Contributors to this thread:
Use of Game Cameras
To start this is not a bash on game cameras. I think they are a useful tool. However, I've run into an issue with their use. Up to this time if I ran up on a game camera in an area I was thinking of hunting, I'd find someplace else. Mind you I mainly hunt public lands. No big deal. This past week gave me reason to question that choice.
I was going into an area to set up my blind for a hunt starting the next day when I ran into a guy hunting the same general area. I asked where he was set up so I could avoid that area. He asked where I intended to go and wanted me to show him. So, I did. Turns out he had a camera right where I was going to set up. He was set up elsewhere.
He told me that he couldn't hunt everywhere and asked if I wouldn't mind bringing the camera out to him one evening. I was truly thankful that he told me it was his and told him I would go elsewhere if he wanted to hunt there. He declined stating it's public land and that I was welcome to the area. He told me there were many other cameras-not his-in the general area. He and I were the only ones that hunted that area that week.
We got to talking and I learned that hunters are running 10-20 cameras for months. One hunter bragged that he was running 60 cameras. The guy I ran into put his in the day before the hunt in accord with the area regs. "Hunting equipment" isn't to be there before that time. Now, I'm not a trophy hunter and with limitations will kill a legal deer. I truly do not care if someone else kills a deer or if it's the biggest one around. I like being successful, but enjoy the challenge. If I'm not successful, that's hunting.
But here is the question. Knowing what I know now, if I run up on a camera and no other set up, what do I do? What would you do? I rather object to a camera being used as a "placeholder" and have no way of knowing that it is being used that way. We're not required to name etc on the camera. When asked most hunters stated that if they put in a camera, they intended to hunt it without stating whether they currently intended to do so. Many admitted to being set up elsewhere and may later go to where they had a camera set up.
I try to avoid confrontations in the woods refusing to let the idiots and a---h--s steal my joy. If I need to go somewhere else to keep the peace, that's ok with me. It's public land. What is your advice?
I'm old enough to remember when every arrow in your quiver had to be marked with your name and address. Maybe we need to look at something like that for cameras? I own a couple and like getting pix of the local wildlife, but some folks seem to be turning hunting into electronic warfare. When I hear three guys comparing 'data plans' I really feel like a dam' dinosaur...
I think game cameras should be banned on all public ground. It's getting way out of control here in the west. Outfitters are hanging hundreds of them, then hiring cheap help to check them. If they find an animal they want to target, they camp out on the animal until a paying "shooter" can arrive. Now, the cellular cameras are even worse. A person can scout dozens of locations sitting at home, or in their office. They've taken the "hunt" out of hunting, IMO.
If a guy wants to takes pics and name every deer that uses his private property, I have no problem with that. Just get the damn things out of the public lands, please.
A camera is not a placeholder! Period! In Minnesota if you leave your stand on public grounds it is up for grabs to sit that stand first come first served.
In Florida different areas have different regs. If I were to use cameras I'd use 1-3 in the general area that I intended to hunt. If someone beat me to an area that I had a camera, oh well. I wouldn't expect them to go elsewhere simply because of my camera. In the area I was hunting, I have at least a dozen other areas to go to. But if there are cameras all over the place and knowing that the owner may or may not want to hunt there and may in fact be set up elsewhere, I'd be a little upset. Now, I'm less inclined to go elsewhere if there is no other setup especially and if no one else is obviously hunting the area. I usually set up later in the afternoon the day before the hunt. If they aren't there by then and I don't run into the owner, I guess he'll get pictures of me setting up. That is assuming that I see the camera in the first place.
If a person is not accompanying the camera, hunt there. A camera does not constitute a persons sole ownership of a chunk of PUBLIC land.
Agree with the above. A camera on public land does not constitute hunting rights to that area.
If you had to work around all of the stands and cameras on public land here in Colorado, you'd be sitting in the parking area the whole trip.
