At the February 16th Commission meeting, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend Article 3 (Taking and Handling of Wildlife). There is a long list of amendments that are currently being reviewed, including significant restrictions on the use of trail cameras.

As reported by the Daily Miner, the Commission explains, "[We] recognized the need to evaluate regulatory measures pertaining to the use of trail cameras, as they relate to the ‘take of wildlife’ and the Fair Chase hunting ethics... the Commission proposes to define ‘developed water sources’ and ‘live-action trail camera.’”

The Currently Proposed Changes:

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Screenshot of Article 3 Proposals.

The item that will have a significant impact for the majority of hunters:

5. A person shall not use any trail camera, or images from a trail camera, for the purpose of taking or aiding in the take of wildlife within one-fourth mile (440 yards) of the outer perimeter of a developed water source.

The full list of proposals can be reviewed here.

The Commission's final review of the proposed amendments will take place on May 4th, 2018. Public input will be accepted by the Commission through April 15th. You can contact them by email at rulemaking@azgfd.gov, or jcook@azgfd.gov. More contact information and details about the Rulemaking process can be found here.

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Scout To Hunt's Perspective

As we continue to make advancements in technology within the hunting industry, it's a common sense response to question and analyze how those advancements affect our conservation efforts and hunting standards. As the AZGF Commission emphasized, the question of ethical practices and Fair Chase standards are the focal point of the proposed regulations.

Scout To Hunt finds this process of scrutiny to be a healthy process that can potentially factor into maintaining those standards and avoiding the perceived issues by the misapplication of technology, such as live-action or real-time visual transmitting devices. We also see potential benefits in the reduction of hunter traffic and the consequential pressure placed near water sources, especially when those sources are extremely limited in desert regions. These proposed items hold some merit that should be considered from an objective view point, to better understand what will produce a net benefit for our conservation goals and the hunters that uphold those efforts.

In contrast to Nevada's proposed regulations, we find that avoiding restrictions on a seasonal basis is a positive compromise and allows a balanced use of manually retrieved trail cameras for scouting and research throughout the hunting seasons.

What do you think?