Modern trail cameras do far more good than bad in the world of deer hunting.
Check trail cameras news headlines from the past couple years and quickly notice certain states are looking upon trail cameras in a negative light. Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, and Utah recently banned cameras on public lands. Now, even Kentucky is considering a ban on trail cameras for public-land hunting. These are bans on SD and cellular cameras alike.
The reasoning most stated is increased pressure. Out West, where water is limited, a high percentage of hunters post cameras over these limited water sources. That isn’t an issue in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, or even most parts of the West, though. In fact, one could argue that hunters using trail cameras are spending less time walking hunting lands since their cams are doing much of the scouting for them. Essentially, that’s less pressure, and not more, applied to public lands.
Additionally, other states are trying to classify cellular trail cameras as unethical tools. In some capacities, so are certain organizations, such as the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett clubs. Obviously, some states and entities are attempting to even demonize trail cameras. They’re trying to rule against trail cameras, especially regarding public lands and record entries.
Of course, the vast majority of trail camera hate is all being done on an unfounded and false basis. Trail cameras aren’t unethical. They aren’t sure-fire methods to fill deer tags, either. They help a hunter pattern deer, but they do not guarantee success.
Trail cameras are tools used for good far more than bad.
Trail cameras are good for pinpointing where a buck’s core area is located.
Trail cameras aren’t evil. There are many things that trail cameras accomplish for good. They do far more good than bad in the world of deer hunting. Some of this good includes:
Decreasing Pressure (Sometimes): Done correctly, a hunter can actually decrease their human intrusion with the use of trail cameras. This allows them to scout a property on foot once, and then deploy a set of SD and cellular cameras to do the remainder of the scouting. That’s lower impact than continual in-the-field scouting or unnecessary observation hunts.
Monitoring Herd Health: Trail cameras are excellent tools for gauging and monitoring herd health. These can be used to determine deer densities, disease presence, nutritional health, and more. It also helps make appropriate buck and doe harvest decisions.
Taking Herd Inventory: Deer herd inventories weren’t nearly as possible prior to trail cameras. Again, this is an incredible way to keep an eye on the deer herd, which improves the overall well-being of the species — not take away from it.
Analyzing Hunting Land: The most efficient way to analyze, learn, and maintain proper knowledge of a tract of hunting land is the use of trail cameras. It isn’t the only option, mind you, but it is the best route.
Learning Buck Behavior: Trail cameras are ideal for learning general buck behavior. Posting trail cameras around a buck’s core area is great for learning a unique buck’s habits and tendencies, too. It can provide insight into how to target a specific deer.
Use trail cams to learn about general and unique buck behavior.
Patterning Specific Bucks: Those who plan to go after a specific target buck should use trail cameras to pinpoint where they are bedding, feeding, and traveling between the two. Knowing these lines of movement helps determine blind and stand locations.
Managing Hunting Pressure: Hunting pressure can put stress on a deer herd. Using trail cameras helps a hunter to gauge how that hunting pressure is impacting the deer herd. Then, hunters can increase, maintain, or decrease their time in the field accordingly.
All in all, states continue to weigh the public land trail camera ban. If you’re a trail camera enthusiast, and your state is debating the issue, speak out in favor of trail cameras. Share all of the good they do, and how they elevate deer and deer hunting far more than they detract from it. Trail cameras aren’t evil.
Article by Josh Honeycutt
Photos by Honeycutt Creative