Good post. Thanks for posting your thought process too.I am kind of in the middle here...I do use trail cams, but in a deliberately limited way...because of personal feelings about fair chase. I REALLY like to be able to know whether or not a particular buck is alive, or not, and/or active on our property. BUT...we do not check nearly as often while in season and sometimes not at all during the hunting season. I have not pursued a "live" cam where pics are sent to my email, etc. BUT...I did have a neighbor sending pics to me last year, from his nearby property, so I did kind of have a "live" aspect going.
I like knowing about bucks and tracking them through the years, but I have never used the cams for up to the minute, I will change where I was planning on hunting based upon fresh pics. Probably a little conflicted, or even weird, I guess.
It is my personal opinion that I could zero in tightly on a given buck using live cams and then "structure" my hunt(s) to such an extent that I could nail Mr. Big pretty much every year on my farm. Only I don't really do it that way. I like some element of surprise and suspense too. And while I still will shoot the darn things...I don't get too worked up if I don't. (Years ago I would turn myself inside out to get a nice buck and be 3/4 miserable in the process of doing it. ) I guess it all depends...
My last archery hunt to New Mexico, guys on 4 wheelers were blasting up and down forest service roads, stopping to bugle here and there. The bull elk were silent. Gee, I wonder why? Might need to ban 4 wheelers on public as well?After thinking on it, and doing a little googling, I can see why it happened. AZ is 60+% public land. Many water holes can have anywhere from 5-15 cams on them, guys are checking cams when they know other guys are hunting the area and disturbing their hunt, using a cell cam to instantly see when a bull or buck is in the area and then 4 wheelering into the area to whack it. Lotta people trying to take advantage of cams and the info they provide.