GPS units didn’t exist when I was growing up hunting the big woods, at least not for the average civilian.
I always relied on things like paying attention to the land as I walked and making mental notes about a certain rock formation or stand of trees. Distant mountain peaks were committed to memory and when asked where the meat was the answer was always something like “just over the hill” or “not too far but pack a lunch”. I always carried a map and compass but rarely used it.
It seems that many modern day hunters these days can’t walk anywhere without an electronic device strapped to their person. As if replacing the human mind with graphics and way points isn’t bad enough, now these GPS units are telling on me. I can no longer guess the distance wrong because some electro gadget transmitting signals from outer space gives exact distances ruining my chances for help packing out next year. At least they are given after the fact so I’m still able to convince new friends to help each year. Maybe that’s the real issue I have with GPS’s, they’re forcing me to be nicer to people.
The days of hiking through the woods to elk quarters and guessing the distance to be three miles when it’s actually five are over. But I’ve still got one thing going for me, I don’t have to mark my location with a gadget. I still employ the flagging method just to aggravate my techno-savvy friends. I get questions like “How are you going to find your quarters without a GPS?!” and “What? You don’t have the spot marked?!”. The answer is well no, not with a gadget. I prefer to remember where the quarters are. I like paying attention to the details of the forest and the landscape and I don’t want to rely on technology to remember for me. When I say things like this it’s like I’m speaking in terms of Chinese algebra.
Then I get to hear statements like “Uhhmmm, you said it’s three miles and we’ve already hiked five.”
At least they are already committed at that point, and so far no one has turned back before strapping a quarter to his back. “Honest mistake” I say. “I didn’t bring a GPS, and if you didn’t have one it would still be just three miles.”
Good thing it isn’t my fault. Stupid GPS’s…