Proposed bill would eliminate trail camera use during key hunting months

by the Shoot On staff

The “We don’t want you to do that” legislation just keeps on coming at America’s outdoor sports enthusiasts. The latest volley is bill H. B. 295 introduced by Utah state representative Casey Snider on February 2 and submitted to the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee on February 9.

Called the “Wildlife Modifications” bill, the proposed legislation:

  • prohibits the use of trail cameras at certain times and with certain exceptions;
  • prohibits big game baiting;
  • prohibits the construction of permanent blinds or other structures used for hunting within a waterfowl management area;
  • prohibits commercial hunting guides from transporting individuals across a waterfowl management area; and
  • authorizes the Wildlife Board to make rules regarding the creation and management of waterfowl management areas.

As outdoor enthusiasts know, trail cameras have become an integral tool for documenting area wildlife, understanding game movement, inventorying resident populations, and helping to plan hunts. Beyond the hunting applications, trail cameras are relied upon by wildlife watchers and those interested in wild animal behavior for study and recreation.

According to an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Rep. Snider, who counts himself a hunter, entwines the use of trail cameras with baiting.

Snider is quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune article as saying, “One of the things that’s always been important to me, and it’s why I enjoy hunting, is there’s always been this notion of a hunting ethic and fair chase. If it was just about killing, we could probably all just go to the grocery store, but it’s about something more than that.

Such legislation, if approved and made into law, would have serious implications for hunters who rely on trail cameras for scouting and for getting a sense of wild game numbers and quality in their targeted hunting areas, whether it be for the hunting experience or to put healthy food on the table for their families—an increasing consideration for many people given the food chain disruptions that have occurred since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

H.B. 295 is scheduled to be presented to the Utah House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Standing Committee on Friday, February 12. Sportsman opposed to the bill should immediately contact their Committee representatives listed below and ask them to vote “No” to move the bill out of committee.

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