Taking part in this year’s First LEGO League Challenge, middle school classmates Riley Scherer, Tucker Adkins and Hunter Nixdorf set out to design a specialized aerial vessel that would aid game wardens in catching poachers.

Meeting the theme of this year’s competition, aptly named “animal allies”, the finished product turned out to be an impressive drone equipped with a remote-operated night-vision camera, perfect for sniffing out poachers operating under the guise of night.

The three young men had the expertise of local Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Matt Ladd, who allowed the three innovators ample time within the evidence room, educating them on the world of poaching.

“I anticipate, especially for spotlight patrol with a heat-sensing camera, it could be real beneficial,” Ladd told the Billings Gazette. “They’re already using them in other countries with military support, like Kenya.”

The vessel was so impressive that Ladd believes the prototype could be ready for immediate use by game wardens, allowing wardens access to locations they might not otherwise be able to reach.

The tinkering continues as students prepare to test drive their vessel on January 14th before heading down to Bozeman for the statewide finals on January 28th.

Best of luck, gentlemen.