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Volume 4 Number 1 Winter 2012

To Tech or Not to Tech?
Ben Scofield- Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

That is a question on the mind of many hunters. For every hunter asking his or herself this question, there are probably two opinions about it. Strong opinions. How much tech is too much? All states outlaw the use of things like night vision and spot lights for deer because of the unfair advantage that it gives to the hunter and every ethical hunter I know believes this is in the sport's best interest. But what about those things that are legal?

We all know those bow hunters that like to give gun hunters a hard time, contending that there is no sport in being able to shoot an animal at hundreds of yards away. Yet many of those same hunters are unwilling to follow their thought process to its logical conclusion and switch to purely traditional methods.

 The technology and hunting industries have provided us with things like:

Discussions seem to turn sour when one hunter begins to deride the decisions of other hunters, passively insisting that everyone possess their opinion. The truth is that, except for the very small percentage of hunters out there that are making their own bows (and even they use modern clothing), we are all using technology to a degree. So insisting to everyone around us that our use of technology is the appropriate one just sounds foolish to those that approach the topic with common sense.

While “high fence” ranches are not necessarily the same as high tech hunting gadgets, I believe they're divisive for the same reason, and often for the same people. I was recently reminded of that divided group as I was reading several comments on the Facebook page of a popular hunting magazine. The topic at hand was whether or not a certain state should allow “high fence” hunting ranches. Out came the army of haters, lobbing pretty brutal insults at anyone that would consider using such a service.

I've never understood that point of view and have always wondered: Why? Why is it not OK for someone to pay to have a good hunt? The same people that will argue against “high fence” hunting ranches will be the first to tell you that it's all about having fun in the woods. But what if, for some, that is how they have fun? After all, that is the point, right?

While the hunting industry is not in a serious decline, it's probably safe to say that it's at a pivotal point. Surely part of this is because the accessible technology for the last couple of decades has captured the attention of young people. As our youth spend more time in front of their Xboxes, computers, cell phones, and interwebs, they've not developed the same kind of appreciation for nature as previous generations.

Since I argue in and out for both sides, technophiles and technophobes, let me explain my point. I believe that the opening up of the hunting community to the technological age is a good thing. Actually, I take that back. I think it's a great thing. I think it's great because it will help to meet people where they are. Do I think that people need motion sensors on deer trails to notify them when a deer is walking by? Nope! But I'm in favor of it if will get someone out in the woods. Do I think that people need to pay for a week-long hunt at a high-fence ranch? Nope, at least not most! But I'm all for it because it's supporting the hunting industry. Do I think that people should be strictly scouting using GPS and satellite imagery? Not really, but I know that they'll end up in the woods in the long run and likely figure out that there's no substitute for having your boots on the ground. Do we need pictures from game cameras? No. But they help me to stay motivated when I know what's out there.

Traditional ArcheryTo me, it's about meeting people where they are. If we truly believe what we've heard from professional hunters for years about being confident in our fishing lures, bows, broadheads, and rifles, then we should be in favor of new technology that makes people confident enough to get into the woods. Nature truly is better than technology. But there's nothing wrong with merging of the two, especially if it's going to get people to appreciate nature for the first time. So let's make an effort to not turn technophiles into technophobes just because that's what we're more comfortable with. Meet people where they're at and introduce them to nature.

And, for the record, I am a former computer game addict, current technophile and gadget geek. A software developer by trade, a hunter by passion, and I don't use lots of technology while hunting.



coyote

Winter Patrol
Steve Bemke - Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

I sat still and looked over a heavily wooded creek bottom from atop a hill. Across from me, the hillside rose high up into a dense thicket of cedars that choked off any chance of light from the gray skies above. My gut told me, what I was after was hiding somewhere up there, and I was going to have to coax him out if I was going to get my shot. The stillness of the frozen air amplified the slightest of sounds, and I was about to shatter any silence that was left.

I placed the cold reed from my call against my cracked lips, took a breath and screamed a long interrogation howl into the dense woods. I waited several seconds and followed up with cries from a distressed cotton tail. Silence fell again. I strained to see across the creek valley, but nothing moved. The cedars stood like a dense wall keeping all it contained well hidden from any danger.

