A small drone like ones used by the Army in Afghanistan was recently used to scout for elk in the Skagit River valley near Hamilton.
The drone went looking for animals that had radio collars but couldn't be seen easily from the ground in the wooded area.
The Skagit Valley Herald reports the three-day survey was conducted by the U. S. Geological Survey's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office and the Bureau of Land Management.
Operator Mark Bauer says the 4-pound, battery-powered drones were previously used by the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The state Fish and Wildlife Department has been working with tribes on restoring the elk herd, but kept its distance from the drone survey because Gov. Jay Inslee recently vetoed a state drone bill.