Smart hunters use smartphones


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Hunting apps

It’s mind boggling to think about how technology has advanced in just the past few years. It was just a few years ago that scouting for waterfowl meant hours behind the wheel and if you had a cell phone, it was for making calls. My, have times changed.

Cell phones have had a place in hunting for some time. I remember calling a buddy to boast about a good day in the goose blinds, or worse, being on the receiving end of one of those calls. The phones also helped in coordinating scouting missions, taking the place of walkie-talkies, or calling for help tracking a wounded animal or bringing it in after being harvested.

Now a new era has taken hold. Phones have become “smart,” even, dare we say it smarter than the person holding it. We are in the time of the smartphone. Chances are, you have one, be it an iPhone, Android or some other type. Today’s phones can do as much as many laptop computers, if not more.

There’s an app for that!

Smartphones have become one of the more important tools in the hunter’s arsenal too. There are many apps (cool computer lingo for applications – programs you download to your phone) that are really great for hunters.

How would you like to have up-to-the-minute weather forecasts for your hunt? No problem. The Weather Channel has a great app. Need help figuring out what kind of duck you’re looking at? There are apps for that from Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited (DU). The DU app also has a sunrise/sunset calculator to make sure you’re as legal as possible.

Other great DU apps help chart migration with real-time entries from hunters across the country and there is even a great interactive journal app to let you track your season.

There are GPS tracking apps, weather apps, ballistics calculation apps, compass apps, moon-phase indicator apps and I think the kitchen sink probably has an app. All of these apps for hunters are pretty handy things to have on your phone and at your fingertips while afield.

Just in case

Protecting your smartphone is vital too. After all, they aren’t cheap. Being in the duck blind, however, isn’t always the best environment for technology, Have no fear. Great cases for phones are available from OtterBox. They offer the protection you need. OtterBox’s are available in Realtree camo too. Pretty cool stuff! And I know what you’re thinking. A camo phone case? It’s not really for extra concealment in the field, it’s more for a lifestyle. I wear camo when I’m not in the field, and I have a Realtree MAX-4 case for my iPhone.

The OtterBox Armor Series case is a great choice for hunters too. Not only is it tough as nails, like other OtterBox products, but it is waterproof too. When I’m slogging it out through a marsh chasing greenheads, I don’t want to risk my expensive phone.

OtterBox camo phone cases

Follow the rules

And it’s not just apps. Most smartphones allow for web browsing. This is a really nice feature, especially if you find yourself unsure of a regulation. Most all of us read up every year to make sure we know what is new for the season, but sometimes it’s much better to double check.

If you don’t know your state’s wildlife management website, a simple Google search will return the results. You can also find links to all the state information as well as sunrise and sunset charts, tidal and river flow information at www.hardcore-brands.com/blog. As a waterfowl hunting fanatic, I need a lot of information to make sure I’m not only following the state, but also the Federal regulations. The Hard Core site is one of my favorites because the information is all organized and easy to find and navigate.

Scouting smarter

Scouting now has gotten very high tech. Smartphone evolution continues to come up with new tools we never knew we needed before, but for some reason, now can’t live without. Apps for phones allow us access to all kinds of data that can either help you as a hunter, or bog you down, depending on your point of view.

I, for one, am usually tied to my iPhone and use it constantly while hunting to check shooting hours, wind directions, etc. I do have to admit, however, there was a part of me that smiled when Phil Robertson threw his grandkids’ phones off into the woods.

Killing time, and other things

There’s one other thing that I find my smartphone invaluable for when it comes to hunting season. I’m not ashamed to admit it that I kill time with it. There are a ton of fun games and other things to do with them. You can download books and catch up on your literary background while spending time in the treestand. I may be wrong, but something tells me Hemingway would get a kick out of it to learn that hunters today could read one of his great novels while out in the great outdoors on something that can fit in your pocket.

And we can’t forget social media. We can now brag instantly! Smartphones may be expensive, but getting to run a bruiser buck, banded duck, monster elk, huge fish, or any other trophy in your buddies’ faces moments after you make the shot or reel it in is totally worth it.

Last deer season, I harvested a decent buck. I posted pictures to Facebook and bragged to my buddies. Just a few moments later, I got a message from one of my best friends. He harvested a bigger buck than I did. To think, it used to take all afternoon for that to happen.



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Derrek Sigler

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