One of the public areas I hunt in Nebraska had 2 guys running 20 cameras in that area….that’s not including everyone else running a few each! Thankfully they didn’t go in as far, but I got tired of trying to find routes to avoid them. I was trying to be courteous until I learned that, now I walk right through on my normal route. It’s getting out of hand and frustrating! And yes I run cameras, one at my stand to see what pops up and one at my sons stand. A limit per hunter would be nice, hard to enforce….yes, but something needs to be done. Not only is it diminishing the public land hunting experience, but it’s also affecting deer movement!!!!
People place cameras for many reasons. There are groups of people now who don’t hunt but use cameras to watch wildlife. A camera on public land is no sure sign someone intends to hang a stand in that specific spot. I see cameras all the time where no stand of any kind exists before or during the season. Doesn’t bother me. Now if I go in to set a stand and someone else has a stand all ready set up, I move on.
Easy fix if you want to hunt that area. Make sure you walk past the cams, face obscured. Take off your jacket and walk by again. Reverse your jacket and pants, then different jacket, different hat, etc and so on. Pretty soon all the cam owners will think an army is hunting that spot and go elsewhere.
I will add, I am seeing more and more cameras on roads, I assume folks are using them to monitor the amount of “traffic” in certain areas. Seems like an interesting scouting method.
It won't be long and it will be like AZ, a ban on all cameras on public lands. Considering there is only about 18% of private land in AZ and the rest being BLM, National Forest, etc., that is a lot of cameras that will do nothing but collect dust now. It was to the point where something had to be done. It was nothing to have 20 cameras on one waterhole on the AZ Strip. Every outfitter that hunted there and then anybody else who drew the tag as well had a camera on that water. What's worse was the guys who would throw up a blind to mark the spot as if it was theirs.
RT, once I was scouting a State park for Sika deer. When I got back to my truck there were two Sika stags fighting about 25 feet from my truck in the parking lot. I went back two days later and climbed a tree within sight of my truck and double lunged a my first Sika stag. There is a huge public hunting area that is near me and I have killed lots of deer near the parking lot. Most hunters park their vehicles and go as far back in the woods as they can go while they could go 100 yards and have very good luck and not far to drag.
I would be happy to see them removed from public land.
If I went into an area that already had a stand, whether it was to be hunted that hunt or not, I would move on. With what I learned this past week, I'm not inclined to do so with just a camera. Frankly, it never occurred to me that folks would put out 10-60 cameras in areas they would not be immediately hunting. Sometimes I see cameras and wonder just what they are looking at and try to determine why they put it there. There is some deniability to not seeing a camera if confronted. They are small and cammoed after all. Fortunately, most hunters are not a--holes and understand and accept the public land idiom. In Florida there are no overall regs for cameras. The regs for this particular management area state that "hunting equipment" may not be placed before 1 day prior to the hunt period and must be removed 1 day after. There is no carry over for successive hunts and those hunts are usually several weeks apart. I think a camera is "hunting equipment", but there is no real way to police it. If I report it (I'm not inclined to do so), I believe little will be done and without a way to identify the owner, little can be done. I think my efforts are better spent on advocating for a reg on the issue.
I know when I place cameras they may or may not have anything to do with a place I am hunting. When I am hunting with a camera I am placing the camera in the place I think is the best spot to get pictures, and information I am after. Ex) I love placing cameras on scrapes in October. The animal activity may be mostly nocturnal giving me an idea of which bucks are around, which direction they come from, and where they are going. Just because it is a great place for pictures does not mean it is a great place to hunt. If someone wants to hunt there they can be my guest. I would never personally assume that because a camera is in a spot, that a person is hunting that spot. I would with a tree stand, but not a camera. I wouldn't be miffed at all if all cameras were outlawed on public property. But I see both sides of the coin. It would suck if I was Mr Moultrie.
APauls, I'm with you. But on this hunt I and my new friend specifically asked some of the camera owners, and they stated that if they put a camera in, they intended to hunt it and would run another hunt out. Well, good luck with that if I'm already set up there. At any rate it was obvious (at least to me) that several of them were set up elsewhere and fully expected the cameras to be a placeholder. I'm coming to the same conclusion you mentioned. Just because there is a camera in the area in the absence of any other information I won't assume that someone else intends to hunt the area. I usually check the area for stands and blinds before I set up and set up only after I confirm their absence. What I'm getting here is that I don't need to give the same deference for the presence of a camera.
