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Old June 16, 2017, 07:06 PM   #1
cjsoccer3
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Is public area trail cam theft common enough to not bother with a cam?

One search of google and it sounds like every trail cam you leave on public land gets "lifted" by a low-life among the hunting crowd.

Does it happen often enough to prevent you from buying a trail cam or using them on public land?

I exclusively hunt public land...
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Old June 16, 2017, 08:19 PM   #2
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It's common in AZ. I haven't bothered with them and that's a big reason.
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Old June 16, 2017, 08:20 PM   #3
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Set up a hidden camera to watch the obvious one?
I dunno since I don't use public land. If I thought this was an issue, I'd be more careful how I accessed the location.
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Old June 16, 2017, 08:29 PM   #4
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Never needed one out West; there you spent the time scouting your area before the season. I would imagine that if it was a favorite area, then things like that might disappear.
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Old June 17, 2017, 01:45 AM   #5
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Most people that run trail cams out west are fairly protective of their preferred locations, don't stick cameras in high-traffic / popular areas, and generally don't have issues.

But the idiots that stick one 300 yards from a hiking trail parking lot...?
Yea, that thing's as good as gone.

Be smart, not lazy.
All will be fine.
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Old June 17, 2017, 08:34 AM   #6
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I helped with the Elk Monitoring program here in Wisconsin for the DNR. Basically.....trail cams on public land. Many of these were close to access roads, some were fairly easy to see when walking by. I never had one taken or molested, nor did the program in general have a problem with either theft or molestation. BUT, the trail cams were in a protective lock box and secured with a heavy duty cable type lock. I had several pictures of folks coming up to and fiddling with the cameras, giving the finger and shooting the moon(cameras were obviously marked as belonging to the DNR, and some had wolf collar receivers attached), but never found one gone or damaged. Take similar precautions and I think one would have similar results. I would first contact the local DNR/F&G to see what the regs are for leaving a trail cam on public land. Here, property intentionally left on public land tends to become public. Leave a tree stand/blind on public land unattended for over 24 hours and it becomes the property of anyone who wants it. Rules like this are so folks don't "stake out" territory in attempt to keep others away. This is why the DNR requires any portable stand left unattended for even a few hours to have the owners name and address attached. Since I don't use trail cams, I don't know what the state's stand on them is on public land. If I were to use 'em, I'd want to know if it was legal to hang them. That said, around here, it seems there is a very high chance of trail cam theft/molestation, even when paced on private land with limited access. My oldest son has a hunting parcel situated right in the middle of several other large tracts whose primary purpose in for hunting by land owners.
All of these are limited access. All have a high incidence of trail cam theft, so much to the point, my son no longer uses trail cams in his woods. He does tho have several monitoring the buildings.
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Old June 17, 2017, 08:52 AM   #7
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Cams and tree stands are stolen. Chains on the tree stands were cut with bolt cutters.
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Old June 17, 2017, 02:51 PM   #8
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The most effective trail camera theft deterrent is to put it high enough in a non-climbable tree so that you need a ladder to get to it. Between the height making it more difficult to even see in the first place and the fact that most people don't go walking in the woods carrying a ladder (or climbing steps) with them, they are more apt to get left alone.

To get to it to service it, carry portable climbing steps.
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Old June 22, 2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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I learned to hunt on public land in central Florida in high school. We built our own tree stands and hiked them in 30-45 minutes from the closest parking area. Every year, we had stands stolen. Chains, cables, master locks, didn't matter.

This was before the advent of game cams. I left Florida for my Air Force adventure 23 years ago. As a total society, we have not become more respectful, moral, or ethical in the last 23 years. If you leave it in the woods, on public land, don't be surprised if it disappears. For some reason, a number of hunters/outdoorsmen lose their moral or ethical compass when they hit the woods.
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Old June 26, 2017, 09:43 PM   #10
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I hunt public game lands exclusively.
There are areas close (10-15 miles) to towns that i don't trust.

In the more rural areas i have not had a problem with my cameras.

Tree stands are another story entirely.
Last year i found out that at least 3 different people were hunting out of my stamd.
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Old June 27, 2017, 10:09 AM   #11
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std7mag:
Quote:
Last year i found out that at least 3 different people were hunting out of my stamd.
In Colorado, you're allowed to put up blinds on public land, but if someone uses your blind, you have to let them.
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Old June 27, 2017, 02:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
In Colorado, you're allowed to put up blinds on public land, but if someone uses your blind, you have to let them.
Yep.
And if you leave a stand, camera, etc. for more than 72 hours (less in some areas), it is fair game for anyone to grab it and walk away.
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Old June 27, 2017, 03:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Yep.
And if you leave a stand, camera, etc. for more than 72 hours (less in some areas), it is fair game for anyone to grab it and walk away.
It would seem reasonable that unless some jurisdiction had some law covering the status of trail cams on public lands, that at some point it would be considered to be abandoned property.
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Old June 27, 2017, 04:34 PM   #14
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I've seen cameras in the public lands of Wisconsin and usually just walk by them doing my best bigfoot impression.

