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Custom Robotic Wildlife's robotic taxidermied deer makes law-breaking hunters the hunted.  (Source:

Brian Wolslegel (center) and his pals also create a variety of other zombie-ish critters for wildlife enforcement officials across the country to use.  (Source: Custom Robotic Wildlife)
Some hunters are picking the wrong deer to mess with

The United States has long supported its citizens in getting their hunting fix.  For a variety of months of every year, hunters can take guns, bow, and other small arms and search out a wide variety of game, with the specific allowed game of the season typically varying by month.  However, one of the most beloved beasts among hunters is the buck, the iconic male deer.

Unfortunately, the lust for the buck has driven some obsessive hunters to break the law, hunting the animals out of season.  That caused some techie conservationists to do what any normal well-adjusted person would do -- make a mechanical, taxidermied deer to turn the tables on the hunters.

Taxidermist Brian Wolslegel, a member of a gang call Custom Robotic Wildlife, has done exactly that.  He has collected deer corpses, dried the pelts, and stretched the skins over polyurethane bodies, creating a host of deer decoys.  The frame has servomotors attached that actuate the head, tail, and limbs.  The electronics are hidden inside the beast's neck and legs -- not typical hunter targets -- and receive signals via remote control.

Mr. Wolslegel and his pals spend their free time hiding in the forest.  When they come across a hapless lawbreaking hunter, the hunter becomes the hunted.  On the hunt for the most dangerous game, one party controls the decoy and waits for the hunter to strike.  Another video tapes the hunter shooting the decoy.  And two others leap out from the woods and tackle the hunter(s) attempting to detain them until authorities can arrive.

Mr. Wolslegel and pals have nabbed multiple lawbreakers with their mix of creepy stuffed animals and high-tech.  And across the country many park officials are using decoys supplied by the team to conduct similar stings.  The punishments handed out by authorities include steep fines and jail time.

The group also uses coyotes, elk, antelope, and bears to catch hunters engaging in other types of poaching.  However, their main passion remains deer.  Next year Mr. Wolslegel plans to unleash a new model which has a CO2 cartridge to let loose little puffs of steamy "breath".

Aside from poaching the poachers, the Wisconsin based club/business also sells a variety of stuffed automated decoys to law-abiding hunters, homeowners (looking to scare away animals), and anyone else who might have a long silenced latent urge to own a large taxidermied beast.

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Please Redact This Stupidity
By spwrozek on 12/10/2009 8:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
In the summer, deer hunting is typically banned for a variety of reasons. First, it allows the population to stay plentiful and ready for the hunt. Second it minimizes the months in which fearful deer are likely to dart out across the road. And third, it prevents joggers from becoming the victim of beer-driven hunting accidents.

Seriously. I know you are trying to be funny but it is not. None of these reasons have anything to do with the hunting season.

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By spwrozek on 12/10/2009 9:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for removing it! Glad I got rated down for bringing it up....

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By Samus on 12/10/09, Rating: 0
RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By Solandri on 12/10/2009 6:14:59 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't say hunting ISN'T a form of controlling the number of animals that pose a danger to pedestrians, it just isn't a good one. Relying on hunters doesn't yield predictable results.

Regulated hunting is the primary and most predictable method of deer population control. You know the number of hunting permits which are sold, and most places require you to report your catch so you know nearly exactly how many deer were killed. Sure there are a few yahoos who don't report or kill without a permit. But that's true of just about anything, so you can account for them statistically (and the article is about reducing the number of these people).

The problem is deer thrive in the border between heavy wooded areas and meadow because they feed primarily on young vegetation. Basically the perimeter around a forest or large grove of trees. Back when the country wasn't settled, it was mostly heavy forest which wasn't favorable to deer. But man has chopped up those forests creating vastly more perimeter area. Suburbs especially are choice deer habitat. Deer populations have consequently exploded. Current population levels are about what they were prior to European settlement of the U.S. Without a substantial wolf population to keep them in check, hunting is the primary method of controlling their population.

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By Samus on 12/11/2009 5:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. Deer.

This isn't just about Deer. Did you read the article or just look at the pretty pictures?

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By headbox on 12/11/2009 4:54:13 AM , Rating: 4
I also think the title should say "poachers" and not "hunters." Hunters legally hunt game while poachers do not.

It's like the difference between your girlfriend and a prostitute- one does it legally, and the other does not.

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By FoxFour on 12/11/2009 1:57:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's like the difference between your girlfriend and a prostitute- one does it legally, and the other does not.

