WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Deer hunting season starts in September with changes because the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks banned the use of trail cameras on their land.
The ban comes after years of mounting public concern, according to the KDWP. Hunters have faced issues over privacy, theft and ethics when it comes to trail cameras.
Trail cameras have existed for decades, but in the beginning, they could only take a few photos of passing wildlife.
“It’s kind of a completely different thing when those cellular trail cameras have come out,” said Dan Sullins, Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management at Kansas State University Research and Extension.
Newer cameras have the capability to take thousands of photos and send instant notifications when animals are detected.
“I can see why you would do it,” said Kevin Kufahl, the owner of Ryker Arms and a recreational hunter. “Just cause you want to track the deer, you want to find out when they’re gonna be there so you’re not wasting your time.”
The cameras are convenient, but some say they can also be a nuisance.
“I’ve heard of people using trail cameras to kind of indicate, ‘Hey, this is where I’m going to hunt. This is my spot,'” Sullins said.
Sullins avoids any spot where a trail camera is set up when he’s hunting to avoid running into others or getting into conflicts over who is hunting where.
Putting up trail cameras can also be risky. Kufahl had his cameras stolen while hunting on private land.
“I think it’s a bit of a risk to put a trail camera out on public land because they’re easy to take,” Kufahl said.
Kufahl still uses trail cameras on private land. He said they save him time while hunting.
Sullins hopes the ban on cameras will level the playing field and make hunting more of a challenge.
Kufahl doesn’t think the ban on cameras is enforceable because it’s easy to hide trail cameras and hard to track who owns them.