I did once remove a pop up blind from public land because it was at the corner of the property in a pile where I know the guy had it in a different location. I popped it up and it looked like it had been slashed. After maybe a month I finally found the owner but by then I threw it away. The owner had trail cam footage of someone slashing it and knocking it down.

He also sent me a few nice pictures of a big buck on the property.

Last year I experimented with trail cams and the biggest problem I had on private land was cold weather killing the batteries or cold weather making the battery less potent till the woods warm up.
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Old June 27, 2017, 10:35 PM   #15
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I had 5 treestands stolen from trees on private property owned by a co-worker many years ago. I designed a locking device and had it made by a machine shop. Never lost another stand.
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Old June 27, 2017, 11:30 PM   #16
old roper
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doofus47, Colorado hunting on public only deals with Colorado State Wildlife areas and this is what they allow.


To establish a permanent structure or plant veg-etation. Only portable blinds and tree stands for big-game or waterfowl hunting can be erected on SWA and no earlier than 30 days prior to the season for which they will be used. No nails can be driven into trees. Man-made materials for blinds or stands must be removed within 10 days after the season in which they are used ends.
Any other portable blind or tree stand must be removed at end of the day they are used.
The owner’s Customer Identification Number and dates of use must be visible on the outside of portable blinds or underside of tree stands. Placement of blinds or stands does not reserve them for personal use, they may be used by the public on first-come, first-served basis.

I know some SWA that let you use blind but you have to remove it each day.

Colorado has no say on hunting NF/BLM public land here.

This be my 40th year hunting Co and I've only seen one factory blind in NF, most are man made.
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Old June 28, 2017, 07:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
I had 5 treestands stolen from trees on private property owned by a co-worker many years ago. I designed a locking device and had it made by a machine shop. Never lost another stand.
Your locks worked so well that none of mine have been stolen in Texas, either.
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Old June 28, 2017, 09:50 PM   #18
std7mag
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Doofus,
I say NUTS to that!!
Sure, you can hunt here, but you'll have to exvuse me while i take it down, pack it up, and am never seen there again.
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Old June 29, 2017, 01:42 AM   #19
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Doofus,
I say NUTS to that!!
Sure, you can hunt here, but you'll have to exvuse me while i take it down, pack it up, and am never seen there again.
Unless some attitude comes into play...

"Sure. But... This blind has been here since Tuesday [4 days], which means it is abandoned property. As such, it is now mine. So, if you pack it up, I'll be forced to call the Sheriff and report the theft of my property."

Or, if you want the Colorado version:
"Alright. You go ahead and pack it up. I'll call a game warden and report you for interfering with a legal hunt."


Either way... There is no 'winning'. It's a lose-lose-lose situation.

Better option:
Don't set up a stand/blind on public land out west.
Beat feet and cover some ground the Western way. In this part of the country, it's almost universally a better option, anyway.
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Old June 29, 2017, 05:27 AM   #20
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How did this go from trail cams to tree stands?
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Old June 29, 2017, 12:27 PM   #21
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roper is right; I was just pointing out that there wasn't an expectation of personal ownership to something planted on public land. I wasn't advocating taking anyone else's gear.

I have seen blinds on NF land, so... Expectation, regulation, reality are only slightly related ideas.
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Old June 29, 2017, 09:03 PM   #22
old roper
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doofus47, Colorado has no say on NF land as to blinds/trail cams. Units I hunt, FS shut access roads end of third hunts season (mid Nov) till June 15 next year.
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Old June 30, 2017, 09:34 AM   #23
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Here's an idea. Go attach a $100 bill to a tree and leave it. Sure to learn something from that!
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Old June 30, 2017, 10:18 AM   #24
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Don't leave your stuff on public property?
EDIT: that sounds hostile. Let me restate. Its public property therefor expectations you'll keep property that could be considered abandoned there should be minimal.

Last edited by zincwarrior; June 30, 2017 at 10:48 AM.
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Old June 30, 2017, 03:10 PM   #25
Deer hunter88
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I've never had a trail camera stolen on public land but one year someone did steal my memory card out of one of my cameras but didn't steal the camera.
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