I guess that depends on where you live.

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By General Disturbance on 12/10/2009 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
I look up, and the lucky author is?

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By Alexvrb on 12/11/2009 8:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
Jason "Ninja Edit" Mick! Or perhaps Jason "lawl journalism" Mick?

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By Sanchez1986 on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By ViroMan on 12/10/2009 10:06:15 PM , Rating: 4
To the Fing spammer above. SHOVE OFF!!

Can we PLEASE get an instant erase of all posts with the website

RE: Please Redact This Stupidity
By aqaq55 on 12/15/09, Rating: 0
Stupid article on so many levels.
By bubba551 on 12/10/2009 9:30:34 AM , Rating: 5
1) There is nothing innovative here. Use of deer decoys (by game wardens) to catch poachers has been in practice since at least the 80's. One decoy name "Timex" was used to catch people hunting from the road - he got the moving head and tail upgrade in the 90's.

2) Game seasons are base largely on natural cycles (reproduction etc.) not on joggers, cars, etc.

3) Intentionally placing oneself in proximity of a poacher (or even a legal hunter) without a couple hundred inches of hunter orange is a tragedy waiting to happen. Not even those evil poachers want an accident like that.

4) Despite what the Johnnie-come-latelys would like to admit, hunters originated the conservation movement.

5) Every state has game wardens and all that I am aware of welcome reports of illegal activity especially if a good description is provided. They do not welcome vigilantes.

6) Many states perform out-of-season selective culling (i.e. either a game warden or contract employee is paid to harvest a certain number of animals in a given area.) Assaulting these guys would place you on the wrong side of the law.

7) Why would anyone buy a stuffed deer for target practice? Synthetic deer are cost effective, very durable, and many have replaceable "vitals" since that is the part that would wear out the fastest.

RE: Stupid article on so many levels.
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Stupid article on so many levels.
By bigdawg1988 on 12/10/2009 7:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you ought to check first ( before calling someone else stupid. As was said before, this is OLD. They've been doing it in georgia for at least 10 years. The only stupid thing is the poachers that shoot these things. The old ones were obvious fakes. It was hilarious that people were so desperate to shoot something that they fell for it. Some guys would shoot the deer multiple times through the heart! You had to wonder what they thought after the first hit when the deer didn't move? I think I'd be afraid to take another shot. Then again, I'm not some lame out of season poacher. Maybe they are braver than me. :)

By mindless1 on 12/11/2009 8:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's quite simple, they thought they either missed or the bullet didn't go through the heart. I do agree though, they should have had a clue when the deer didn't move at all, BUT if shooting at a distance enough that the sound isn't all that local, a sudden noise can cause a deer to freeze in place, but not for very long.

By BBeltrami on 12/10/2009 12:41:11 PM , Rating: 3
One item I'd add, just in the way of clarity: Poachers are not hunters, and hunters are not poachers. These traps do not catch hunters.

Poachers are criminals. Hunters are legally putting food on the table for many months and collecting a trophy if they get a serious buck (once or twice a lifetime for the real deal).

Hunters have to use patience, skill and knowledge to be successful and often come home empty handed. Given the effectiveness of decoys to catch the criminals, that would make a poacher about as smart as a duck.

By Brandon Kearns on 12/10/2009 2:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
This is a very good for the deer and the people who want to hunt

RE: Robotic Taxidermied Deer Makes Hunters the Hunted
By smity on 12/10/2009 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 1

By Visual on 12/11/2009 4:34:09 AM , Rating: 2

By martyrant on 12/10/2009 10:04:43 AM , Rating: 4
just another great (or useless) article/blog by Jason Mick

Fun stuff!
By bildan on 12/10/2009 10:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
Can you imagine explaining to your buds at the local bar that you got busted for shooting a plastic deer you thought was real. Your stock as a wannabe frontiersman deer hunter will take a big hit.

The first I heard of this was in western Colorado when the Fish and Game agents bought a fiber glass deer from a local bait shop and set it up 50 yards off a road - it only took 30 minutes for some knucklehead to shoot it from his pickup.

The overwhelming majority of people who get caught with this deception are drunk, drugged, or terminally stupid. Busting these morons is a huge public service.

Hooray for our game wardens!

RE: Fun stuff!
By Souka on 12/10/2009 1:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm... just doesn't sound smart...

two guys charging a hunter (drunk, drugged, or terminally stupid), who has a loaded gun and is likely on an andrelaine rush....

