Is it legal to put trail cameras on public land? (Yes, they are legal in some states and illegal in some.)

My grandfather has always been very fond of deer hunting. So naturally, I caught up to his interests, which lead me to the conclusion that trail cameras were essential.

Now, is it legal to put trail cameras on public land? It turns out, it is! In most states they are legal. However, some states choose not to make it legal. 

Which state is banning trail cameras? The Arizona game and fish commission denied trail cameras. Some other states did the same but Arizona had been the first one.

They said it was to take or assistance in the take of wildlife or locating wildlife to take or aid in taking of wildlife.

Some of the most prominent reasons for banning trail cameras in Arizona:

Increased Traffic: Trail cameras cause increased traffic in the hunting fields. Some people tend to hinder other people’s hunt. Some people check their cameras during peak hunting hours.

Hunters have denoted frustration regarding this issue. Some have even shared stories about violent hunters who chased other hunters away.

And the rising pandemic may even cause health concerns due to the increased amount of proximity among people.

Littering: The abundance of trail cameras on public lands has taken over the wildlife. It has disrupted the hunters and the wildlife.

There’re also jilted trail cameras lying around along with cables, batteries, plastics, etc. The environment is already greatly affected due to humans.

And plastic is one of the most harmful components against nature.

Invasion of privacy: People have complained about trail cameras invading their privacy. It is a prevalent scenario nowadays.

People have expressed their worries about being photographed by trail cameras. And even worse, their photographs can be used against them without their consent.

This is a preeminent case. In this rising issue of cyberbullying, the issue can be more dangerous than imagined.

Theft: Trail cameras are often stolen from public properties. Now, you may ask, How can I hide my trail camera? You can always use small-sized wireless trail cameras.

It is powered by mini batteries. Hence, it is small in size and easy to hide. This definitely does put a question mark on if Is it legal to put trail cameras on public land

You can also conceal your trail cameras as birdhouses. Birdhouses are often found in trees. So, it is easy to disguise it.

Harmed wildlife: Trail cameras might be beneficial for hunters. But, it helps in hunting younger members of the herd.

Trail cameras are legal in the state of Alaska.  However, they did impose some restrictions. The restrictions are regarding the information received.

Trail cameras are legal in Montana. But they restrict the usage of cameras up to some extend.  They don’t allow motion tracking devices.

It is only okay to use a game camera. Kansas has made it illegal to use cellular trail cameras. It is mentioned in section 32 1003 methods of taking wildlife.

They have also prohibited any two-way radios. They even banned cell phones for hunting. However, hunting is not illegal in any state whatsoever. It is illegal in New Hampshire to use trail cameras.

Now, some of the ways to keep trail cameras safe in public places are given below:

Is it legal to put trail cameras on public land?

Hanging them up: It is necessary to keep the cameras high up. High enough for it to be hard to get. If it is high enough, no one can reach it. Let alone stealing it.

Lock them: It is necessary to lock the cameras up. It should be firmly locked to a tree. It does not guarantee that the camera will not get stolen. But it will surely keep it safe up to some extend.

Some of the advantages of using trail cameras are:

Timing hunts: Trail cameras help in timing hunts. You can study the movement of your bucks before you hunt. Hence, it gets more accessible to time hunts.

Timing habitat: Mature bucks are not acquainted with their habitats during summer. Since they have more value, it is easier to hunt them during this time.

Pressure management of hunting: If a buck is here at a time, and not there another time. It will still be easy to track them and not feel the pressure. Hence, it is easy to work under less pressure.

It is proven to cause better performance. Better management means a better hunting experience. Hence, it benefits the hunter.

Frequently asked questions:

1. Which state is banning trail cameras?

Ans: Arizona has banned trail cameras.

2. Are trail cameras legal?

Ans: Yes, they are legal in some states and illegal in some.

3. Can I set my trail camera in a national park?

Ans: No, you cannot set your trail cameras in a national park.

4. Can you cover red lights in a trail camera?

Ans: No, you can't cover red lights in a trail camera.

5. Does a trail camera work at night?

Ans: Some trail cameras work at night and some don't.

6. Are trail cameras worth it?

Ans: Yes, to say it simply, they are.

7. How often do trail cameras take pictures?

Ans: They generally take photographs every 5 minutes

8. How do trail cameras send pictures?

Ans: It sends pictures via text or email to mobile devices. Or any other device.


Concluding, we can say that there is a grey area to the answer of, ‘Is it legal to use trail cameras in public land’ It has sound effects and harmful effects at the same time.

It depends hugely on how it’s used. It is said to be good in some states and wrong in some. But does give an answer to Is it legal to put trail cameras on public land? The answer is actually at a grey spectrum.

However, it must stop hindering the wildlife and reduce the issues. Implementation of proper laws may help. We, as citizens should also grow more concerned.

We must not act aggressively to other hunters. We also should not litter. We should also be concerned about the younger ones in the herd.

We must not hunt for bucks who are not from the mature herd.

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