Not recommended. The tape mechanism can make enough noise to spook your subjects. Too bad. Good camcorder and archiving is merely locking the tape.
Canon HF M3xx series:
Canon HF S2xx series:
Flash memory - moving parts limited to zoom motor. But it is AVCHD. Too bad - lots of compression. Archiving video can mean RAID1 hard drive array systems.
At least the lenses are bigger - the HF S 200 has a 58 mm filter diameter. This a large among consumer cams. Only single imaging chips, though.
The other IR limitation is line of site. If the camcorder is hidden in a blind, covering the camcorder with only exposing the lens can cover the IR sensor on the camcorder. Auto focus could have issues, too.
You still do not know what the camcorder sees. Running a cable for the video will be required - At 15-20 feet, HDMI or AV are fine. I use a Sony 8.5" portable DVD player with AV-in as a monitor. The battery lasts 5+ hours since the DVD mechanism is not used. In all of the above cases, as long as the camcorder is ON - that is, it has not timed out and fallen asleep, you can capture stills in the "still camera mode by pressing the button on the remote. If the camcorder is recording, pressing photo will also capture a still to the memory card.
If you want to stay with Canon - and your budget can deal with it, the standard definition GL2 and high definition XHA1 miniDV camcorders have a LANC - wired remote - port. Yes, making an extension is easy - I use a 20 foot extension I made with 2.5mm stereo male and female jacks and shielded cable from Radio Shack. They can be purchased pre-made, too. bhphotovideo carries various lengths.
Since you have gone though all this, how about a remote controlled pan/tilt device? For small cameras, the Bescor MP-101? The motors might be a bit noisy...
From Sony, in the higher-end consumer cams, there's the HDR-HC9 miniDV tape unit (no LANC; noisy tape mechanism for your needs)
http://www.docs.sony.com/release/HDRHC9.pdf IR remote on page 106.
and the HDR-CX550V flash memory cam (no LANC)
http://www.docs.sony.com/release/HDRCX550V_handbook.pdf has the IR remote on page 123.
These Sonys have two interesting items the Canons do not... NightShot and SmoothSlowRecord, but neither is controllable from the IR remote (or any LANC).
LANC is available in the HDR-FX7 (noisy tape mechanism for your needs)
Page 123 for the IR remote; page 119 for the LANC location.
as well as the HVR-HD1000 and HVR-A1... and pretty much any other camcorders in the Sony Pro line up.