Not too long ago, brothers Randy and Michael Gregg were out on a hunting expedition. It was the day after deer season had ended, yet they spied a handsome animal bedded down in the snow. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, they silently crept up on their quarry, raised their rifle, lined the deer up in the crosshairs ... and then took a picture through the scope with a mobile phone. That photo provided all the proof they needed that they had successfully stalked their prey, without bringing home an illegally-obtained carcass. It also inspired them to create the Kill Shot photo/video-recording rifle.

Currently still in the development phase, the Kill Shot would simply be a replica hunting rifle, that takes pictures instead of firing bullets. Users would sneak up on their quarry and get them in the crosshairs as per usual, but pulling the trigger would cause a digital camera - built into the scope - to grab a time- and date-stamped snapshot. That camera could also zoom, and record video.

Images would be saved to a memory card, that would mount in the same location as an ammunition magazine on a real rifle. A USB port would allow users to download their photos or footage onto a computer, where they could be shared with other no-kill hunters.

The Gregg brothers, along with their other brother, Daniel, see several possible applications for the Kill Shot. For starters, it could simply be used by people who like the idea of tracking down wild animals in nature, but who don't want to kill them - the Greggs aren't stuck on the name "Kill Shot," by the way.

It could also be used as a means of training novice hunters, without the dangers of using live ammunition. Additionally, they suggest that it could be used by regular hunters for "hunting" animals outside of season - although this could lead to some interesting run-ins with game wardens. As a side note, Randy himself works as a park ranger in Pennsylvania.

The three brothers are currently raising funds for prototype and commercial development of the Kill Shot (or whatever it'll be called) on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$150 will get you one, should they ever see production.

While some people might find the idea of a combination camera and rifle kind of ... well, silly, it is not unprecedented. The 1980s TV series Max Headroom depicted mercenary news videographers wielding RR-7 Gun Cameras, while Russian camera company KMZ used to produce a product known as the Photosniper - a very rifle-like stock and trigger, which an SLR body and lens could be mounted onto.

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