By KingConker on 12/10/2009 9:21:50 AM , Rating: 3
we're just too unpredictable and besides with our stiff upper lip and sense of decency we'd probably wait until we were shot at.

Now that made me think - can you not equip these decoys with a gun - if fired upon they can fire back.

Self defence surely...

This is a good idea?!?
By KIAman on 12/10/2009 2:09:19 PM , Rating: 3
Since when did jumping out of the bushes and surprising an armed hunter become a good idea?

I predict saved deer lives and dead conservationists.

By smity on 12/10/2009 2:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
go ahead and send me one if u can

By rika13 on 12/12/2009 7:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
video taping is enough evidence, just follow the poacher back to his car and get his plates, then call the warden

by going out and tackling the guy, they not only risk getting shot, but also getting charged with assault/battery (depends on state for what they call it, here in Illinois, its battery)

By KingConker on 12/10/2009 9:33:54 AM , Rating: 1
we're just too unpredictable and besides with our stiff upper lip and sense of decency we'd probably wait until we were shot at.

Now that made me think - can you not equip these decoys with a gun - if fired upon they can fire back.

Self defence surely...

By MrWho on 12/10/2009 5:33:40 PM , Rating: 1
Now we just need a taxidermied robotic kid to hunt child molesters!

By cyberguyz on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Hippocracy...
By IdiotHunter on 12/10/2009 8:03:01 AM , Rating: 2
Read the article dumass. They've used carcasses left by the hunters.

RE: Hippocracy...
By AssBall on 12/10/2009 10:09:45 AM , Rating: 2
Where does it say that, Mr. Smartypants? Oh, right, it doesn't.

RE: Hippocracy...
By Brandon Kearns on 12/10/2009 2:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
What do u mean

RE: Hippocracy...
By smity on 12/10/2009 2:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
ur a dumass

RE: Hippocracy...
By smity on 12/10/2009 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
ur a dumass they halft to

RE: Hippocracy...
By mindless1 on 12/11/2009 8:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, like you think they bring tupperware containers to the field to put deer parts in.

They take the whole animal home and have a left over pelt later. Why the robot was made from them is most probably cheapness, you can get synthetics that would last longer, be less smelly and nasty after a few rains, but a pelt can be treated too yet I think they are talking about more of the animal like the head.

RE: Hippocracy...
By marvdmartian on 12/10/2009 8:37:40 AM , Rating: 3
Never heard of roadkill?? ;)

Personally, I don't think I'd want to jump out and surprise someone with a high powered rifle. Talk about your extreme sport!!

RE: Hippocracy...
By Parhel on 12/10/2009 8:44:46 AM , Rating: 2
Personally, I don't think I'd want to jump out and surprise someone with a high powered rifle.

And then they try to tackle him!

RE: Hippocracy...
By Mitch101 on 12/10/2009 9:19:43 AM , Rating: 5
I dang killed me one of those Paparazzi. Look at the camera on that one. That's a keeper.

RE: Hippocracy...
By nineball9 on 12/10/2009 9:06:33 AM , Rating: 2
Hippocracy? Are you a fan of Hippocrates or something?
Is "Taxidermist" also missing from your vocabulary?

RE: Hippocracy...
By cyberguyz on 12/10/2009 9:51:48 AM , Rating: 1
And where do taxidermists get their carcasses to stuff?

Oh, yeah... Roadkill.

@the guy in one of the above threads that is saying hunting is so honorable (putting food on the table, etc):

If that were the case, there would be no carcasses left behind for these self-appointed rangers to find, would there.

RE: Hippocracy...
By Akrovah on 12/10/2009 1:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
Or perhaps...

They only used, you know, the skin for the decoys, and the rest of the carcass ended up "putting food on the table, etc"

Not that I agree with thier vigilanty approach. Going to get themselves killed.

RE: Hippocracy...
By xmichaelx on 12/10/2009 3:16:11 PM , Rating: 3
If that were the case, there would be no carcasses left behind for these self-appointed rangers to find, would there.

This may shock you, but deer can die without the intervention of hunters.

RE: Hippocracy...
By Parhel on 12/10/2009 4:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
This may shock you, but deer can die without the intervention of hunters.

True. Just ask my last car.

RE: Hippocracy...
By mindless1 on 12/11/2009 8:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where you got the ideal hunters are shooting deer and just leaving them in the field to rot, but unless one was only wounded and got away they do certainly want the whole animal as the trophy if nothing else, can at least give or sell it later if they dont' want to clean or eat deer.

