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Take technology to the deer stand
Hunting season is upon us here in Mississippi and across the Southeast. As hunters shake out their camouflage and prepare their deer stands, many find technology can make a big difference.
My friend John Long is the Mississippi 4-H shooting sports specialist, and he tells me that technology has revolutionized the hunting experience. From Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, to trail cameras and online ballistic calculators, technology is making its mark with hunters.
Handheld GPS units, such as the Garmin Oregon 550t, allow hunters to fix their location even if they are under a heavy canopy of trees. When selecting a GPS unit, make sure it is sensitive enough to find the satellites needed to give precise longitudinal and latitudinal readings. Many of the cheaper GPS units are not able to give accurate readings under dense canopies or in deep canyons. Water resistance is another handy feature to look for in a GPS unit, so it will float if you accidently drop it in the lake.
Another important factor to consider when using a GPS unit is whether or not maps can be downloaded to the unit. Higher-end models give users the ability to download maps for a fee. Some GPS models will allow the hunter to take pictures of feeding spots, scrape lines and trees that have been rubbed, and then geo-tag the photos with location coordinates. Make sure you have the Back Track feature on as you make your way through the woods so that you can get back out after dark.
Trail cameras have long been popular with hunters, and they are also making inroads as security cameras and nanny cams. Many of the newer models will let you watch the trail from your Smartphone anywhere in the world. Trail cameras from companies such as Reconyx also include software that allows you to tag the movement of the animal to a geographic location. Of course, these options are not cheap. Trail cameras like these can range anywhere from $500 to $700. Cheaper trail cameras are available, but they don’t offer as many options.
Many traditional companies are also jumping on the technology bandwagon. For example, you can calculate the energy of your cartridges with an online ballistic calculator by Remington at http://tinyurl.com/remingtonballistic. Winchester also makes a ballistic calculator that can be found at http://tinyurl.com/winchesterballistic, or you can simply download the iPhone app and calculate the energy of your slug from your phone.
Nikon has a program called Spot On (http://www.nikonhunting.com/page/spot_on) that will generate a printable field reference card for you to use. All you have to do is input the riflescope and reticle, choose the ammunition type, enter the site-in and target distances and click the button that says “fire.” The report is automatically generated for you. This software is also available for your iPhone/iPad or Android Smartphone.
Other apps for hunting are available. The ScoutLook app from Mossy Oak gives hunters the current weather conditions, as well as the direction and speed of the wind -- no more worrying about what you smell like in the great outdoors.
This season take technology into the woods to enhance your outdoor experience.