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Utah Outlaws All Trail Cameras

The time has come in the state of Utah. Yesterday, January 4th, the Utah Wildlife Board met and were set to vote on whether or not trail cams should be outlawed on public land. Due to a split vote of the board, the chairman cast the deciding vote to ban all trail cameras for the use of hunting on public and private land from July 31st to December 31st beginning in 2022. The provision stated that private landowners can still use trail cams to monitor their property but they can’t use it for the intention of hunting. This vote follows suit with other states out West banning trail cameras during hunting season, namely Arizona and Nevada. This vote came after a survey was sent out to more than 9,000 license holders to see what they thought; 57% never used a trail camera and around half thought that they should be illegal. Around two thirds of the respondents thought that wireless transmitting trail cameras should be illegal. 

This ruling also makes it illegal for outfits to sell trail camera photos with date and locations for animals to the highest bidder. This issue has popped up the past couple of years where we have been seeing people capturing trail camera images and selling the coordinates to hunters. The public survey showed strong support for that to be illegal. 

Thermal imaging devices were also made illegal during hunting season and they cannot be used two days before hunting season opens and two days after hunting season closes. You can’t use thermal imaging devices to recover an animal you shot either. 

 

We are seeing a turning of the tide in the western states regarding technology usage for hunting. Is this a slippery slope or is it a move in the right direction? 

About Dan Pickar

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36 comments

  1. Slippery – slippery slope. What’s next? High power rifles, magnifying scopes, Ravin Style bows, side by sides, copper bullets, Google Earth, Hunt On-X, Epic outdoors, range finding devices, Hunting fool and on and on and on. Very dangerous presidance, especially on private land

    • You forgot Eastman’s Hunting Journal and their MRS issues.

      • Not on purpose. There are hundreds, if not thousands of “Technology” items that could be mentioned. For the Game and Fish to do this just creates an open door for more regulation that simply cannot be enforced or warranted. Some of the supporters of this issue had better be careful what they ask for, “cause there will be more and more coming down the pike” and I guarantee some of the regulations will affect every facet of every ones hunting or enjoying the outdoors.

    • You sound a bit alarmist! Surprised you didn’t add that we would have to go back to throwing rocks. Is hunting difficult? Yes. Should it be? Yes. How about putting the “hunt” back into hunting? You can get a sure thing at a game ranch. I am also against crossbows, scopes on muzzleloaders and muzzies capable of using smokeless, high power powders (those seasons were originally designed to be “primitive”). There is usually a group trying to ‘game’ the system for an advantage. For me, the above things are NOT part of “fair chase”.

      • Why are you against crossbows but not muzzleloaders or rifles? I have no problem with crossbows out of the archery season. Colorado doesn’t even allow them in the muzzleloader season, which SHOULD NOT be in the middle of archery. But if you’re going to allow muzzleloaders in the archery season, why not crossbows during the muzzleloader season? BTW, I don’t own a crossbow and have never shot one. I have been for limiting technology in hunting for years.

    • I personally think that long-range rifle “hunting” is unethical. I think that scopes or bow sights that range the animal and move the crosshairs to your aiming point should not be allowed for hunting. Should we allow “heat seeking” bullets too? There has to be a limit on technology for hunting. Things that make us comfortable, like clothes, don’t fit in the same category to me. OnX helps keep us out of trouble by showing landowner boundaries so I have no problem with it. GPS is a safety device for me. Trail cameras help you locate game when you’re not there and in multiple locations, which I think is the wrong application of technology for hunting. It’s not the same as using optics.

  2. Now I cannot use my Sig Kilo rifle scope either in some States. It was so cool to buy and use all the Technology and now it’s being curtailed! Hunters need all the advantages these days and we need more technology to make it more fun and reduce the challenge.

    When we they realize Hunting from your living room is possible and you never have to step foot into the outdoors ! Video up and down link real time and then use a harmless gps tracking dart remotely fired – then we could do very selective harvest. Maybe some day we can but not with crazy ideas of banning technology! We need more Tech, data, tools, gear that’s what makes it enjoyable when ur the guy in the field with the advantages!

