Cellular trail cameras have become popular over the last couple of years. These cameras allow hunters to get pictures from their hunting grounds without walking into the woods.
Some such as myself, use cellular cameras to get pictures once a day after dark. These photos help me to check my cameras without disturbing my favorite hunting spots.
Recently the new cellular trail cams will send real-time pictures straight to someone’s phone. These pictures will let you know exactly where a deer is and what direction it is heading. This strategy has many people asking if the tactic is ‘fair chase.’
While drones have been made illegal to hunt with, there have been no new laws regarding cellular trail cams. As of right now, these cameras are %100 legal to use; however, Pope and Young is now asking, are they ‘fair chase?’
Pope and Young have come out with a statement in conjunction with the Boone and Crocket club on their stance as to the ethics of cellular trail cams. This new stance could make your next trophy buck disqualified for the record books.
The Pope and Young Club, historically, has not viewed the use of trail cameras as a violation of the Rules of Fair Chase. With the invention of wireless trail cameras and other devices that can send real-time data to a hunter, all hunters need to consider how the use of these devices may affect fair-chase. While the use of a wireless trail camera is not automatically a violation of the Rules of Fair-Chase, using this technology to deliver real-time location data of the animal being hunted, would be a violation of the Rules of Fair Chase #7.
“After numerous phone calls and emails asking for clarification on the use of cellular trail cameras and other transmitting technology,” said Roy Grace, Records Chair for the Pope and Young Club. “The Pope and Young Records Committee, with assistance from the Boone and Crockett Records Committee, jointly created a policy that should provide hunters with a greater understanding of how this technology can be used in a manner that still provides Fair-Chase.”
For clarification, receiving a wireless image (photo, video, GPS coordinate, etc.), which elicits an immediate (real-time) response, guiding the hunter to the animal would be considered a violation of the Rules of Fair-Chase. This would prohibit that animal from being eligible for entry into the Pope and Young Club’s Records Program. Fair-Chase is defined as the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit of free-ranging wild game animals that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal.