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Delaware bans trail cameras for recreational use in state wildlife areas, forests, and parks

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

Trail cameras for recreational use are now banned in state wildlife areas, state forests, and state parks.

DNREC and Delaware’s Department of Agriculture made the move after an extensive review and discussion. The ban is effective immediately.

Pat Emory is the director of DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. He says there have been complaints about the cameras.

"We started getting some complaints from some of the other hunters out there and individuals who are out there just enjoying and non-consumptive users just enjoying wildlife areas about ownership and exclusive use. They felt there were privacy issues when they're out walking and see these cameras up, and then there was other ones who felt somewhat intimidated when they go into a wooded area or forest area for hunting purposes and planned on going to a certain area for whatever reason and they started seeing a lot of different cameras in different locations," said Emory.

Factors leading to the ban include acknowledgement trail cameras are a technological advancement in hunting and used successfully by many hunters for harvesting deer.

Other reasons for the ban include illegal activities such as cutting and removing vegetation to install cameras, and trail cameras interfering with habitat management and maintenance.

The trail camera ban is only for state lands.

"This ban is only on public lands, state public lands here in Delaware, it has nothing to do with private lands,” said Emory. “So if you're leasing something, own something you certainly are welcome to put cameras up as many as you want."

The ban continues a new trend. Prime Hook and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges already prohibit trail cameras. Five other states also ban recreational-use trail cameras on public land, and several others are considering a ban.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.