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Technology, hunting and what is fair | Sports

Would you agree that most hunters consider themselves hardy and independent? We engage in an age-old activity (some would call it a sport, some wouldn’t) in which we track and kill wild animals.

Well, I know that’s a flashy thing to say so early while some of you are drinking coffee and Cheerios, and you might not want to hear it. But hunting involves killing, and I think it’s best to be honest and just get it out there.

On the premise that some of us hunters see ourselves as modern day Jeremiah Johnstons, you’d have to live in a cave or under that proverbial rock we keep talking about not to see modern technology changing the way we hunt , can and does influence. All you have to do is grab a hunting supplies catalog or tune in to one of thousands of hunting and shooting videos to see what’s out there for the hunter. Trail cameras, satellite-linked mapping applications, and rangefinders are just a few of the devices available.

Hunting darts with built-in trackers, scopes that let you shoot animals at long range, and aerial drones are all waiting for you to take a look.

It’s impossible to talk about these technological advances related to hunting without someone bringing up the old debate of what is fair. What is fair and what is not fair in the hunt can be scolded and debated until all the cattle (cows) come home and then some. More on that later.

The satellite-based mapping application, which shows topographical features and property lines for public and private land, is perhaps the most useful innovation for hunters in many years.

OnX Hunt is one of the mapping applications that you can install on your phone and computer. This handy tool shows property lines for public land, private land, roads and trails, and many other features. OnX Hunt was developed by Eric Siegfried in 2009 to help hunters find boundaries and access public lands.

OnX Hunt started as a chip and in 2016 became an application for your phone and computer.

OnX is probably the most widely used mapping app for hunting.

One reason I know it’s good and accurate is because it’s widely used by game wardens across the country to determine property lines at a glance. www.onxmaps.com

As always when we discuss things in the hunting and tech space, the subject of the game camera needs to raise its head.

Recently, the Utah State Wildlife and Fish Administration saw fit to ban the use of trail cameras for hunting. As far as I know, Arizona did the same thing not too long ago.

Reportedly, Utah conducted a poll of hunters in the state (I’m told there were only about 2,000 participants) and the result was pretty close.

Only about 52 percent of respondents said trail cameras should be regulated in any way for hunter use.

Then, when the Utah Wildlife Board voted on the matter, there was a 3-3 tie between the board members, and the tie was broken by the board chairman voting for the wildlife camera ban side.

Now I know that the Utah Wildlife Board doesn’t want a hillbilly from the east telling them how to run their railroad.

But I want to tell you that the above procedure is not the way to run a railroad or make decisions about wildlife and hunting.

As mentioned earlier, we could discuss the wildlife camera issue until the trumpet sounds with likely minor results.

From my point of view, the wildlife camera column has more pluses than minuses. With the wildlife camera we can without a doubt see what is going on in the area and what animals are nearby.

Does this unfair advantage harm the resource? I don’t think I’ve heard more than one rabid bigbuck hunter say that the game camera conserves more deer than it needs. If the hunter sees that an exceptional buck is in the area, he can wait to catch other deer while waiting for the big boy to appear.

And as most hunters know, Mr. Big may never see the light of day.

I would argue that just because you see a deer in pictures it’s not a huge benefit. If you review your pics a week later and see Mr. Big, do you think you’ll climb into the stands and send him to his reward an hour later? No, pilgrims, that will not happen. As for the wildlife cameras connected to the phone, there is a picture on the phone where Mr. Big just trotted in front of the camera.

Are you going to leave the house or office, stumble into your booth area and continue collecting your monster dollar? No, won’t happen.

So put me down, because the wild camera does more good than harm, plus it’s just plain fun to play with. You see what’s around, and that’s more than deer. Turkeys, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels and anything else that comes along. This hunting thing is supposed to be fun, remember?

So here we are again out of time and space and haven’t addressed what is fair. You may remember previous discussions. I guess it’s hard to think of the hunt as fair.

Hunting animals with planes and motor vehicles is out of the question. I would have no problem not using all of the new flying drone technology. I think the different forms of wildlife baiting might come into question in front of wildlife cameras. (Remember I always said if baiting is legal in your state and you want to do it, do it.)

The fact is, boys and girls, it’s hard to talk about what’s “fair” when talking about hunting. We are humans, the animals we hunt are not. Most of us (not all) are naturally more brain-powered than these animals. We also have these things we call thumbs.

All of this, along with the guns and other things we humans have, makes the whole “fair” thing pretty grim.

As I told you before, how do we be as fair as possible to the animals? Will we resort to wearing a loincloth and carrying a sharp stick?

Trust me, you don’t want me and my hunting buddies showing up on your trail cam like that.

Larryocase3@gmail.com

www.gunsandcornbread.com