Trail Camera photo

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Need a used trail camera, cheap? Montana might be the place to start your search. In a move that caught a whole bunch of people–including me–by surprise, the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has banned trail cameras during any open hunting season.
This is this new law, found on page 10 of the FWP regulations: __

“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 any Commission adopted hunting season.”

There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years about the rapid expansion of technology in hunting. I understand the concern. I’m also emphatic that hunting must remain–in both perception and reality–a fair-chase endeavor. But this ban strikes me as a step too far.

I’ve been using trail cameras for the last five years. They are an enjoyable hobby, and in a couple of instances, have revealed the presence of a buck that I’d very much like to kill. But they have never given me an unfair edge in harvesting that buck. In fact, cameras usually have just the opposite effect; they take a snapshot of a buck that I have never seen and never will….Pointing out (as if I need a reminder) that the advantage is clearly in favor of the deer!

Granted, with every improvement in technology there is the potential for abuse. “Real-time” cameras, which immediately send a photo to your cell phone or laptop, could be used by a hunter to adopt or alter a strategy that would result in killing game. But there’s something important to remember, even about these ultra high-tech devices; they do not force a hunter to break the law. The vast majority of people can enjoy such a camera and not be tempted to use it to kill game.

So at this point, I feel badly for trail-cam users in Montana. Trail cameras are a popular and enjoyable hobby for many whitetail nuts… And unless they limit their use to off-season, Montana hunters just got robbed of a whole lot of fun. Your thoughts?