Outlawing Trail Cameras Coming to Your State Soon

A friend of mine dropped me an E-mail the other day regarding comments posted on a hunting forum. The comments … Continued

A friend of mine dropped me an E-mail the other day regarding comments posted on a hunting forum. The comments were trying to decipher the evolving language the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been editing regarding motion-tracking devices and/or camera devices. The wording has been dramatically altered for 2010 and reads as below.

“It is illegal for a person to possess or use in the field any electronic or camera device who’s purpose is to scout the location of game animals or relay the information on a game animal’s location or movement during an commission-adopted hunting season.”

If I’m not mistaken I’d have to believe you can’t use a trail camera in Montana during the hunting season. Did you know that? I wonder how many Montana residents know this law exists. Trail cameras are entrenched in the tradition of hunting and although I believe they do provide some of the best evidence a big buck may be living in an area, you still have to be in the field at the right time and place to put those clues to use. Plus, with the
variable patterns many deer exhibit trail camera photos are nothing more than confidence boosters and information on where to place treestands for a future rendezvous.

Is Montana preparing for the latest in electronic surveillance? New trail cameras and video devices are being marketed that send images via cell phone coverage the moment the image is captured. If you’re sitting at your work desk even these do little good, but what if you’re in the field and suddenly receive an image on your phone that the buck you’re targeting is currently 100 yards away coming down a trail?

This is where I feel state wildlife departments may draw the line. It’s one thing to know where a deer has been when you check a camera a week later. It’s entirely another advantage when you have photos popping up on your cell phone of bucks currently wandering nearby. It’s almost like having a friend radio you the location of a game animal and many states have outlawed this practice for years.

I’d like to hear your comments on this law and whether your state is also considering revising language on electronic surveillance. This trend could alter the way you use your trail cameras and whether they’ll be welcome in the woods come hunting season.

BW1177, Bowhunter placing trail camera, copyright Mark Kayser