    • The challenge can be reduced easily. Go to any number of high fence ranches and pay the fee, go out with your “guide” and pick the animal. For all the hunting friends I know, the fun comes from the challenge. Use your hunting skills, go one on one with the animal and be successful. Also being out in God’s creation is so rewarding. I detest sitting at home and using technology to kill something.

  3. Colorado Bugles

    Probably a good thing, just look at Colorado, they have a lot of the tech banned and have some of the most restrictive hunting laws of western states, yet the hunting in Colorado is great and gotten better. High tech increases success rates which decreases animal populations, making hunting more difficult year and less enjoyable every year. There obviously is a line to be drawn, but this is a long way off from any line that needs to be drawn.

    • What “tech” has Colorado banned? They don’t allow electronics on a bow or an arrow, except for recording cameras and lighted knocks which are a recent addition. They don’t allow scopes on muzzleloaders, which is a good thing but IMO they should put all guns in the same season. They allow trail cams. They now allow crossbows for handicapped bowhunters which CBA fought against for decades. And you think hunting has gotten better? As a 65 year resident of the state I respectfully disagree.

  4. Michael Livingston

    This law is a win for fair chase! The joy of hunting evolves around matching man vs beast, not man (+ high tech) vs beast. Our senses vs their senses.

  5. Totally agree with the Utah ban, hope all states follow! Using trail cameras is like knowing what’s under the Christmas tree before Christmas day. Earn your animal by spending time in the field not the office computer.

    • You obviously don’t use them. They are good for seeing what animals are in the area including predators. Just because they are on cam doesn’t mean they will be shot or even close to it.

  6. I’m in favor of the ban. I was hearing stories of guys putting up 100 trail cameras with pictures sent to their cell phones, it’s not hard to get on a lion track when you have a picture from the day before. You’ve seen water holes getting covered with cameras, it was getting out of control. Besides I really don’t like the idea of going hunting on public land and getting my picture sent to people sitting at home on their computer… I like the ban

  7. It’s a good thing. Let’s incorporate some hunting skills instead of technology.

  8. On public land I totally agree. However, on private land, it is yet another government over reach. If a property owner wished to put out camera on their land it is no one else’s business !!!

    • Good idea on public land. Terrible Government overreach on private land, IMO.

      • The wildlife is not yours.. even on private land the wildlife belongs to the public so it’s not an overreach if it’s to ensure fair chase for all hunting no matter where it is.

  9. dwight brunsvold

    I agree with the ban, It is getting out of control with the technology. Dwight B.

    • So what technology do you want to give up next? onX, GPS, GoHunt, Eastmans, Google Maps, rangefinder with ABS software, dialable scopes, ranging binoculars, spotting scope, Gore Tex, Sitka camo, ammo optimized for long range shooting, cell phones, four wheelers and side by sides, camping trailers, 4×4 trucks, luxury horse trailers, modern muzzleloaders, improved black powder, sabots, dialable bow sights, fiber optic sights, metal broadheads, expandable broadheads, carbon fiber arrows, internet for big game applications?

      I guess we’re down to riding horses from the pasture in buckskins, and hunting with homemade long bows.

  10. Chase Montgomery, Ms

    Thanks to the people with good hunting values to ban this ! Lets stop live scoping fish while we are at it! We have to many advantages over the game now! It’s about being a good woodsman and sportsman. I think it’s gotten so commercialized and the need to measure up has caused (some) people to do anything for that picture! We can all agree to disagree but the main thing is , let’s all stick together!

  11. I wonder if the folks who think it is wrong to use “high tech” stuff to hunt with, think it is bad to load up in their new pickups with heated seats, automatic cruise control, ABS braking. front and rear locking differentials and on and on. Or when they pick up their rifle that was designed for very long range with engineered bullets and powder, or when they use their GPS to get within several feet of public/private land, or their range finding binoculars, or the current technology driven clothing and footwear that allows one to stay warm in conditions that only a few years ago would have been considered as life threating. All this sounds “High Tech” to me. The game and fish and any other Govt. organization will NEVER be able to legislate out the advances that will come down the pike in the future as far as technology. These organizations should be spending their time and the publics money on trying to enhance hunting opportunities though land access and habitat improvement.

