal cameras and hog hunting! If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

What affordable drone and thermal camera set up would you recommend for a beginner to use for hog hunting?

Welcome to the drone world! While I am vegetarian, I can endorse your efforts for wanting to use a drone for hog hunting!

Wild hogs are an invasive species, wreaking havoc on the environment, especially in the southern portion of the United States. The 200-pound animals are destructive, damaging livestock, hurting the ecosystem and competing with native species. Couple that with their impressive fertility and high adaptability, and wild hogs cost the U.S. $1.5 billion each year.


Using drones to hunt wild hogs is an excellent use case. Add a thermal camera, and they are easier to spot. Using drones to hunt hogs has been a common practice for many years, but it used to be extremely expensive; Hunters in the past have used $15,000+ rigs to make it happen.

Now drones with thermal cameras are cheaper than ever before — and extremely easy to fly.

If you’re looking for value, your best bet is the FLIR Duo camera, which combines a thermal camera vs. a “traditional” visible light camera into one drone. It’s the same size as the GoPro Hero camera, so it will fit on any drone designed to carry a GoPro Hero (which is many of them!).

That camera runs for $999 on B&H Photo. B&H also does not charge sales tax in all states except NJ and NY, and will give you free shipping. Or, purchase FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras directly from the FLIR site.

The easiest way to fly it is on a drone designed to mount a GoPro. I recommend the DJI Phantom 2, which runs for $500 on Amazon. The drone is incredibly easy to learn how to fly. Another option is the 3D Robotics Solo drone.

One of my favorite YouTube dronies, the Roswell Flight Test Crew, shows how it works:

However, both of those drones are pretty outdated (the DJI Phantom is on their model 4 now), and many users prefer to purchase a newer drone.

This YouTube explains how to fly the FLIR Duo Camera with a DJI Mavic Pro, which is my favorite drone to date. It’s going to be more complicated to mount the camera, but could be worth it if you want to use the drone for other purposes too.

If you have a bigger budget, then without a doubt, you’ll want to buy the DJI Zenmuse XT. The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR, providing high-sensitivity (50mK) thermal imaging at 640/30 fps or 336/30 fps depending on the camera model.

That camera is designed specifically to integrate with the DJI Inspire 1, M100, M200 and M600 drones.

Good luck, and happy flying!

5 Comments

  • Drone Minds says:

    Don’t forget the Yuneec H520 with its thermal camera that was released for sale just yesterday!

  • matt says:

    Is there a better way the hog population can be controlled without the the mindless murder?

    • Rick Devore says:

      No because if you do not eradicate at least 70% of them you will not put a dent in the population. Trapping and hunting are probably the best options. The state is proposing to use poison on them. That seems to be a worse option than the two current ones.
      I take it that you are a vegetarian otherwise there is no difference, killing is killing. Most hogs are consumed in one way or another. Live trapped ones are sold, dead ones made into dog food or some like myself personally like eating them.
      https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/nuisance/feral_hogs/

  • Skywolf says:

    Sorry but it is highly unethical to hunt hogs using thermal images. There is a thrill in hunting, you or the animal. It looks like whoever asked that question, never seen a hog hunt. We refused this type of work couple of times. Also it might be illegal in some countries.

    Drone thermal imaging is has a very good use in wild animal population counting.

    • Russ says:

      Get off your high horse, there’s nothing unethical when it comes to hunting hogs no different than a Ridah kidding or rats. It’s a pest animal.

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