Is an electronic game call cheating?
This is not an easy question to answer, given that the role of hunting has changed so drastically in our society. Most hunters today hunt because they enjoy it, or would like to bring home meat they didn't buy in a supermarket.
For us, new technology simply makes the hunting easier, but neither hunting nor the technology is always necessary.
Our ancestors were forced to develop new technology and hone skills in order to bring home enough meat to feed the family. Bows and arrows were once the pinnacle of modern weaponry. Then the rifle showed up.
We invented camouflage, learned to hide our scents, and even how to mimic animal sounds in order to hide our presence and, better yet, lure our prey into range.
Innovations in farming and ranching, however, have made hunting more of a sport than a necessity, which begs the question: at what point does our continued use of new technology cheapen the sportsmanship of it all?
The electronic game call is one key example of a new technology that is the subject of criticism. Common complaints cite that the electronic calls are pre-recorded, and therefore limited. The batteries are unreliable. The devices are bulky and hard to hide. And, most importantly, it just makes the job too easy.
With a push of a button, the hunter can fill the woods with the sounds of turkeys, magpies, or any of a number of other animals in states of heat, distress, or plain contentment. No skill is required. If hunting has become about the sport, is the electronic game call unsportsmanlike?
Like any such question, the answer is not so simple.
Sure, the electronic game call has its disadvantages, and there are certainly situations in which a mouth call is preferable. That's not to say that the electronic game call doesn't have its uses. With a electronic call device able to store as many as 100 different sounds echoing over long or short distances, it certainly can't be called a useless device.
Moreover, it allows the hunter to focus more intently on movement in the woods and their own position rather than wondering "Am I doing this call properly?"
If used the right way, the electronic game call can be a huge boon for the eager hunter.
The purpose of technology, at the end of the day, is to aid humanity in their endeavors. We invented trains to aid us with transportation. We created new medicines to combat disease. We even made and improved upon the radio, then the television, sheerly for entertainment and information spreading.
Technology has improved nearly every part of our lives. It is only natural that hunting, too, should benefit from new technologies.
Of course, there will always be those who disparage use of new technology in hunting. At the same time, there will be people who say even a mouth call of giving the hunter an unfair advantage.
The only way to truly avoid "cheating" in hunting would be to abandon any newly developed technology at all, from calls to feeders to the cozy campers more than a few hunters like to curl up in at the end of a day's hunt.
Unless the hunter is engaged in a competition explicitly forbidding the use of certain technologies, or hunting in a state where electronic calls are illegal, there is no shame in using them.
Humans are always going to try and improve their experience. New technologies like the electronic game call were invented specifically to aid the hunter.
As long as the hunter comes home with their game and a glowing sense of pride, it doesn't matter whether they used an electronic or mouth call, or even a call at all.
What do you think? Are electronic game calls fair in hunting? Do you use one? Let us know in the comments below.