March 16, 2023
By Dale Evans
On March 9, 2023, the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks voted to prohibit use of both cellular and conventional trail cameras on all public lands in the state. This move aligns them with a growing number of states banning trail camera use in some capacity. A unanimous decision from the seven-member commission chose to apply the year-round ban, with the ruling taking effect prior to this fall.
Commissioner Gerald Lauber says, “There are some deleterious issues when it comes to trail cameras. Cameras are used to spy on other hunters. And some people recoil from seeing a camera. They’re private. They don’t want to have somebody take their picture and then have it on Facebook.”
A number of hunters voiced disapproval of the year-round ban and asked for consideration of just an in-season ban. One avid public-land user expressed his concerns stating, “If fair chase is really a concern, we ought to be considering a ban on private land as well.”
Ultimately, the commission went with an “all or nothing” approach. The commission states, “If we’re going to have a regulation, we need to be able to enforce it as effectively as possible. It would be a lot simpler from an enforcement standpoint to have all or nothing.”
Though Kansas is only comprised of about 3 percent of public land, the ban directly applies to all KDPW lands — roughly 300,000 acres of Wildlife Areas — as well as the nearly 1.5 million acres of private property enrolled in Kansas’ Walk-in Hunting Access Program.