Trail Cameras On Public Land: Where Do You Stand?

A Utah Bill aims to halt trail camera use on public lands. Is this just the tip of the iceberg of a larger public land use issue?

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

A Utah Bill aims to halt trail camera use on public lands. Is this just the tip of the iceberg of a larger public land use issue?

Maybe you’ve been running trail cameras on public hunting lands for years. Maybe you’ve kept your trail camera surveillance to private tracts only, and maybe you’d rather avoid the technology altogether. Regardless, where do you stand on the issue of their use on public tracts? Your opinion, and voice, could impact the future use of this technology sooner rather than later.

With trail camera technology growing by leaps and bounds yearly for the past several (and let’s be honest, on into the forseeable future), the use of this technology on public lands will likely continue to be an issue. But for many supporters, this question being considered right now by legislators in the state of Utah looms urgently.SpyPointLINK-S-DARK 900At issue, is fast-moving House Bill (HB) 295 that was introduced Feb. 2 in Utah by State Rep. Casey Snider (R-District 5), and will reportedly be voted on in the state tomorrow, (Friday, Feb. 12). HB 295 reportedly features two areas that big game hunters will be most interested in; one is that it prohibits the use of trails cameras at certain times and with certain exceptions, and two is that it prohibits big game baiting.

According to the bill, it would be unlawful for a person to place, maintain, or use a trail camera or similar device at any time on public land during the period beginning August 1 and ending December 31 of each year, if the trail camera or similar device wirelessly transmits or is capable of wirelessly transmitting images, videos, or location data of wildlife; or at any time, if the placement, maintenance, or use of the trail camera or similar device prevents wildlife from accessing, or alters the manner in which wildlife accesses, a spring, water source, or artificial basin that collects water or is designed and constructed to collect water.TactacamReveal 900How critical is the Feb. 12 Utah vote for public-land trail camera users? Of course the passage of the bill in Utah would mean the beginning of the end to their use on public land in the state, but reportedly, the adoption of such a bill would also bring into question many far-reaching public land use issues, not to mention paving the way for similar bills in many other states. How important is the Utah decision from where you sit?

What Can Utah Hunters Do? Reportedly, there are strong arguments on both sides of HB 295, but for those who oppose its intent and would like to prevent it from becoming law, the answer is act, and fast. Utah hunters should contact their State Reps and ask them to vote NO on H.B. 295.

Here’s a list of contacts who need to hear your opinion asap!

Rep. Casey Snider (Bill Sponsor) Phone: 435-890-3383; [email protected]

Also, here are the members of Utah Wildlife Board:

Byron Bateman (Chair); [email protected]

Kevin Albrecht (Vice Chair); kevin.albrech[email protected]

Rory Reynolds; [email protected]

Staci Coons; [email protected]

Karl Hirst; [email protected]

Donnie Hunter; [email protected]

Wade Heaton; [email protected]

Randy Dearth; [email protected]

Bret Selman; [email protected]




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