Deer Hunter Uses Facebook to Help Identify Trail Cam Thief

By Hunting NetworkOctober 22, 2014

LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015

Wisconsin deer hunter Jim Johnson seems like your average Joe, a hard worker by day and a lover of all things whitetail and whitetail hunting on the weekends. He’s had twenty years of permission to hunt this gorgeous slice of heaven that sits just over the Illinois border and within the confines of some of southern Wisconsin’s best buck habitat. He’s been thankful and fortunate for such a farm.

About ten years ago something began to stink on this magical piece of dirt Jim loved to chase whitetails on. A thief started coming out of the woods, taking with him treestands, blinds, and no less than ten trailcameras that Jim and several others had worked so hard to attain after working their regular day jobs during the week.  Jim was taking every precaution he could to stop the thief, including locking all the devices to the trees they were set up on, only to find them hacked and cut days later. This went on for years.

After several police reports had failed to produce any leads, Jim decided to fight back the only way he knew how – to fight fire with fire.

The 51 year old, along with a few of the other hunters, went out and bought six additional trail cameras prior to the 2014 deer season. The intent was to have three of the cameras set up just as they normally would appear in any woodlot across North America. The other three cameras were to be placed looking down over the unsuspecting cameras, looking to capture a different sort of prey. The trap was set and like any good hunter knows, it is only a matter of time before a mistake is made by your query. It didn’t take long.

Within three weeks of the placement of the trailcamera trap a theft occurred and Jim got the video he was looking for. However, since Jim didn’t know the name of the perpetrator he decided to let the hunting community aid in the identity of him.

Jim let social media become his platform, posting the trailcamera video of the theft on his Facebook page and asking his friends to share the video with hopes it would go viral. And it did! Within 16 hours of release the video had over 15,000 views and three people had come forward with the identity of the thief. What’s more, Jim did not know any of them.

Jim has learned a lot since the incident occurred, stating, “I recommend anyone who has ever had a trail camera or any other piece of outdoor equipment stolen, file a police report. That was something we didn’t do prior to the last two years. And don’t forget to document all the serial numbers of every piece of equipment left in the woods, engrave those that don’t have serial numbers.”

Trail camera thief caught on video

The suspected thief (whose name has not been released) may be facing charges in trespassing, theft and restitution. While no jail time is likely, the accused may be facing heavy fines following a court date yet to be determined.

The Bowhunting.Com staff and its readers wish to congratulate you Jim on a job well done. Stories like this one are few and far between when these often isolated incidents occur. It’s good to see the good guys win once in a while.

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