Curmudgeon alert: Do I need all this stuff?

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I must be older than old. Ancient at least and obsolete at best.

Yes, I walk upright, but, man, I can’t keep up. Please, let me off of this technology whirlwind. Buy me a ticket and put me in the front seat of the next time machine that’s stuck in reverse.

Please, please, please, forgive this rant, but enough is enough.

Scouting for the coming deer season used to be an activity in itself: Looking for tracks, defining active game trails, setting game movement patterns between bedding areas and likely food sources. We even found that we could identify what direction deer traveled by crossing trails with thin black thread that broke as deer passed and then trailed the animal enough as it separated that it marked the direction of travel.

Enter the trail cam

But trail cameras have changed that activity to simply checking a memory card full of digital images. And as the popularity of trail cameras has ballooned, so has the technology built in them. Today, scouting can be as easy as seeing it all on computer or smart phone, the modern version of a pocket-size computer. Easy, quick and transmittable.

Go long

Speaking of hunting, how about the latest western fad of long-distance shooting? I can’t imagine the thrill of killing a deer from a half mile away. It’s not something we see here in Ohio, but it is in the western states where a hunter can shoot from one mountain side to another with custom built rifles, optics and ammunition. Try thinking in terms of 1,000 yards and no hunt involved.

Wait, there’s more

Fishing too, has changed drastically in the last few decades. Anglers can now scan endless offerings of technology-laden gear and obsolete happens by the time one mounts his or her new purchase. We can see underwater in color and detail as if we are there; we can measure oxygen, levels, temperature, pH, and more. We can follow a twisted course, then send that track to our computer that, in turn, prints a map that can be replicated at the push of a button.

We can now buy and wear outdoor clothing that blocks our scent and hides our presence by using some magical electrical field barrier.┬áReally? Wasn’t decent camouflage and an awareness of wind direction enough?

And don’t forget the numerous apps available to smart phone owners: maps, wind speed, trail camera updates, weather radar, travel speed, altitude, GPS coordinates, compass headings, contacts for license add-ons and deer checking, and the list goes on.
One can even make phone calls with these hand-held digital giants.

So goes the rant. We can all be thankful for many of the technical advances that have improved and enhanced our lifestyles, but keeping up is a real chore. At times, one needs to step back and wonder if the latest development is really a good thing.

After all, looking for tracks, fishing blindly and wearing a green plaid shirt can’t be all bad.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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