Home / Regulations / Utah to Outlaw Baiting and Trail cams on Public Land – A look at House Bill 295

Utah to Outlaw Baiting and Trail cams on Public Land – A look at House Bill 295

House Bill 295 introduced by Representative Casey Snider has been a controversial one. It started out as a conservation piece for some wetland areas regarding laws, management, and creating waterfowl management areas. Now, banning baiting and trail cam use on public land from August 1 through December 31st is also attached to this bill. This has sparked a lot of controversy in the Utah hunting community with a bunch of mixed opinions from all types of hunters. 

Ok, so let’s talk about trail cameras. This bill instructs that the wildlife board shall make rules governing the use of trail cameras. This falls under the amended section of the use of a computer or other device to remotely hunt wildlife. Basically, what they propose is to make a trail camera season from Jan 1 to July 31 on public land so there are no cameras in the field during hunting season and slightly beforehand. These restrictions will not affect private land. Some folks have said that trail cameras don’t really help the aid of harvesting a big game animal because there’s so much more to the hunt than a trail camera photo. Others have said they are tired of seeing trail cameras all over public land and when they do see the cameras, they feel like they are encroaching on someone else’s hunting area. There has been a lot of support to ban trail cameras that send real time photos via cell phone signal and some states have already made these illegal, such as Wyoming. 

The baiting portion of this bill is aimed at an all out ban. This bill considers any food or nutrient substances that will manipulate the behavior of wildlife bait. Bait does not include chemicals used as an attractant or masking scent. Salt, mineral blocks or other commonly used livestock substances for normal agricultural purposes are also not considered bait. Neither are standing crops or vegetation that has been planted. In short, this bill directly prohibits making an apple or corn pile or licks that are made to attract big game specifically. The majority of baiting is not legal out West and Utah is basically the last place you are able to do it and I think we can agree that hunting over a corn pile does increase success rates.  

Some things I look at is that maybe some people think harvest success rates are too high in Utah? Banning baiting could potentially save some big game for the next year and make hunting even that much better. Looking at three year average success rates for limited entry deer and elk on Eastmans’ TagHub I see that they are some of the highest in the West. 

The general consensus for writing this bill is that baiting and use of trail cams during hunting season is not fair chase and makes hunting too easy.  SFW has come out and supported this bill while the Mule Deer Foundation opposes it. What I don’t like about this bill is that politicians are wanting to make the rules for the hunters of Utah. How about everyone that holds a Utah hunting license in their pocket gets to vote on these issues? More power to the people! What say you?

About Dan Pickar

Dan Pickar

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16 comments

  1. I am in favor because trailcams create a hunter conflict issue on public land. People use them to stake a claim on a spot and the worst of the worst aggressively and dangerously enforce their squatter’s rights on their chosen waterhole. Pack it in, pack it out; first come, first served on public land.

  2. I have never supported the baiting of big game unless it is for subsistence/survival hunting. Lurking near a corn pile may increase success, but where is the skill and honor in that kind of kill?

  3. Baiting is simply not sportsmanlike. Quite the opposite in fact. And I have been a hunter for 40+ years.

  4. I hope this doesn’t include bear hunting.

  5. Being from Montana, we can neither bait nor use trail cams (during hunting season). I would be opposed to baiting & trail cams – just think, we might actually have to hunt! In the last 30-50 years many hunters have lost the necessary skills to actually hunt without the need to be dependent on technology. I wish someone with a reputable reputation (Like Eastmans) would do a serious discussion on ‘Fair Chase Ethics in the 21st century.’ Just because we have and uses technology does not mean it is fair chase. Shooting an animal at extreme or ultra long range is not fair chase. When you are watching a video and hear the hunter say they just took a 484 yard shot and then say, “he didn’t even know we were here” makes me want to scream! Sorry, I digress!

  6. Pouring corn out vs planting it, not harvesting it and cutting it during season is the same. That goes for any other crop planted and not harvested and then hunted over. Just because you feed wildlife with feeders doesn’t mean your shooting every thing coming to the feed. And killing a mature buck over feed is not as easy as people think. Probably easier in a cut corn field.

  7. Since we are all talking about what helps the survival of wild game that put the odds a little more in their favor. My opinion about shooting over a water hole is about the same as shooting from a rolled down window of a pickup. Where is the challenge.

  8. Absolutely power to the people let voters decide

  9. IF you let voters decide you will loose most of the time. There are more non hunters than hunters in just about every state. Ballot box wildlife management is totally and utterly stupid and you WILL loose every time! Look at Oregon, Colorado, Komifornia, they all put wildlive management on the ballot box and hunter LOST every time! Careful what you wish for.

    • Definitely don’t want it left up to voters in the general elections. That is asinine as you described which is why I suggested that anyone who purchases a hunting license can vote. Make it an election held by the DWR.

  10. The general public is poison to the hunting fraternity. If sportsmen (only) can vote/comment, the results would be most fair. At some point/points we need to sacrifice “easy” for more “traditional”. As technology increases, I feel we need to limit our technological advances. “It aint supposed to be easy.”

  11. baiting for deer and elk is crazy…. we cant do it in wyoming and i applaud that.. and anyone wanting to can look at fair chase…is it when you bait..hell no…stop the madness and get on board with states that dont allow baiting…..RL

  12. The worst part of the bill is banning cameras. First, it is public land. You can’t stake your name on a place just cause you put a camera up. Using cameras is like scouting. You still have to put in the work. A couple years ago we saw a couple hundred elk on camera. Two weeks later they were gone. So how did the camera help? The answer is not at all. Do you still need to guess the right place at the right time

  13. I agree with the use of cameras that are not cell capable. scouting from your home using google earth and maps is fine. Seeing pictures of animals in an area from home is for lazy hunters who don’t get out and scout. The use of remote view cameras can serve to put you in an area that has the trophy class animal you are wanting mounted on your wall. often that picture is then shipped off to your best hunting buddy. Then it slips out and more people know about it and that area begins to fill up on opening day. I do understand, why there used and often there not a problem but I feel its just taking away from the feeling of self accomplishment a hunter gets when he puts in the time to scout the old way.
    Politicians do not know what the hunting public needs and have little skill as biologists. That is not exceptionable to me. The hunting public should have the vote.
    Hunting needs to be a challenge, lets go light with technology and skip bating deer and elk.

  14. Hey Dan who is the DWR?

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