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Do You Bring Your Smartphone on the Hunt?

If you use your smartphone on the hunt, what are you missing?

Smartphones and electronic devices have invaded our day to day lives to such an extent that it’s unusual for most of us to go more than five seconds without looking at a screen, scrolling through Facebook statuses, typing out Tweets, checking for updates on our favorite message boards or blogs, browsing news headlines, or refreshing a page to get the latest sports scores.

Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing really wrong with this: we live in a modern age of information and technology. We like to be consistently connected with the people in our lives and the events going on around us, and in many ways, a smartphone is the key that allows such ubiquitous networking. Add the fact that many of us work all day in front of computer screens, and we can hardly be blamed for minimizing our work windows every once in awhile to check personal email or read a funny Buzzfeed article.

However, the question then becomes this: does the smartphone have a place in the hunt? We live our day to day lives so hooked up and tapped in to different technology streams that it no longer even seems weird to maintain those connections while we’re out in the woods.

But are those same connections that enhance our work and home lives taking a toll on the communion with nature that hunting has so long been able to provide?

Of course, going on a hunt without your smartphone isn’t the best idea. It’s always good to have a safety net in case something goes wrong and you find yourself stranded or injured, and a device that you can use to contact the outside world is oftentimes the best safety net you can ask for.

However, many of us have taken to using our phones in the woods the same way we do in other parts of our lives, pulling them out to kill time when nothing is going on, making social media posts when we land or miss a shot, posting pictures of the sunrise to Instagram, or texting buddies to brag about the perfect hunting tree you just found.

While all of this can be fun and can help us catalog and narrate our hunting adventures in ways we have never really been able to, it’s hard not to wonder how the same electronic narrations may be hindering our organic appreciation of the hunt and the natural world around us.

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For one thing, smartphones distract us. Facebook distracts us. Twitter distracts us. Text messages distract us. There’s a reason that teachers frown upon kids using phones during classtime: they feel as if they aren’t getting the full – or sometimes, even partial – attention of their students. If you are using your phone while hunting, there’s a good chance you won’t miss anything. But there’s just as good a chance that you won’t see the buck wandering across the path 20 feet in front of you until it’s too late to formulate a decent shot.

Not that phones can’t also serve as useful tools that help us achieve hunting success. For instance, by keeping track of the weather and the shifting wind patterns on your phone, you can better decide where to situate yourself to avoid revealing your position to sharp-nosed whitetails.

But, a lot of us would do well to take a step back from our phones and enjoy the simplistic brilliance of communing with nature. There’s nothing wrong with a few texts or Facebook statuses, but don’t turn your day in the woods into a communion with a screen. After all, you get enough of that during every other day of your life.

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Do You Bring Your Smartphone on the Hunt?