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Hunting Technology

By Russ Van Orman

Fleece, Gortex, Scent Control - High Tech MaterialsBy nature, I am not gadget person. I don’t need the latest or greatest to live. However, in the last ten years there has been a silent revolution in hunting equipment technology. This revolution includes everything from the hunting clothes we wear, to the bullets we use, how we harvest our game, etc... Hunting as a sport has evolved exponentially with the technology of today. For example, it wasn’t that long ago that a hunter put some long Johns underneath his jeans, grabbed his red-checkered wool coat and headed to the woods. Sure, that would keep you warm for a while but wet snow or rain would eventually soak you to the bone. Move to the present day, where a hunter can put on scent control long Johns underneath burr proof, quiet waterproof pants.

I have created a list of technology items that every hunter should have. This doesn’t mean you will be any more successful; however, you will be able to hunt harder and longer which leads to a more successful hunt.

Clothing –

Good fleece or fleece/wool combo jackets and pants with Gortex are hard to beat. Top that off with an orange fleece vest and you will have a hunting outfit that will take you through almost all extreme hunting conditions. You can layer underneath with scent control or fleece underwear that will keep you warm or cool depending on your hunting conditions.

Boots with scent control, Gortex and Thinsulate insulation are becoming the norm. Personally, I like boots that are a combination of leather and nylon. This keeps the boots lighter but the leather still provides durability and stability when needed. Remember, the larger the number grams of Thinsulate, the warmer the boot.

Socks made of a wool blend (the higher the percentage of wool the better) are hard to beat.  Underneath that, put a liner sock (not cotton) that will wick the sweat away from your feet. With this proper boot and sock combination you can hunt from -20 to 50 degrees without any discomfort.

Cell Phone –

A cell phone can be an indispensable tool in hunting. You can text your buddies that you have game down or in an emergency contact help. I have just moved up to a “Smart Phone”.  It has an electronic compass and built-in GPS. Most cell phones are capable of taking pictures. Within forty minutes of harvesting my last elk and deer, I had sent pictures of my trophies to friends and family. Two things to remember if you take your cell phone afield: 1.) you’ll need to be in area that has cell phone coverage; and, 2.) put your phone on vibrate so you don’t scare any game. Also, be sure to check with your cell phone provider to see if they cover the area you’ll be hunting in.

GPS –

Hunting with a hand-held GPS will give you confidence.  You will have no doubts in your mind that you will able to return to camp, even in a blinding snow storm. I use a Garmin GPS.  It has many High Tech Gear - Range Finder, GPS, HGPS Micro card, and Cell phoneof the same features as a cell phone except you don’t have to worry about cell coverage. Before I head out to my hunting location, I set a waypoint on my GPS.  This waypoint marks where I started from.  I then turn off the GPS to save batteries and head out to the back country. The only time I will turn the GPS back on is when I either mark where game is down or when I’m headed back to my starting location.

On a recent hunt, a friend harvested a large bull elk about 3 miles from our rig. He got the coordinates where he shot it with his GPS then sent those to us. We came to his aid within 30 minutes.  Without the GPS, it may have been hours before we found him to pack out his elk. 

Another great feature is an add-on micro SD card made by Hunting GPS Maps.  This can be HGPSM - Micro Chipslipped into the micro card slot in your GPS. This is an essential tool for any hunter as it will provide information such as land boundaries between private, state, and federal lands. It will even tell you who owns what property and show back roads and trails.

Optics –

So you think your old optics will work just fine. Well, you’re probably right.  However, technology has brought us optic coatings which highlight and enhance certain color combinations, making game a lot easier to see. I will admit I was a skeptic until I was recently hunting with a friend.  We were both watching a clear cut when he pointed to some deer several hundred yards away. We both had the same power optics except his were coated. I asked if I could compare the two.  Wow! What difference in contrast.  The deer stood out much better with his binoculars. I was sold.

Range Finder –

This is one tool I waited until two years ago to acquire. Why? That is a good question. I use a Leupold TBR. It compensates for the incline or decline of the slope and provides an accurate range every time. It has made a difference in my hunting by providing accurate instant feedback from which to make adjustments with my scope; therefore, increasing my accuracy at a distance.

Bow –

Bows are made of lighter stronger composite material. The right bow can be accurate up to 100 yards with the right optics. That was unheard of ten years ago.

Rifle –

Up until the time I purchased my Weather Warrior; I was traditionalist when it came to hunting rifles. All my rifles had nice walnut stocks and the barrels were blued……No more. A composite stock with a stainless steel barrel is just as accurate if not more so and less maintenance is required. I now ask myself “why did I wait so long to change?” A good friend sold all his traditional rifles and purchased Weather Warriors to replace them. A wood stock looks great but functionality rules when it comes to hunting.

Bullets –

If someone is spending hundreds of dollars to go on hunting trip, why would they purchase cheap ammo? That is a good question. However, I have seen it time and time again where a person skimps on the ammo only to miss or wound the animal. I am not saying that the right bullet will
 Polymer tipped bullets

make you more accurate but it will give you confidence in your shot placement. Technology has brought us polymer tip bullets which provide deeper penetration, better expansion and a flatter trajectory providing great accuracy and exceptional stopping power. My first experience with these bullets was hunting elk with my 30-06. I changed over from a Nosler partition to an Accu-bond bullet following advice from an outfitter friend of mine.  With the change, I double lunged a large 6X6 bull at 380 yards. The bull went twenty yards then dropped. Both of these bullets are good rounds but technology made a good round even better.

Technology has enhanced our hunting opportunities by providing us with an evolving means to harvest game. In the next issue of Deep Countree, I will further explore how technology will affect our hunting future.