Kentucky Considers Public Land Ban on Cellular Trail Cams & Drones

By Brodie SwisherDecember 7, 20232 Comments

The legalities of trail cam use is front and center once again, as Kentucky now considers a public land ban on the use of cellular trail cameras and drones on public lands in the state. New business was on the table at the recent commission meeting for the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, and the hot topic was the use of cellular trail cameras and drones on all Wildlife Management Areas and other public lands as well.

Non-cellular trail cameras would still be allowed on public lands but would have to be labeled with its owner’s customer identification number. 

As for the use of drones, the decision would ban all uses of drones on public land, including the search and recovery of big game.  

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As you might expect, the ruling would not apply to the KDFWR and staff involved in research, communications, enforcement and other management activities. 

The proposal will be up for public comment in the days ahead. 

Here’s a closer look at the proposals as presented: 

Prohibit use of aircraft (drones, helicopters, airplanes, etc.) for taking fish or wildlife and use of drones/UAS on WMAs/public hunting areas

  • Promulgate a new regulation to prohibit taking of fish/wildlife with aircraft
  • Comport with federal law prohibiting take with aircraft (16 US Code § 742)
  • Prohibit use in any aspect of take per wildlife definition in KRS 150.01
  • Prohibit use of drones on any WMA or public hunting area statewide
  • Exempt the department and its agents conducting research, communications and other authorized management activities
  • Exempt use of aircraft for recovery of big game on private lands not open to public hunting
  • Allow for authorized landowners/their agents engaged in lawful wildlife damage control activities, and commercial fishers for use in locating or removing Invasive Carp
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Prohibit use of cellular or wireless trail cameras on WMAs/public hunting areas

  • Promulgate a new regulation or amend 301 KAR 3:010 to prohibit use of wireless or cellular trail cameras
  • Requirement for all trail cameras used on WMAs/public hunting areas to be externally labeled with its owners customer identification number
  • Exempt the department and its agents conducting research, communications, enforcement, and other authorized management activities.

What do you think? Is the ban of cellular trail cams and drones on public land a good idea? 

Comment below, and let us know your thoughts. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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