I reached down and grabbed another call, a pup call, and let out another long howl that tried to pierce the dense cedar wall. Then I reached for my vintage jack-rabbit distress call and let loose a series of whines and screams that crashed into the cedars ahead.

Silence settled in.

I peered across the creek, rifle ready in hand, searching and scanning ahead. Seconds later, a flash broke from the shadows and streaked across the hillside. It stopped and perched atop an ashen boulder buried in the hill side. 100 yards away he stood silent, sentinel like; unmoving and alert, scanning the woods for the source of the disturbance.

I raised my rifle and stared intently through my scope. A single cedar limb hung down over his body obstructing any vitals. A shot was not possible. I waited, but he did not budge, did not blink. He stood frozen, fixated on his curiosity and hunger. I had one last trick to break the stalemate.

With a pucker, I tightened my lips together and sucked in the icy winter air. A shriek, a squeal, emanated across the creek bottom and the stalemate was instantly broken. I struggled to get my crosshairs on him as he raced down the hill through scattered trees and brush. He’ll stop, I thought; wait, and he’ll stop. But no, he was now rapidly crossing the creek, moving up the hill to my right, racing to find a meal, 40 yards…30 yards…20 yards, swiftly closing in.

He was now 10 yard to my right and racing past me now. I quickly found an opening between some trees. Jumping across a log, he fell into my cross hairs. With a sharp blast, it ended.

The report from my rifle lifted. Silence returned; the air still; except for the pounding of my heart. I gazed, head above my scope, amazed at how fast everything has just transpired. The hunt had ended, the sentinel had fallen.

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Nothin to do in February?
Brett Grimm, Heartland Hunters Pro Staff

“I can’t wait till hunting season, there is nothing to do in February…” A man that I considered a true outdoorsman said this to me and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was he serious? Looking at the calendar I see plenty of trapping, predator and goose hunting seasons still open in many states. There is always plenty to do. I may not do much hunting myself in February but it’s now that I get excited for the outdoors, it is a month of planning.

First, February is Food Plot Season, looking over Topo maps for the best areas to plant, ordering seed, and even starting to work the ground or over seeding my clover plots if the weather permits. Property maintenance is an ongoing project, always something that needs fixing or replacing and for some reason a nice day in February and getting out of the house makes these tasks easier. Or maybe you are looking for a new hunting lease? Need to check out those Trail Cams??

Scouting, a fresh layer of snow is perfect time to find Deer travel routes; they practically look like highways in the snow. I know it is sounds early and food sources can change by fall, but travel is travel and fine tuning your bow stand now can pay off huge this fall.

Applications for all the Big Game animals that can only be found out west are on my mind right now and if you are lucky, time to start planning your trip out West for an exciting Hunting Adventure.

Maybe you are ready for the Spring Crappie or the Bass Spawn? No better time than now to inspect your boat and fishing tackle so you are ready for that first nice day to hit your favorite lake or river. Here in Missouri, March 1 st marks the opening of Trout season; remember Felt Soled Waders are outlawed this year in a number of States.

Some are thinking about a new bird dog, spring and summer will allow you plenty of time to get to know and train your dog, whether it’s your year old retriever puppy fetching ducks, which just needs a little more work or a new pointer instinctively locking up like a statue at the slightest whiff of your favorite upland game.

Undoubtedly my favorite part of spring is Turkey Season, no matter if it is here in my back yard of the Missouri Heartland hunting Easterns or out West chasing Merriam’s or Rio Grandes. I like to get my calls out and see if I still have what it takes to call in that boss gobbler. Time to check out the latest gear and see if there is anything I cannot live without.

If you think there is nothing to do in February, maybe you should turn in your “Outdoors Man Card” because, it is an exciting time to start the year over, look to the future and see all that the outdoors has to offer.


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Features include one hand, intuitive remote controller to minimize movement and easy operation, built in quality speaker with amplifier for wind busting sound and immediate sound interrupt. All components store in the rock shaped base. Convenient carry handle attached for easy transport in the field. Includes four adjustable height rods, one tail, four anchors and remote controller. No sound cards required. Built – in sounds include:

Female coyote howl, Coyote food fight, beta-male coyote, house cat, cottontail distress, baby crows, fawn distress, hare, fox pups and jack rabbit. Operates on three D cell batteries (base unit) and two AAA batteries (remote controller).

 

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