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Technology in hunting - When not to use it

Range-finding spots

All photo credits: Josh Kirchner

In contrast to the previous article entitled, “Technology in hunting: How to use it best,” it makes sense to also cover the opposite end of the spectrum. Technological advancements are absolutely fantastic. They can be very beneficial at times. Unfortunately, there is another side to that, which would be the wrong hands or uneducated hands? I’m not suggesting that technology is only abused by the bad apples out there. Sometimes, it’s a simple lack of education on a certain matter that causes someone to make unethical decisions when in the field. Some people can be blinded by the glare of possible success and will do anything in order to achieve that. Little do they know that they are missing the point entirely. There are many many things out there that people can abuse, but these are just a few that stick out to me.

Long-range shooting (Irresponsibly)

Shooting bow

In the last piece, I covered how technological advancements have helped us immensely with our shooting accuracy. Modern weapons are more forgiving and easier to shoot overall, making our groups—whether you are shooting a bow or a rifle—way more consistent. That is the name of the game in my opinion with shooting. Consistency kills. However, your consistency on the range should dictate your actions in the field. Sounds completely rational, right? Well, not everyone thinks like that. I have heard more than one story about people lobbing arrows or bullets at insane distances, hoping that they hit their target. That should not be the mindset you take into the field. Of course, things happen, but you should know that you are going to hit those vitals, not hope that you will. Not all shooters are created equal. Know your ability, know your equipment, and act accordingly. Animals are not punching bags for you. They are living breathing beings and deserve the quickest kill we can accomplish.


I will admit that when I heard that there were hunters scouting and/or hunting with the aid of drones, I thought it was a joke. Unfortunately, there were people were actually doing this. Although many states have laws in place to stop people from using drones some believe that laws are made to be broken. I am not and likely never will be a technology purest, but for me, this is too far. Stories of other hunters using drones to locate animals and guiding one another to them are just wrong to me. Hunting is not some video game that you are playing in your living room. It is the purest form of a struggle between life and death and the relationship between predator and prey. It is the most natural thing for us to do. When implementing something like drones to aid our hunt, I really feel like we are dumbing ourselves down to a level where we shouldn’t be and being disrespectful to the game we pursue. Part of the fun is trying to put it all together. That is where I get the most joy: when everything comes together. Pulling the puzzle pieces out of the woodwork and connecting the dots is gratifying for me.

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Tracking devices

Following a blood trail

This is a slippery topic. There are a few companies that have come out with tracking devices to use in order to aid in game retrieval. If you say it like that, then there isn't really a problem, right? Losing an animal is devastating and I don't wish it on anyone. These tracking devices are usually in the form of a nock or some other mechanism that is attached to an arrow. This is really a road that can turn super sketchy or smooth as day. When used right, this could be a great tool. For instance, if you get a pass through on the animal, you will know the location of that arrow. From there, you can read the arrow and make the judgment call of backing out or continuing down the blood trail. This will help you avoid possibly bumping the animal and extending the track. However, I also feel like something like this invites malpractice. I hate thinking that, by the way. Someone could irresponsibly shoot an animal just to get an arrow in them and follow the animal via their phone so they can keep shooting it. It's hard to think people would do such a thing, but I've heard stories of similar practices without the use of the tracking device.

The internet

Here it is again! The topic of the internet! I mentioned this in the previous article on how you can best use technology in the field. Like the other subtitles above, there is another side to the internet. To me, this really stems from laziness paired with desperate people. It is sad that those of us who create content have to worry about scenery shots in our work. It is sad because, as hunters, we see some amazing sights so why wouldn't we want to share them with people? Where am I going with this? On more than one occasion, I have had friends or myself be impacted by people internet scouting our images. They will take note of a certain peak in the area and then find that piece of country on Google Earth. Why work for it on your own when someone else can do it for you, right? Many spots have been compromised this way and it makes me sad. Those of us who have fallen victim to this found these spots by good old fashion hiking and spending time in the field. It is my opinion that you are robbing yourself of greatness by taking this shortcut. Be great.

When it's all said and done

Walking through Arizona's backcountry

When it's all said and done, it's really not about what products or technological advancements are being presented to us. That is just going to keep growing at a rate I can't even fathom. You can rest assured that is true because these companies aren't going anywhere and they need something to do. It's about us. It's about making the right decisions and acting accordingly. We need to have respect for the game we pursue and realize that this isn't about punching tag after tag. The punched tag is a by-product of the adventure and experience as a whole. Some of my best hunting stories end without filling my tag. The beautiful thing about all of this technology talk is free will. You are the one that chooses to abuse or not to abuse these technologies. We are all adults here and, surely, we know right from wrong.

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Josh K. - posted 8 months ago on 11-10-2018 05:41:23 pm

@Christopher G.