    • Exactly, none of the people on this band wagon of “banning too much technology” (especially the chubby ones who ride around all day in side by sides to hunt) should be accused of thinking this through.

  12. Some of us don’t buy meat from the grocery store. I personally hunt for food and I will use whatever helps me feed my family. As for thermal imaging devices I should be able to use those to track the animal after I have shot it. I don’t want to waste the meat or have killed an animal for nothing. On private land those animals on my land are my animals, when they are on public land they belong to the public and when they are on your land they are your animals. There are those that need to feed their families and do not have time to trudge threw the woods looking for tracks and other telltale signs. I think they should limit people to one trail cam per person on public land.

    • Animals belong to the state not the private landowner!!

    • Wildlife in this country have never been, and hopefully never will be the property of landowners. The wildlife is public owned, and publicly managed. This is the foundation of our wildlife model, and it is the reason we have some of the best hunting in the world.

  13. It is a shame, The cameras only give you an incentive to hunt a little harder. they don’t control the animal’s movement. I have been amazed at the number of buck’s that show up during rut and then are not seen again. I have enjoyed having the pictures sent to my Cell Phone so I can review them without entering my hunting area to retrieve the pictures. I just use them as part of my regular scouting activities and see nothing wrong or immoral about trying to figure out what is on your hunting area. I am in the stand when I can regardless of what is on my camera. The only way to truly know what is around is to spend time on your stand.

  14. Great. This puts it back to hunting instead of killing.

  15. Even as a guy who enjoys running a few cameras as a hobby and recreation I am happy to see the banning of cameras during hunting seasons. The guides and outfitters who ran dozens and even hundreds of cameras have nobody to blame but themselves. Their fascination with fortune and fame did them in.

  16. I agree with this ban. We had waterholes here in Arizona with 36 Cameras around them. Get off the couch and get behind some glass. I’ve never used one but want to buy a couple to monitor my camp as there are more and more thieves out there. Hopefully they end special Muzzleloader Seasons next unless they ban optics on them. Its supposed to be a Primitive Weapons Hunt.

  17. A house divided against itself cannot stand. When hunters start fighting hunters, we are on the path to losing our heritage. Hunters that characterize other hunters as “lazy” or somehow need to work as hard as they think they work are not the “true” elders of the church of hunting, ethical or vanguards of the our sport they think they are. They are self-absorbed exclusionists and hypocritical snobs.

  18. Well why not ban visual fish finders too. Same reasoning ,takes the fun out of hunting for fish when you can see the fish and watch them bite your lure. Does this cause fish populations to decrease? I feel ele ctronics are here to stay. How do you really regulate if someone is using “illegal” electronics? Are deer populations really declining in these states because of the use of technology? Will hunters have to answer the question , did you use illegal methods ,as you check in your wild game? Adds alot more responsibility to a understaffed state Wildlife Agency. Of course wildlife officers could place their own phone linked cameras and watch you hunt from there phones to. How would you feel about that?

    • Well said. The Game and Fish Departments should be managing the wildlife and not the public. There is no data, anywhere, that shows trail cameras are affecting the number or quality of wildlife. The G&F Departments should be spending their time and resources in creating better habitat and access for the public instead of trying to ban technology that they will never be able to get ahead of the curve. Trail Cameras just happen to be the “Whipping Boy” for further restrictions on technology that is sure to follow.

  19. I’m not against using trail cameras but they can surely be abused. They’ve gotten so cheap that guys can buy a dozen of them and put them all over the mountains. I’ve hunted in NM and have found trail cameras at water holes I wanted to hunt….but I felt like I shouldn’t. I guess I agree that they should not be allowed DURING the hunting season. I also feel that wireless ones just make hunters even lazier. As far as thermal imaging, I would love to be able to use thermal imaging for game recovery. But I understand that can easily be abused too. I feel like anything that allows us to recover game should be considered, such as lighted knocks on arrows that do nothing to help you make a shot but can help you find an arrow and assess the lethality of your shot. When AZ outlawed them I felt that it was a matter of time until other states did so. It won’t hurt my feelings if I can’t use trail cameras if I ever draw a tag in Utah.

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