Of course, the question of banning trail-cameras on public hunting land comes down to the problem. What is the perceived or real problem?
I believe the "problem" (at least in Tennessee) is more "perceived" than "real".
And much of this perception is based largely on false narratives from people who have never used a trail cam, and/or never used a cell cam. In fact, I've often seen the use of trail cams do more harm to the hunter using them, while actually providing greater advantage to other hunters not using cams. Go figure that one.
, in MOST REAL
hunting situations, getting a sudden "trophy" animal pic to come in to your phone or computer from a cell cam does NOT
allow you to simply walk over and shoot that animal. Yet this is exactly what many non-cam hunters and non-hunters very erroneously seem to think.
Knowing there's something better "out there", the trail cam user is more likely to give a pass to numerous other bucks, enhancing the shooter buck opportunities for all other hunters. And what commonly happens is that one of those other hunters luckily shoots a particular "target" buck of someone using a trail cam. Ironically, it is the trail cam user who often ends up shooting fewer bucks due to his use of trail cams. Ask me how I know.
Are there exceptions to this generality? Absolutely.
But most of those exceptions were already either illegal or unethical, i.e. not the typical type hunting situation of most hunters. In fact, at least in TN, most of these illegal/unethical exceptions would or could only happen on private lands, not public.
A common "exception" is the guy who has a corn feeder behind his house, a night scope on his suppressed rifle, and a cell cam monitoring his corn feeder. Cell cam goes off at 1am, trophy buck is feeding 100 yds behind his house. He pokes his rifle out the back bedroom window and kills it, maybe not even waking up his neighbors. I hate this situation, and the fact so many these poachers get away with it (in the short run
), but it is not a legitimate reason to ban trail cams, nor is it happening to much extent on public lands in TN.
It's similar to the situation of banning guns.
If we outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns?
Poachers do not obey game laws any more than convicted felons obey gun laws.
They're going to do whatever they think gives them an advantage, legal or illegal,
so long as they think they can get away with it.
Too many our laws & polices already punish the honest majority while rewarding the dishonest who never obey those laws in the first place.
IMO, the disdain and much of the negative projection towards other hunters using trail cams is more a case of the "Have Nots"
vs. the "Haves"
, and is as much a situation of misunderstandings as it is of negative projection (and sometimes jealousy) by the "Have Nots"
Do trail cams give the users an advantage? I think so.
Do trail cams give those not using them an advantage? I think so.
I think their use is a positive for both the users and the other hunters who choose not to use trail cams.
But after decades of using trail cams, I believe most trail cam users are creating for themselves an advantage on one hand, while sabotaging their own success potential on the other. This is mainly due to a lot of false narratives and inexperience with both trail cams and hunting. The most common mistake is thinking you're going to kill a particular buck anywhere near where you're regularly getting his picture.
I'm talking about the normal situations in TN, not some isolated water source in the middle of an Arizona desert.
So again, "generally speaking", but isn't that what we should base most our policy and general decisions, rather than a few "exceptions" or the illegal activities of a few?