The Ethics Of Using Cellular Trail Cameras
Arguments For (And Arguments Against) The Use Of Cellular Trail Cameras.
The sport of hunting is changing, whether we like it or not. Technology is advancing at a rate never seen before. Cars can drive by themselves, A.I. can now pretty much do anything a human can do, and you can get trail camera pictures sent right to your phone from pretty much anywhere in North America.
With the rise of social media, debates on certain topics online happen almost on a daily basis. Oftentimes, you will see the age-old debates of "shoot what you want vs shoot only trophies" or "does scent control actually work", but lately there has been a debate raging online on the ethics of cell cameras.
There are quite a few arguments for and quite a few arguments against the use of cell cameras, and as a trail camera company, we've heard both sides of the argument from podcast guests, customers, and random people that we run into at trade shows.
Listen to the full discussion:
Arguments In Support
Being that our main product that we sell are cell cameras, obviously we are a bit skewed towards supporting the use of cell cameras. So let's start out with the most important aspect of using cell cameras, time.
Efficiency is key when hunting, especially when planning an out-of-state trip, and cell cameras can be your eyes in state several hundred miles away. Cell cameras help with reducing the time you spend scouting, giving you real time data for what is going on in the area you want to hunt, instead of spending precious time scouting and checking cameras during your tip.
Now that doesn't mean that you don't need to scout. You still have to put in your homework finding spots to hang your cell camera that will produce such as scrapes, travel corridors, and food sources. Cell cameras just help with narrowing down your desired hunt area when you finally go on your trip.
Arguments In Opposition
Being that the main product that we sell is cell cameras, we have also heard from plenty of people that do not support the use of cell cameras. The most commonly used term that we hear thrown around when talking in opposition to trail cameras is Fair Chase.
There have been several groups in the hunting industry that have publicly denounced cell cameras and even went as far as not considering deer for record books if cell cameras were used to aide the killing of a deer (Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young), because they claim that it is not fair chase.
Cell cameras are a piece of technology that allow anyone to hang it once in an area and not have to go back into the area at all to check the SD card. It's very well documented how powerful the first time sit is, so if you can sit in your home or office and check trail camera photos from your phone and only go hunt that spot when something big shows up, you definitely have the upper hand on the deer.
As technology continues to evolve and grow, so do the features on cell cameras. Now, a certain few cell cameras even offer a "Live" function. This allows the user to login to the app on their phone from pretty much anywhere in the world and either see a live feed of whats going on, or to have the camera take a picture or video of whats going on in front of the camera at that time.
Some western states have even went as far as to completely ban the use of trail cameras as well. Utah and Arizona currently have a complete ban of any trail cameras for hunting purposes mainly due to the lack of water. The issue was that there would be one singular water hole on a gigantic chunk of land that would draw in animals from all around and there would be 10-20 trail cameras all around the water hole monitoring what animals would come in and when they would come to the water.
Watch The Full Video:
Have cell cameras made us as hunters more effective? Yes they have. Have they helped save 3 year olds that people would normally shoot if they didn't get a picture of a mature 4 or 5 year old? Yes they have. There are valid arguments from both sides in this debate, but you still have to get out in the woods to find a place to hang the cell camera.
There is no right or wrong opinion in this debate. Thats the thing about opinions, everyone is entitled to their own. Whether you think cell cameras are ethical or not, they are here to stay for now.
For the past two years, I have ran multiple cell cameras, both on private and public, across 3 different states. Even with 10+ cell cameras out in the field, I still haven't filled a tag in a couple of years. Have my opportunities increased? Yes they have, but you still have to put the time in to find scrapes, travel corridors, and food sources to hang the cameras on, and you also still have to put the time in the woods. Those 10+ cell cameras have also saved quite a few 3 year olds because i knew of much bigger bucks in the area.
Written by: Lucas Jones