You know what Chris? I should have framed that internet piece a bit different. Thank you for bringing this up. While I still agree with what I said overall, I shouldn't have focused just on folks that create content, as it is something that happens all across the board. The only reason I went that route was because those are the photos and such that usually get the most eyes on them. Thanks again and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

Josh K. - posted 8 months ago on 11-09-2018 11:21:21 am

@Christopher G.

Thanks for your input Christopher. I see where you are coming from. What I was getting at in that section was someone denying themselves the satisfaction of figuring stuff out, rather than just swiping a spot from a photo. No matter what I say, I know it will still happen. I'm merely trying to get folks to ask themselves some questions. I love that feeling when the puzzle pieces start coming together and I actually figure something out about a certain spot. As far as the information on the internet, I was referring to what some people did with said information. To actually go through the efforts of trying to find where someone was hunting, so then they could go there? All the while, they could be researching spots on their own and learning country, whether that is on foot or via google earth. I feel like one is going to learn more during the whole process if they take the steps to get there. It's also a respect thing. If you told me that you were going to be hunting at a certain canyon intersection, do you think I would go in there while you were hunting? I would never do that. With that being said though, these are public lands and all of us have a right to be on them. When someone posts up a big scenery shot, they are accepting this. In some of the shows we watch on the internet or TV, some folks will go to great lengths to not show exactly where they are. I've heard of people driving to a different location to take scenery shots and then hunting in a different area for the video. People parking their rigs at a different trailhead than they intend on using. That kind of sucks, but it's the nature of the beast I suppose. I really appreciate you voicing your opinion man, and again, I see where you are coming from. It's great to know that we can discuss things like this in a mature way. I want people to head out and have the time of their lives whether that is on the east coast or the west coast. I would never wish shame on someone for coming out and doing the things I do. Hopefully, I was clear with my message. Good luck to you Chris.

Christopher G. - posted 8 months ago on 11-09-2018 05:59:42 am

To be clear my only disagreement is with the Internet comment.

@josh k.

You do realize there is a bit of an ethical delima about someone making a living on the internet and complaining about the information posted there resulting in more people is an area.

If someone lives away from the Western States and cannot make trips to those States to do years of scouting, they will use whatever resources that they have at their disposal. So someone posting their harvest online and showing great photos of the scenery while on the hunt are naturally going to attract attention. So you're holding everyone to a great standard. "Like the places I go and the things that I do so I can make a living doing this, but shame on you for doing those same things." It's no different than the locals in an area being reluctant to talk to outsiders for the same reasons. They don't want to lose their spots to over pressure so they don't tell anyone about them.

It's a great article, but please realize that you are slightly holding people to a double standard.

Josh K. - posted 8 months ago on 10-17-2018 01:41:46 pm

@michael h.

Thanks for chiming in Michael! No worries man. You are totally entitled to your own opinion. The whole point of the article for me was to try to get folks to not ABUSE these bits of technology. I am not a tech purest at all, and I even say that in the article. If I was, I wouldn't be using a modern compound bow or any other goodies out there. Gadgets are great. A lot of this tech is extremely useful if used the right way. It is when it's used the wrong way that I wanted to talk about. There is no stopping the progression of technology, but we can control how we choose to use it. We need to be honest with ourselves and our abilities. Forgive me, but I don't know how that would drive new hunters away.... I wasn't implying at all a negative attitude towards tech, and I'm sorry if that is how you took it. Best of luck to you out there Michael.

daniel p. - posted 9 months ago on 10-16-2018 12:52:22 pm

@michael h. This article is not dismissing tech, it's suggesting to not utilize some tech in the field as you pursue the animal. GPS and rangefinders, for example, are used as means to enhance your skill set, not replace it. This site utilizes data to give recreational hunters the info needed to efficiently narrow down a hunt doesn't take away from the fact that a hunter still needs to be fit and have proficient skills in scouting, shooting, tracking, searching, ect.

I'm curious how a service like GoHunt can be abused at the detriment of the animal or the modern man's hunt?

michael h. - posted 9 months ago on 09-26-2018 12:41:46 pm
Tijeras, NM

Interesting article from a website that utilizes technology to consolidate enormous amounts of hunting data to sell to the public. Drones, GPS, range finders, night vision, harvest reports all utilize technology that can aid hunters, goHunt is no different. The service you provide makes hunting easier and it can be abused and violated just like the examples you have outlined.

I fear that the negative attitude towards technology in hunting pushes future generations and new hunters away, future generations and new hunters that we desperately need.

By-the-way, I love this site please don’t delete my account, just thought this article was a bit holier-than-thou

Vance W. - posted 9 months ago on 09-24-2018 01:18:48 pm
Anthem AZ

Thanks for starting this conversation. There are many products and situations that can be abused but at least this is a start to make people think more about these issues. Arizona G/F just went through these types of issues with trail cams. Nothing was really accomplished but I think it started people thinking about the issues. I just hope hunters begin to realize that with instant publication society we live in today a poor decision could quickly become known everywhere and will give ALL hunters and all hunting another black eye and place another nail in the coffin.