You may have heard the flap over the past year or so about Montana making scouting cameras illegal to use during hunting seasons. It came as a surprise to many hunters, but if you read the fine print, it is indeed illegal to have a camera out and check the images if a “commission-adopted hunting season” is in play.
I disagree with that rule based upon the way I use my Bushnell Trophy Cam. I put it out and check it once or twice a month before the season starts, and during the season I only have it out to scout locations I may need as a backup.
Of course, as scouting cameras become more technologically advanced, I begin to see some conflicts with ethics. Some cameras offer instant updates, sent to your cell phone with images that clearly show an animal is at a certain location at a specific time. If you’re just over the hill, you could sneak into position next to a green field and ambush a buck or bull.
For such cameras to work, you need cell service, but even in the outback of Montana that’s becoming more and more common. Outside the Rocky Mountain region, cell service is almost guaranteed unless you have a bad service plan or find yourself at the bottom of a deep valley. More sophisticated surveillance systems even work off of satellites with the ability to send instant video or images, but that technology is cost prohibitive for the average hunter.
Personally, I believe a better choice would be to limit the use of technology that offers instant updates, and still allow the use of scouting cams that require you to physically check the unit to see “what’s up.” That would still make it legal to use most current cameras, but limit those with instant-information capabilities.
Remember when the definition of scouting was looking for tracks, droppings and rubs? What’s your opinion on scouting cam technology? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.