I use cameras on my property only, and mostly over mineral licks during Spring and early summer when the licks are more utilized. I do this to assess herd health including numbers, ratios etc. This helps me, along with others, determine what should be harvested to keep competing interests balanced, i.e. hunting opportunities and crop yields.
Not a fan of government regulations, but more of the public sees cameras as an unfair advantage, and so maybe we ought to discourage their use for scouting to locate the "right" target. I teach at a large community college and more non-hunters have problems with camera use and bait piles than they do crossbows. In their minds the first two give the hunter an unfair advantage while with crossbows they think if a decision has been made to kill an animal a gun should be used first, and a crossbow second to ensure the deed happens quickly. And yes, I try to educate them, but with minimal success.
Our property is only 120 acres, the cameras are placed where deer expect human activity. A low impact approach is used to hunt the property, so no need to try and cover crossings, bedding areas etc. and educating the deer to our patterns. Observations during season while on stand year to year are effective for helping hunter success on limited size properties IMHO.
This is an interesting topic. I have three trail cameras. I put them out at spots I may hunt .I also put them out where I would never hunt. I never thought of them as a place marker. I love to see pictures of creatures in the woods . One exception may be gray squirrels. They like their pictures taken just too much.
If one would move on and hunt somewhere else, just because there was a stand or camera on public land, one might never find a place to hunt on some public lands. I hunt public lands in Nebraska, and many stands are left there year around even though the Regs state, they must be removed after season. There is hardly any enforcement for year around stand placement.
Montana only allows trail cameras prior to the hunter seasons. Colorado allows cameras but not remote camera. I would expect, as the complaints increase, States will start to modify /adjust their existing regs.
The placement and existence of electronic surveillance gear (aka 'game cameras') on public use land is objectively a negative for many who go there to hunt or recreate in a natural setting. The same might be said for man-made treestands and blinds which remain in place for the duration of a season or longer.
DanaC: interesting article. Selling the information? Never thought of that, but I suppose that could be happening. However, I'm not necessarily opposed to camaras, I just don't use them myself. It's enough for me to know game is in the area, and I set up appropriately. For the most part I've been successful and happy with the fruits of my efforts. Absent any other information, I'm just not going to let a camara chase me off. But, apparently this topic is a little more complicated than I initially imagined.
My cameras all cost at least $100 and I wouldn’t leave them on public land.
Does any hunter, or recreational user, really want to see this on public land? I believe this pic was taken in AZ, but I've seen similar in Colorado.
I love seeing stands and cameras on public because when I do I know people are most likely hunting there so therefore I find places they are not.
I’ve been on public land out here in CT where it was not physically possible to find a spot that was not within full view of at least a half a dozen tree stands at any given time… I finally found myself slipping through the mountain laurel, simply because there were no trees there large enough for anyone to climb. Saw plenty of tracks, but no deer, unfortunately… but I guess that’s not unlikely during a season which typically has a 4% or perhaps 5% success rate on either-sex tags.
I would be delighted to see a year-round ban on their use on public land, and no, I would not consider finding a different spot just because someone has a camera out there - not any more than I would go hunt somewhere else just because someone parked a stand in a tree 5 or 10 years ago.
If you stop to think about it, you could go to so much trouble trying to avoid people who aren’t even there anymore that you could mess up the hunts of a whole bunch of people who are trying just as hard as you are to stay out of everyone else’s way…
Nomad got it right. A camera is not a place holder on public land. Neither is a tree stand or ground blind. I've had guys tell me I couldn't hunt a water hole because they had a camera on it. I laugh at that. I've also had guys tell me I couldn't hunt because their ground blind was up first. Same reaction. Whoever shows up to hunt first on any particular day is the person who has first choice. In the end, that's all that matters.
I bet there is a decent percent of cameras on public that don’t actually work. What a cheap easy way to deter other hunters from an area than to hang an old broken camera. Pretty lousy to do but I bet some of the public land warriors do it.
