Technology, hunting and fair | Sports

Would you agree that most hunters consider themselves hardy and self-sufficient? We engage in an ancient activity (some would call it a sport, some wouldn’t) where we chase wild animals and kill them.

Now, I know that’s a striking thing to say this early on while some of you are having 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 let it be known.

Assuming that some of us hunters might think of ourselves as modern day Jeremiah Johnstons, one would have to live in a cave or under that proverbial rock we always talk about not to see that modern technology can and does affect our way of hunting. All you have to do is pick up a catalog of hunting supplies or turn on one of the thousands of hunting and shooting related videos to see what’s out there for the hunter. Trail cameras, satellite-connected mapping apps and telemetry devices are just a few of what’s available.

Hunting arrows with a built-in tracking device, scopes that let you dial in long-range shots at animals, and aerial drones are all waiting in the wings for you to check out.

It’s impossible to talk about these advancements in hunting technology without someone bringing up the old debate about what’s right. What is fair and what is not in the hunt can be sworn and discussed until all the cattle (cows) come home and more. More on that later.

The application of satellite mapping device, showing topographic features and property boundaries of public and private lands, might be the most useful innovation for hunters for many years.

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

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

OnX is probably the most widely used hunting-related mapping application.

One of the reasons I know it’s good and accurate is that it’s widely used by game wardens across the country to determine property boundaries at a glance.

As always, whenever we discuss things in the field of hunting and technology, the subject of the trail camera has to raise its head.

Recently, the Utah State Department of Game and Fisheries saw fit to ban the use of trail cameras for hunting. If I understand correctly, Arizona did the same thing not too long ago.

Apparently Utah did a survey of hunters in the state (I was told there were only about 2,000 participants) and the result was pretty close.

Only around 52% of respondents said they would like trail cameras to be regulated in some way for use by hunters.

Then when the Utah Wildlife Council voted on the matter, there was a 3 to 3 tie between the council members and the tie was broken, on the side of the camera banning of track, by the vote of the chairman of the board.

Now, I know the Utah Wildlife Board doesn’t want some back-east hillbilly telling them how to run their railroad.

But I submit to you that the above procedure is not the way to run a railroad, or wildlife and hunting decisions.

As stated earlier, we could argue about the trail camera issue until the trumpet sounds with probably little result.

From my point of view, the trail camera column has more advantages than disadvantages. The trail camera allows us to see what is happening in the area and what animals are around, without a doubt.

Is this undue advantage detrimental to the resource? I don’t think, I’ve heard more than one rabid big buck hunter say that if anything, the trail cam keeps more deer than it needs. If the hunter sees that an outstanding buck is in the area, he may refrain from taking any more deer until the big boy appears.

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

I would say that just seeing a deer in pictures is not a big plus. If you check your photos a week later and see Mr. Big, do you think you’ll get in the pit and send him off to his reward an hour later? No, pilgrim, that will not happen. As for trail cameras connected to the cell phone, so you see an image on the phone where Mr. Big has just trot past the camera.

Are you going to leave the house or office, goof around your booth area and proceed to collect your monstrous cash? No, that won’t happen.

So put me down because the trail cam does more good than harm, plus they’re just plain fun to play. You see what’s in the area, and it’s more than deer. Turkeys, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels and everything in between. This hunting stuff is supposed to be fun, remember?

So here we are again, out of time and space, and we haven’t yet touched on what is right. From past discussions, you may recall that I believe it is difficult to monitor the hunt closely.

Hunting animals with aircraft and motor vehicles, no doubt, is excluded. I would have no problem not using all the new flying drone technology. I think the various forms of wildlife baiting could be questioned before trail cameras. (Remember I’ve always said that if baiting is legal in your state and you want to do it, go for it.)

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

All of that, plus guns and other things that we humans make it all pretty murky.

As I told you before, how are we going to become as fair as possible for animals? Are we going to resort to wearing a loincloth and a pointed stick?

Trust me, you don’t want me and my chase buds showing up on your trail cam like this.

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