I swore up and down that I’d never do it. But then I did it.
During a recent trip to Oklahoma where I was pursuing whitetails with a muzzleloader, I whipped out my smartphone and answered a text. There was shame as my focus shifted from the words I was typing to my reflection in the screen. I hit “send,” slid the phone in my pocket and peered through the windows in the ground blind once more in hopes of spotting a shooter buck on the food plot.
When my pocket buzzed, I grabbed my phone again and repeated the deed. And then again. When “prime time” rolled around and I retired my phone in the confines of my dark pocket for the duration of the hunt, I’d tallied more than 30 texts. I watched the buck-less food plot intently for the final hour of daylight.
As a lay in my cot that night, I thought long and hard about the seemingly simple deed of blurring the line I’d personally set defining the boundaries between hunting and communication-driven electronics. Was this a road I was comfortable continuing down?
Mind you, I wasn’t checking work e-mails and I wasn’t paying bills; I had no cell service at camp for after-hours check-ins with home. I was touching base with my wife. I caught up on what new words my oldest daughter, Mya, had started saying in my absence. And I learned that Joey, my youngest, had started rolling from her stomach to her back, all while I was on the road.
Was I—and am I still—uneasy about using my phone while in the field, potentially disturbing the serenity that is, at least in part, a reason I hunt? Absolutely.
Will I do the same thing again while trying to maintain a family through the rush of endless hours on the road during the fall hunting seasons? Without question.
Keep your nose to the wind. (Oh, and by the way … I missed a “gimme” 75-yard shot at a decent buck that would’ve made a good TV kill. I’m still trying to figure out what in the world happened with that one.)
What would you do? Leave your comments below.