I usually make a point of taking a leak, or a big dump, in front of any game cameras I come across on public ground. Is that wrong? ;-)
Hunt it. The cameras I put out I'm not just looking for deer but seeing if other people are hunting areas. Most of my cameras are left out all season and not checked til spring unless I hunt the spot.
Yea naturelives. We only check ours once every 18 months. No reason to stay up to date on then and it's a way to keep up with how many times GG takes a dump or pees during the season
“ Most of my cameras are left out all season and not checked til spring unless I hunt the spot.”
So you’re basically bragging about being part of the problem?
I like running cameras, but I don't hate the idea of banning them. I'd probably vote yes on something that got rid of them. I'll still find animals.
But I'll run them so long as they're allowed.
NM banned cell cameras, but they don't give a shit because it's hard to prove they're receiving photos.
GG and a lot of the time it's the same guy hanging 6 cams on one tree so that it looks terrible and he owns the spot...
I have seen in Arizona 13 cameras on one waterhole. I also had o guy come to a waterhole I was hunting and ask if I had a bull tag. And when I said I did he sat ten yards away and hunted with his cow tag. I got up and left. People now days have really big prunes
So you have a bull tag…. and he has a cow tag… And that’s a problem because…???
Maybe we’d be better off figuring out ways to work together instead of focusing on what it is that the other guy did to piss us off?
Maybe I’m just a big doofus, but if I had a cow tag and I had a chance to let someone else fill a bull tag, I would probably watch and see how the whole thing went down before taking a shot at a cow.
Or if there was no decent bull anywhere in sight, maybe I would just plunk the cow that I wanted. I suppose it would be easier to know what kind of bull I should let walk if I had taken a few minutes to talk to the other guy to figure out where he was on his journey as a hunter and what it was that was important to him to be able to put his tag on.
I guess the naïve delusion that I am clinging to is the thought that if we were willing to work together, maybe everyone could go home happy and satisfied instead of going home angry at That Prick who screwed up our whole hunt…
Not familiar with western hunting, my assumption on camera use was more along the lines of Pat’s ‘Data Mining’ and if that is an unfair advantage, especially with regards to trophy hunting.
If I had a bull tag and a stranger with a cow tag set up 10 yards from me after I was already there, there would be no "working together". It would come down to who wanted that spot the most. The reason should be obvious. 9 times out of 10 a cow will be leading a herd anywhere they go. If the cow tag holder shoots the lead cow, then my chances of killing a bull at that spot basically goes to zero.
Gotta agree with GG on this scenario. And it wouldn't be me leaving if I was there first. And I think by the time the guy started setting up it would be obvious he was either just an a-hole or needed some education on etiquette.
You should hunt 11m in Arizona sometime. That’s why I don’t anymore
I think it needs to be common practice of first come first serve, which is how most states word their laws. A camera or treestand or whatever isnt a spot holder. If someone is there before you that day you should hunt elsewhere.... should have woke up sooner. Even if they are in your treestand, too bad they get a free rental for a day.
As far as negative aesthetics of game cams. I could care less. Most I find are way close to the road/th and in high human traffic areas. I get more upset by trash, beer cans, soup can, etc that I find from hunters. No hikers are that far off the trail,only hunters. So it's sad to see that much trash come from fellow hunters.
Boy, if someone is in my stand or blind when I get there, they will be welcome to the spot minus my stand or blind.
Don't know any states that have a law of someone setting up too close. Most guys follow proper etiquette. But since there are always scofflaws I'd not allow trail cams, pre set blinds or stands on public Would not make everyone happy but would eliminate a lot of this, but not all Can't imagine what it would be like with bait piles on public?.
Seems the real issue here is over pressured public land. Banning trail cameras doesn’t begin to solve that problem. Your dreaming if you believe that. I don’t support cellular cameras but do enjoy regular cameras. I have no expectation my camera reserves a spot and I think the vast majority of hunters are the same way. This topic is grasping at something that creates no solution to the real issue. And why pit public land hunters against each other? You want a ban on cameras then make it universal which includes private land hunters. Public land hunters have it hard enough while they sit on their couch waiting for their cellular cam to send a pic of a big buck? No, make them get out and hunt and maybe by some chance they bump some deer to public. I don’t have the solution to improve public lands but why ban something that creates no real solution.