RE: Hippocracy...
By Manch on 12/10/2009 10:05:39 AM , Rating: 3
You obviously don't understand what it means to be a conservationist.

I'm a conservationist and I go hunting. Conservation is about maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. As urban sprawl has pushed into the animals territories we've driven off or killed the natural predators that would otherwise keep populations under control and in balance. I see no problem with hunting as long as it's done within the confines of the law and it doesn't decimate the deer population or whatever game people want to hunt. Some disregard hunting seasons becuase they do not think about the consequences or they do not care.

Now a preservationists or eco-nuts as I like to call them are opposed to hunting. They want us to leave and do absolutely nothing. The problem with that is the introduction of humans into these areas has permanently upset the balnce of teh ecosystem and simply leaving will not fix the problem. South Carolina in a fit of preservation banned hunting for a while and the deer population exploded to a point that they were starving. The average size was about 80-100 pounds!They were like small dogs. Then to correct this problem they finally allowed hunting. Unlimited hunting. They actually hired hunters to walk lines and kill any deer they found. Even now the deer remain smallish, but at least the population is on it's way back to a sustainable number.

RE: Hippocracy...
By cyberguyz on 12/11/2009 6:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Good points. Thanks for an intelligent response.

There are arguments to be made on both sides of the hunting to cull a population or allowing nature to do it.

Animals naturally adapt to suit their environment. That is nature's way and drives evolution (i.e. smaller deer are more sustainable in a low-food environment). Hunting to cull animal populations does not allow this adaptation to occur since the animals are artificially maintained to live in a man-tailored environment. Allowing nature to handle things allows these animals to change and adapt to the changes mankind are making.

I don't see smaller deer as a bad thing, but hunters looking for the monster buck might. Now of course allowing nature to handle adapting the animal population to suit an environment may sound like it goes against conservationism, but I suppose it depends on how you define the term -- in the human-controlled conservation, or natural conservation of the species. Both views are equally valid and both have their good / bad points.

I still think the moronic actions of these fools would win them a Darwin prize if they manage to get shot by a poacher before they have kids.

RE: Hippocracy...
By Manch on 12/11/2009 10:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree running out to grab a poacher that has a loaded gun is just plain stupid. Using robotic deer to capture poachers i think is a great idea, but it should be left to Game Wardens and Park Rangers.

The problem with letting the deer get smaller due to a huge population boom is they would soon reach a critical point where there environment can no longer support them. This would cause starvation, malnourishment, spread disease and then kill even more of the population. On top of that malnourishment leads to deformation and other birth defects. Without a natural predator, nature will not be able to balance itself out without a detrimental cosequence to the deer and the other animals in it's eco system. There's no such thing as human vs natural conservation. We're apart of nature as much as the wolves that once hunted the deer were. We've replaced them as the primary predator and it's our responsibility to make sure we hunt responsibility and not force them into extinction.

RE: Hippocracy...
By mindless1 on 12/11/2009 8:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
There aren't these arguments anymore to let nature take it's course when the deer population is near humans.

The reason is humans won't allow the predators to exist in sufficient numbers anymore because something large enough to take down a deer is a danger to small people, pets, etc.

Ironically enough, the human animal simply dominated the environment to become the predator. To an outsider, an alien race for example, that IS nature.

RE: Hippocracy...
By smity on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Hippocracy...
By cyberguyz on 12/11/09, Rating: 0
By AssBall on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dumb
By jonmcc33 on 12/10/2009 8:12:58 AM , Rating: 1
What a potty mouth!

RE: Dumb
By JonB on 12/10/2009 11:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
What a potty mouth!

his own name says it all.

RE: Dumb
By Brandon Kearns on 12/10/2009 2:14:09 PM , Rating: 1
Your a dumb fuck

Bait'n switch
By ctodd on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Bait'n switch
By TheDoc9 on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Bait'n switch
By rikulus on 12/10/2009 9:47:00 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, deer are not likely to go extinct because the hunting of deer is regulated, and most hunters do follow the law and are interested in conservation. (I must say that your wording of it being "not common" for them to break the law sounds a little ominous.) I don't think it's a bad thing for these guys to try to entrap illegal hunters, the hunters have to be out there in the field and armed, intending to illegally hunt, before they can get caught.

