On December 4th, 2020 Arizona Game and Fish commission voted unanimously in a 5-0 vote to introduce an outright ban on all trail cameras for hunters. This proposed ruling is extreme, opposed by many hunters, would have a severe economic impact and was hastily rushed through the process which raises concerns of bias.
1.) Trail cameras are the marketing department of hunting, the outdoors and conservation. Many new hunters are born off of the ability to see animals they may not have the time, knowledge of location(where to start) or ability to see. We get to experience and enjoy natural animal behavior in their home environment, driving our passion for the land.
2.) Men, women & children enjoy physical activity in the outdoors by placing trail cameras in strategic locations to capture these amazing events. This drives physical well being and health for all involved.
3.) Gas, Food, Lodging (out of state hunters), vehicle maintenance, etc is garnered by local businesses due to in-state and out of state hunters spending their time and money to put boots on the ground and understand their pursuit.
4.) The use of a trail camera's IN NO WAY guarantee success during a hunt and does not have any direct correlation to "quality or trophy" related success. If anything, we often hold out for something we will most likely never see again. Trail cameras do not change the fair chase ethos that we as sportsman support. This statement is supported by organizations like The Pope and Young Club. "The Pope and Young Club, historically, has not viewed the use of trail cameras as a violation of the Rules of Fair Chase."
5.) Trail Cameras IN NO WAY change the habits or patterns of animals. The hunting community has years of photos to prove this. These cameras are non intrusive, passive devices that take nothing more than a picture or short video clip. These cameras do not affect the hunting experience of others or their success. Trail cameras are not just being used by hunters. There are no restrictions on camping, target shooting or other public land activities during hunting seasons. Trail cameras should not be any different.
6.) Arizona Game and Fish Department solely owes the gratitude for the discovery of jaguars in Arizona to Trail Cameras. If it were not for these unobtrusive cameras placed in the southern mountains of Arizona, the discovery and information on these elusive beautiful creatures would not have been captured and turned in for research purposes to the Game & Fish Department. On this specific event alone, the current commission sends a message of ignorance and ungratefulness to the utilization of these amazing tools, with no regard for our help and commitment to them in the past on information collection and provision us hunters have provided to biologists within the department.
7.) If our game and fish department wanted to be proactive and operate on a positive note, I propose they research and explore the actions needed to add trail cameras to the Pittman Robertson Act of 1937. This would vastly generate funds for all wildlife departments across the states, wherever trail cameras are sold locally.