This Monday as I pulled into Columbia Falls after a weekend bowhunting, my phone starting pinging relentlessly. I had five voicemails, 12 text messages and a couple dozen emails, highlighting the reason I tend to try to hang out in wooded areas that have no cell service when hunting.
It can be hard to enjoy being outdoors if work, friend or family keep calling. Unplugging helps recharge the batteries, and while some people aren’t happy I don’t immediately respond, the world has yet to end because of it.
My 14-year-old cousin in Texas laughed as I texted her a photo of how gorgeous the North Fork was over the weekend and a picture of a grouse I had gotten with my bow.
“Beautiful, but do you have Snapchat?” she said, inquiring about a picture app on the iPhone.
“I don’t. I can’t figure out how to install it,” I replied.
The thought of a mid-20’s millenial not having Snapchat sent her into a fit of giggles.
Truth be told, I probably could figure out Snapchat, I just prefer to be a technology ogre when it comes to stuff I don’t care about.
Hunting is something I do care about, and technology actually can be a great helper. When a friend showed up at the house with his first black bear last spring, he was grinning from ear to ear, but neither of us had any idea how to clean it. He watched a 20-minute YouTube tutorial and away he went. The bear made it into the freezer without incident. Similarly, when I killed my first grouse this weekend, I had no idea what to expect when cleaning it, nor did the gal I had gone hunting with. She is also an out-of-stater. But 10 minutes on YouTube and the groue was ready for the skillet.
What could have been a barrier to trying something new just melted away because of knowledge that’s available on the internet. I did some more purusing to see what else technology could offer as I headed back into the woods.
Some handy apps to have include:
SAS Survival Guide: This app includes 400 pages of survival tips and material in the event something goes wrong. It’s based off of a written by former SAS soldier and instructor John “Lofty” Wiseman. It comes with a compass and first aid section I hope I never have to use, but I feel bettter knowing it’s on my phone.
Scout Look App: This app lets you tag your hunting location and get weather reports specifically for that area. It also has layers that help project the anticipated wind pattern and direction scent will travel. Duck hunters can use it to figure out where quackers will land in the next couple of days.
Shooting Hours: This app eliminates the need to keep track of time by basically being an alarm that makes your phone go off once hunting time winds down. It also come with moon phase, sunrise, and sunset data.
Act in Nature Hunting: This nifty app lets you see the location of other hunters within three miles and allows you to take notes. You can mark maps with where you last saw blood or where you left your vehicle or blind.
It’ free and has been used more than 1,000,000 times.
Primos Hunting Calls: This app has a dual purpose. You can use it if your call falls while climbing up in a treestand and you don’t want to go back down and get it, or you can hone your skills by practicing mimicking the recorded sound.
There are millions of apps out there for folks and hundreds available for hunters. While hearing the cell phone vibrate during the middle of a hunt might be intrusive, taking the iPhone or Android along isn’t inherenlty a bad idea because sometimes it comes in handy.