AZ Trail Camera Ban

In my years as a game manager, and years as hunter I’ve have not noted any negative impact of the use of trail cameras on game. What we have here is a people problem ……. Fellow hunters arguing over whether or not trail cameras should be used for the take of animals here in AZ. Oversimplified, Those pushing for the ban are stating that trail cameras put pressure on the deer and elk herds but really what their main issue is outfitters specifically are abusing the privilege of using them. Many citing a story of some altercation where they were sitting on a water hole and a guide came in to check the camera while they were hunting.

Those opposing the ban cite that using trail cameras allow them to only target the higher age class bucks, allow them to take inventory and only harvest a set amount of deer in an area. Outfitters are opposed because now they no longer have a tool to help sell hunts this can have a negative impact on our economy and for the auction tag sales which generate a large amount funds for the AZGFD

But those of us stuck in the middle are the ones who are really suffering. Like I said this is a people problem that can be solved by being courteous and respecting one another out in the field but since we are our own worst enemy . There are solutions …… Again this is over simplified but I feel that by placing a season on from Aug 10th – Nov 27th  on all trail cameras directly on or trails leading to (250 yds away or more)  water sources only. This would solve the problem. AZGFD can still allow trail cameras everywhere else like pinch points, travel corridors, saddles etc. The main problem we are having is in the high profile hunting areas 13a&b, 9 etc. and the main issue is that guys are checking cameras without regard for fellow hunters who may be sitting that water. However the guys running cameras in the south desert units are not having these issues and the guys running cameras off water sources are not having these issues. An all out ban would punish the whole state and not these isolated areas. Some would argue that enforcement is an issue, banning trail cameras still requires many of the same enforcement issues that having a season presents. We can’t just look at the ban as an easy fix all because it still comes with its difficulties. But most importantly, by banning trail cameras you are handing a win to anti-hunting groups. They have a very specific strategy and that is to chip away at your hunting rights bit by bit.. We need to stop being our own worst enemy and learn to work together and work through our issues and become a unified group so we can continue to enjoy hunting for generations to come.

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Mule deer At Water hole