“ If the cow tag holder shoots the lead cow, then my chances of killing a bull at that spot basically goes to zero.”
That’s true. But you could work it out with your best friend, couldn’t you?
Guess that makes me an optimist. I can work with that. Can’t be any worse than having the guy set up 100 yards back up the trail so he can blow the whole thing up before you even see the bull coming…..
GF such a great reminder. If the other guy was a bowsiter - really good chance he's a solid guy. I've met some great folks hunting and I have to remind myself in this situation that I haven't walked a mile in his shoes. Maybe he's older and can't get around as well as I? Might mean more to him than me to get something? Lots of decent, humble guys out there that I've met and hoped for their success more than my own I like when life reminds me that's it's not always about me. At least give them benefit of the doubt first and see if you can work it out like Lawdog did
I power mine with a 12v and stepdown to 1.5v. I use the remaining to power the perimeter electric fence around the water tank to ensure I claim it as my spot.
“ If the cow tag holder shoots the lead cow, then my chances of killing a bull at that spot basically goes to zero.” Why do you think that? I killed the lead cow with a bull I was calling in to cow calls, with a 7mm mag rifle (at bow range) and some quick cow calls kept the bull and another cow from running off. more than once we have killed or had elk walk by while handling a kill. I once had things go wrong on a bull (arrow deflected on rib, complete pass through but don't know where it exited) and he bedded down near me pinning me down, in the 2 hours that I couldn't move I had 6 more bulls come through at bow range. I could go on but you can see my point. I put out a couple game cams in the area I sit, but in no way do I think that should keep someone else from hunting there, just the opposite I worry that my cams might give away my hot spot.
Mark S and LFN, there are times in the woods where you just can't work it out despite your best efforts. I hunted an area a decade ago that required you to place stands before the hunt began. Accordingly, I placed my lock on and used bright orange straps etc. In other words it was highly visible. I do that on purpose. On the morning of the hunt, I got there early, as I always do. Later a flashlight beam comes toward me and flash mine at him. Undaunted, I watch as he climbs a ladder stand 15 yds away. I did not see it in the dark. Astonished I got down and went over and stated please tell me you're not going to hunt here. He said he's not moving and has nowhere else to go. I offered to set him up in a different place. It was that early. I got back in my stand. I passed a smaller buck that was going to and did pass right under the other guy's stand. I thought he would shoot it and get the "f" out. He didn't even see it in the light rain. At 10 I'd had enough. I got down and told him to get down so we could solve the problem. Again, he stated he didn't see my stand. It was obvious to me that he was lying, and I told him that we were going to have a problem if he continued lying to me. I therefore gave him 3 choices. He could remove his stand, I would remove his stand, or he could try to stop me on the way. He chose the later. However, when fully braced on the issue, he wimped out. That would not have worked out well for him and by his actions I knew he had no training and that he was just trying to bull his way through. Quite simply, there was no way he could or would have able to stop what had been about to happen. Turned out he and his buddies did this to many other hunters that weekend, including some women. Apparently, I was the only one who offered meaningful resistance. A couple of game officers later told me that they had issues with this group in other areas like poaching, baiting, and similar confrontations. One was alleged to have killed a deer the evening before a hunt claiming it was killed the next day when he recovered it. I yanked my stand and went to finish my hunt in a different area. For that and several other reasons I have never been back to that hunt area, but I have run up on these guys in other areas. They don't remember me, but I sure remember and know them. I looked them up. All minor criminals-no felonies, but a lot of misdemeanors and arrests on various charges. I'll usually give folks the benefit and I'm as patient as they come, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. In my day if you were grossly rude, you were likely to be picking your butt up off the ground. Problem solved. I'm still kind of that way just with a lot more discretion. There are times when you just need to stand up and call out unacceptable behavior. On the other hand if he had been there first, I would have gone somewhere else in the morning and dealt with the issue later on in the day.
Road hunting is huge up here. Walk in half a mile into our big timberlands, and you are alone. I have never run into game cameras up here, just one set on an illegal bait pile. I never went near that place again.