Without regulation and enforcement, don't be too sure that a species won't go extinct. Just look into the passenger pigeon. Once so numerous they were the largest source of meat for the lower classes in the country, and thought impossible to hunt to extinction. Except they were, in a matter of years. Even regulated animals without sufficient enforcement are going extinct. It's expected that tigers will likely be extinct in 10 years. Frickin' tigers... gone. Maybe some left in captivity for a while, but the writing is on the wall. I never had the opportunity to see a do-do, so it's just a word and some pictures, a thing from the past. For my kids someday, a tiger might have the same meaning.

RE: Bait'n switch
By ctodd on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Bait'n switch
By fic2 on 12/10/2009 1:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
You keep using the word "baiting". If this is baiting then banks "bait" bank robbers everyday by having branches.

As someone earlier said - they have to be out in the woods with a rifle. I know many people that hunt - IN SEASON!

There used to be millions of buffalo in North America, but were hunted to near extinction since there was no regulation. Same thing could happen to deer if all the regulations were taken away.

RE: Bait'n switch
By d3872 on 12/10/09, Rating: 0
RE: Bait'n switch
By Reclaimer77 on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Bait'n switch
By JediJeb on 12/11/2009 1:52:20 PM , Rating: 1
Buffalo were not hunted to near extinction because someone needed them to survive, nor did the Native Americans hunt them to near extinction. The Railroad is the reason the buffalo were hunted to near extinction. The Railroad companies paid hunters to rid the plains of the large herds so they would not cause problems with the trains running through there. Native Americans hunted buffalo in small numbers for food, clothing and housing materials, but they also reveired them. It is actually the opposite in that hunting the buffalo to extinction helped with the downfall of the Native Americans, because their source of food was being eliminated.

This reply also applies to the poster saying they were hunted to near extinction because of lack of regulation, when in fact it was the regulation of the government to help the railroads that promoted the killing off of the buffalo in mass numbers. It was conservationist like Teddy Roosevelt, who was an avid hunter himself, who started the movement to restore the buffalo herds.

RE: Bait'n switch
By bubba551 on 12/10/2009 4:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
The original 'Timex' (reported November 26, 1986) was a smallish decoy placed inconspicuously back from the road.

The rationale was that if you were not actively hunting, you would not even notice him.

The game wardens felt that placing a trophy buck out there would tempt the otherwise law-abiding and chose a small decoy to avoid accusation of entrapment.

RE: Bait'n switch
By JediJeb on 12/11/2009 2:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
I know back in the 80's here in Kentucky the started using the decoy deer to catch poachers. But due to legal reasons they did place them near roads and those that were shooting them were fined for shooting from the roadway not for hunting out of season, because shooting a fake deer was not illegal, but shooting from the roadway is. And as for these guys doing what they are doing, if the poacher simply says that he could tell the deer was a fake then he could probably walk away since shooting a fake deer is not illegal. Though he might be charged with destruction of private property. Of course he could also charge the guys with the deer for assault if they tackled him and held him for the game warder to arrive.

RE: Bait'n switch
By NullSubroutine on 12/10/09, Rating: 0
RE: Bait'n switch
By nineball9 on 12/10/2009 7:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources vastly disagrees with your assertion that "In Iowa there are more deer that people".

From the Iowa DNR web site, :

"Currently, the deer herd is estimated to be about 200,000 after the hunting season, and harvests have approached 100,000 in recent years."

A quick Google search reveals that the population of Iowa is about 3 million people.

Iowa History, as noted in the above DNR URL, shows humans to be very effective predators:
"By 1880 deer were rarely sighted in much of the state and in 1898 the deer season was legally closed. By this time deer had been virtually eliminated from all parts of the state"

RE: Bait'n switch
By Parhel on 12/10/2009 10:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
Most hunters I know care more about their environment than any robot controlling, camera toting conservationist. I don't care how barbaric or redneck people try to make it sound.

The guys behind this robotic deer are almost certainly hunters themselves. The article even says that his company specializes in selling decoys to hunters. Talk to any serious fisherman if you don't think poaching is a problem.

RE: Bait'n switch
By ClownPuncher on 12/10/2009 12:00:12 PM , Rating: 4
This is correct. I hunt and fish every year, and every year I see poachers pulling in more than their limit or bagging animals they don't have tags for. Methods like these robotic animals help keep people honest and safe, I'm not too sure about surprising said poachers though...

RE: Bait'n switch
By ctodd on 12/10/2009 1:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't saying that poaching was not a problem. Selling a product doesn't mean they hunt. All it does mean is that they don't mind taking money from a hunter. I believe in the laws and support the people tasked with enforcing the law. Period.

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