Technology and the Great Outdoors

As an outdoorsman, technology changed the game. I used to hunt, but I mostly photograph the outdoors and guide tours into the pineywoods of East Texas. Formerly, I had to work my way through endless woods that all looked the same with a compass and what I call wilderness wit. Things like knowing on which side of trees that moss grows, the North Star, the direction of the sun and things like this. However, no matter how much I tried to teach these things to the people that I mentor, someone will inevitably get lost. The previous Nokia handset type phones had excellent range, so we readily utilized the technology, but the newer smart phone’s range is awful as far as getting a signal is concerned.

Because of this, people that could formerly find a high spot and call us are now simply lost in the woods. However, since the advent of GPS, I do not let them enter the woods without a personal location device because anything can happen, and help can be many miles away, and accidents happen all of the time. Before this technology, people would die in the wilderness that had simply lost their way and not for a very long distance. It was just simply too hard to find the people without GPS. Now I map coordinates so that now, the wilderness is really not the wilderness anymore for anyone that is connected with our group, and anyone else that we can help if lost.

I also have hunting dogs. We do not catch, but we chase feral hogs and sometimes cougars from around settlements and communities. Every year hunters and outdoorsman lose their dogs to being lost on the chase. I personally have found dogs that have ranged hundreds of miles from their destination, and the only thing that returned them to their owners were microchips. I never have these issues, but I do microchip all of my animals. However, the GPS system that is made specifically for my dogs keeps my buddies from getting lost. This is important because my dogs are also my pets, and my girls would never forgive me if I lost their friends. Additionally, not only does it cost approximately $3,000 to replace the special breed, the selection, training and time that I put in to these animals is often irretrievable.

It would only take a few losses like that and of particular dogs to hurt my business for at least a year or more, and maybe permanently. I was reading about how Shaygan Kheradpir had ushered many of the world’s largest tech firms into the digital age with his technological and business acumen, and I thought about ways that I could incorporate technology into my business. He lifted these companies up by simply instituting the technologies that were available but underutilized and in their infancies in some cases. This is the type of forethought that I utilize now for the safety of those that I mentor, those that are lost and even my dogs.

Leave a Reply