Proposed Legislation Would Make Trail Cameras Illegal

Trail cameras over the last decade have been integrated into the hunter’s toolbox, but legislation has been proposed in Arizona that would make them illegal to use during hunting season and the time leading up to it.

Arizona House Bill 2130 would ban the use of trail cameras as follows:

  • A person may not place or use a traditional trail camera from July 31 through December 31.
  • If the trail camera is capable of wireless transmission of images, a person may not place or use it from June 30 through December 31.

It seems that the reasoning behind the ban may be two-fold.

First, many cameras are stationed around water holes and the constant checking of cameras may interfere with animal movement during the hot summer months.

Second, there are some that feel that trail cameras give the hunter an unfair advantage when it comes to pursuing wild game.

The Quality Deer management association addressed the bill in a letter and stands opposed to the legislation becoming law. They state in their letter:

Over the last 30 years, probably no other piece of technology has changed the way we deer hunt more than the trail camera. Deer hunters love their trail cameras, and advancing technology has resulted in models that are smaller, higher in resolution, with longer battery life than ever before. This technology has the potential to cross ethical boundaries, so we conducted a national survey and asked every state’s deer project leader if non-texting or text-capable trail cameras were legal to use during the hunting season. Forty-one of 42 states (98 percent) that responded to our survey allow non-texting trail cameras, and 39 of 42 (93 percent) allow texting cameras.

Some hunters welcome these forms of technology and embrace any gadget that increases their odds of success, while others feel it is ruining the experience and taking away from the skills that hunters once relied on to be successful. At QDMA, we support pursuits that are ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful, and allow harvest of white-tailed deer in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage. We do not feel trail cameras cross the ethical line, and therefore oppose House Bill 2130. Thank you for your time and for your commitment to Arizona’s natural resources.

QDMA

The ethics behind the trail camera has been debated by sportsmen for the last decade and it has come down to a matter of choice. Some choose to use them others do not, and that is where the decision should lie with the individual hunter and how he wishes to conduct his hunt.

In the past decade, I have not seen any evidence that shows that the use of trail cameras are detrimental or have a negative effect on animal populations. Nor have I seen any that the use of trail cameras paints hunting in a bad light.

In my personal opinion, the only reason we should consider banning a method of take or a certain piece of equipment is if it negatively affects game populations or habitat or if it paints hunting in an undue negative light.

In my book Why We Hunt: The Five Motivations of the Modern Hunter, I write a lot about why hunters choose different tactics and different equipment and that even in spite of our differences we should remain united to help preserve the future of hunting.