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Utah Becomes Second State to Enact Total Trail Camera Ban for Hunting

Trail Camera Ban Utah
Travis Smola

Utah becomes the second state to ban trail camera use for hunting.

Approximately seven months after Arizona implemented a highly controversial total ban on trail camera use for hunting, Utah has followed suite with a ban of their own. The Utah Wildlife Board voted in heavy restrictions on trail camera use in their most recent meeting.

Specifically, trail cameras will no longer be allowed to aid in the harvest of big game between the dates of July 31 and December 31 every year. The decision comes after Utah Legislature passed House Bill 295 during their 2021 session. This went into effect back on May 5, 2021. The bill specifically instructed the Wildlife Board to make rules governing the use of trail cameras.

In a press release on the Utah Division of Wildlife website, it's reported the DWR sent out two surveys to more than 14,000 hunters requesting feedback on the issue. You can see some of the data and input they got from those surveys in the video below.

In the end, the DWR says their surveys showed most of the public opposed the use of cellular trail cameras that transmit real-time images and footage. However, the board decided they would ban both transmitting and non-transmitting types of cameras used "in the harvest or to aid in the harvest of big game between July 31 and Dec. 31.) This ban applies to both public and private land.

According to KSL.com, the main purpose of the ban seems to be a fair chase issue. Which is similar reasoning to the Arizona ban.

"It's not a fair hunt any longer," House Majority Whip Mike Schultz said according to the news site. "So we have a responsibility ourselves, as sportsmen that care about the wildlife, to make sure we're being ethical in the things that we do."

The board believes they did what most Utah hunters wanted according to the press release.

"We did slow down on this process," Wildlife Board Chairman Kevin Albrecht said in the press release. "We wanted additional surveys to make sure that we really (had) a pulse on the public."

For clarity, the DRW added the following definition of trail camera:

"A trail camera is defined as a device that is not held or manually operated by a person and is used to capture images, video, or location data of wildlife and uses heat or motion to trigger the device."

There are some exceptions to the ban which were also spelled out in the release.

"This new rule does not apply to government or educational organizations gathering wildlife information, private landowners who are monitoring their property for trespass or active agricultural operations or cities involved in the urban deer program."

The news has not gone over well with many hunters. Many took to the Utah DWR Facebook page to express their displeasure in the rule change.

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Utah Becomes Second State to Enact Total Trail Camera Ban for Hunting