Fish and Wildlife Dept. using ‘Bambi-bots’ to police poachers

BURLINGTON, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is going high-tech in the fight against poachers.

It's using what we're affectionately calling "Bambi-bots" to catch the criminals.

The department's animatronic arsenal includes deer droids, bionic bears, engineered elk and other wildlife wizardry.

The deer are covered in a real pelt and officers hiding in the bushes remotely control them.

The mechanical animals can bend down, move their legs and even wag their tails.

Officials said the furry fakes have already caught quite a few poachers in what experts say is a great way to ensure the stability of wildlife populations.

During the season, hunting is allowed from about 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., depending on the month, according to KCPQ.

However, wildlife officials told KCPQ many poachers will go out after dark and use the spotlights on their cars to temporarily blind the deer, making them slow to react.

This is a poaching technique known as spotlighting; it's effective but illegal.

It's also easy to spot, officials told KCPQ.

Fish and wildlife officers put the robot deer on the roadside, wag its tail and wait for poachers.