Hunter with a cell phone

Have Cell Phones Ruined Hunting?

Brandon Wikman 10.12.2015

Face-to-face conversations have become irrelevant due to the overwhelming technology that conveniently sits in the palm of our hand. New age innovation is drastically changing the way we live with each introduction of must-have applications that promise to “connect our world,” however, these gizmos have done nothing more than distance our reality to everyday life – as well as treestand sits.

As we continue to click download, we progressively advance even further away from the world we live in. The only “in-touch” we feel to society is the one in front of our keyboard. Many feel as if there’s something to truly gain from the proliferation of modern day electronics. Yet, the only real update our phones have offered us is the server error to our quality of life.

Hunter with a cell phoneCan you last an entire hunt without checking your mobile device?

Last fall I mindlessly thumbed through my cell phone actively reading Facebook Posts while pulling an all day rut hunt. This was the time of year I look forward to most and endlessly dream about. As my mind warped into the latest trending articles on my newsfeed and hands cuffed my entertainment box, I spotted a flash of the buck I’ve been chasing all season trot past me within shooting range. My eyes burst open as if someone hit me in the back of the head with a frying pan. I was completely caught off guard and watched my opportunity dissipate into the dimming echo of crunching leafs. I had a better chance at pitching a split finger fastball to the buck’s head with my phone than grabbing my bow off its tree hook. The soul devouring pest that seems like my lifeline contaminated any chance I had at coming home with a deer that day by veering my focus to other things that honestly didn’t even matter to me.

It’s moments like this that corrode the intimacy of being one with Nature. Whether it’s Facebooking, SnapChatting or playing Candy Crush – the over infused technology often serves more as a barrier than an escape. And an escape is the essence of why we venture afield in the first-place. The sole purpose of hunting to most outdoor enthusiasts is to find peace within their self. Away goes the stress of work. Doubts of making this month’s rent vanish. And for that subtle moment in life, we finally feel fulfilled and at total ease. Words of solitude, tranquility and serenity come to my mind. Yet, we aren’t always feasting our eyes on wildlife while in the woods, but rather who “LIKED” our treestand selfie. Why?

Hunting SnapChatA typical SnapChat one may receive from a bored hunter.

So, what exactly is it that makes powering off a cellphone so challenging to people? Is it that we are afraid of missing something? Or has it become so second nature that we don’t even realize our wrongdoing in the first place? I find it completely hypocritical that we spend all year preparing ourselves to hunt, but once it’s finally there, we quickly lose concentration in our treestand and drift to other things that keep our zany mind amused. Maybe it’s the way our culture bred us – instant gratification meets zero patience.

Imagine hunting without a cellphone. Honestly, ask yourself if you could handle it. My generation was practically raised with cell phones at birth and they’ve evolved into an external limb of our very own hand. There aren’t many people these days that don’t have a bulging pocket stuffed with a device. Smartphones may increase entertainment to our days, but, in the long run, I believe they damage our quality of life. In the material sense, there is no debate that they improve life. Many people run businesses off their phones, staying in touch with people is a click away and current events are seemingly instant. However, with every additional improvement come detrimental spillover costs, which despite not being able to be seen directly for the most part, overall counteract the benefits of carrying them around.   

So… the question still remains. Have cell phones ruined hunting? Perhaps individuals themselves can answer that after evaluating their own mental endurance in the woods. Nonetheless, I think we all have been guilty of “killing time” in a treestand while participating in a passion that we absolutely love. Think about that once again. We kill time with electronics during the time we look forward to most as hunters. Strange… isn’t it?

This fall, remind yourself to pocket the device and embark on the original social networking that can be accomplished one-on-one with nature.


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