Pope & Young Club Clarifies Stance on Cellular Trail Cameras

By Brodie SwisherAugust 5, 202013 Comments

There’s been a lot of buzz the last few days around the topic of cellular trail cameras. The Pope & Young Club, as well as the Boone & Crockett Club have recently clarified their position on whether or not cellular trail cameras are in violation to big buck entries in their books.

As you might  imagine, the topic has stirred plenty of controversy among  hunters, both in agreement, as well as those griping about the call.

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Are cellular cameras pushing it too far when it comes to ethical hunting tactics?

A recent statement says the Pope and Young Club, historically, has not viewed the use of trail cameras as a violation of the Rules of Fair Chase. With the invention of wireless trail cameras and other devices that can send real-time data to a hunter, all hunters need to consider how the use of these devices may affect fair-chase.

While the use of a wireless trail camera is not automatically a violation of the Rules of Fair-Chase, using this technology to deliver real-time location data of the animal being hunted, would be a violation of the Rules of Fair Chase #7.

Below is a closer look at the club’s Rules of Fair Chase…

The Rules of Fair Chase

The term “Fair Chase” shall not include the taking of animals under the following conditions:

  • Helpless in a trap, deep snow or water, or on ice.
  • From any power vehicle or power boat.
  • By “jacklighting” or shining at night.
  • By the use of any tranquilizers or poisons.
  • While inside escape-proof fenced enclosures.
  • By the use of any power vehicle or power boats for herding or driving animals, including use of aircraft to land alongside or to communicate with or direct a hunter on the ground.
  • By the use of electronic devices for attracting, locating or pursuing game or guiding the hunter to such game, or by the use of a bow or arrow to which any electronic device is attached with the exception of lighted nocks and recording devices that cast no light towards the target and do not aid in rangefinding, sighting or shooting the bow.
  • Any other condition considered by the Board of Directors as unacceptable.

“After numerous phone calls and emails asking for clarification on the use of cellular trail cameras and other transmitting technology,” said Roy Grace, Records Chair for the Pope and Young Club. “The Pope and Young Records Committee, with assistance from the Boone and Crockett Records Committee, jointly created a policy that should provide hunters with a greater understanding of how this technology can be used in a manner that still provides Fair-Chase.”

For clarification, receiving a wireless image (photo, video, GPS coordinate, etc.), which elicits an immediate (real-time) response, guiding the hunter to the animal would be considered a violation of the Rules of Fair-Chase. This would prohibit that animal from being eligible for entry into the Pope and Young Club’s Records Program. Fair-Chase is defined as the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit of free-ranging wild game animals that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal.

Are cellular cameras pushing it too far when it comes to ethical hunting tactics?

Last Word

What do you think? Are cellular trail cameras giving hunters too much of an advantage? 

Do you use them? Would you? 

Comment below with your thoughts on cellular trail cams, as well as the position the Pope & Young Club and Boone & Crockett Club have taken on them. 

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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