Arizona Trail Camera Ban

Is There an Arizona Trail Camera Ban Now?

The Arizona trail camera ban is real. Arizona’s ban on using trail cameras for hunting will likely take effect on January 1, 2022. That leaves Arizona hunters on public land just one more season to use as many trail cameras as they please.

Using trail cameras for hunting in Arizona will be illegal from the beginning of 2022.  But Arizona hunters will still be able to use trail cameras for observing wildlife for research or interest purposes, or for protecting property.

The target date to activate the Arizona trail camera ban  is January 1, 2022. According to Kurt Davis, Chairman of the Arizona Game & Fish Commission: “Education and training of hunters regarding law will dictate if that happens by that date,” he said.

Why is Arizona banning trail cameras?

The Fair Chase committee of Arizona Game & Fish made the banning recommendation after its five-yearly meeting to discuss the matter.

On June 11, 2021, the  Commission voted unanimously to ban trail cameras “for the purpose of taking or aiding in the take of wildlife, or locating wildlife for the purpose of taking or aiding in the take of wildlife,” according to the bill.

Davis added that “trail cameras do not respect natural resources, other hunters, landowners, wildlife, nor the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation — a set of principles used by the United States in governing conservation efforts.”

What process was followed leading to the Arizona trail camera ban?

The debate about trail cameras has been going on for about a decade in Arizona.

Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and others have limitations on where trail cameras can be used and restrictions on how they may be used, what features cameras may have, etc. Even Arizona currently has some limitations on game camera use.

But hunters thought an outright ban could never happen as that had not happened anywhere else in the United States.

But the growing sophistication of trail cameras and a number of conflicts and problems arising from game cameras placed in the wild forced Arizona Game & Fish to revisit the legislation.

Among the ancillary problems arising from the widespread use of trail cameras include

  • Too much human activity in the wilds with placing and managing cameras
  • Litter and damage caused by people using trail cameras
  • Spoiling the natural beauty for people who go to wilderness areas simply to admire nature

Arizona Game & Fish points out that the location of watering holes is available on maps. It is unnecessary to monitor the water holes.

Ultimately, though, with over 800 species of wildlife in Arizona, the protection of watering holes is important for animals to elude detection, which is guaranteed with Fair Chase.

Go here for the full list of states with their trail camera legality status and links to the legislation.