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By Greg Traynor

Figure 1 “Photo” Our smartphone, the device we just can’t seem to put down.

Why are we hunters? Why do we get so excited about hunting season? Why do we wake up at 4:00AM and drive to the woods?

If you are like me, it’s because you love the outdoors and wildlife! We love the challenge of harvesting a wild turkey, deer, elk, or roe deer or other species on a free or open range. It doesn’t matter what continent you live on or what you hunt. We all enjoy the solitude and relaxation that hunting provides. My time in the woods recharges my internal battery, and makes me who I am.

Are you making the most of your time in the woods? Are you focused on hunting or are you distracted? In today’s multitasking society we are so accustomed to checking voicemail, sending a text, a tweet or playing a game on our smartphone. Because of that we may not be getting the most out of our time spent in the woods. If you are checking email, or texting your friend from your ground blind or tree-stand, not only are you not enjoying the moment, your movements or inattention maybe costing you that opportunity to harvest the very game you are actively pursuing.

Maybe you are trying to take pictures or a video to post on YouTube of your hunt from your favorite stand location. I am certainly guilty of that myself. Something we all need to ask ourselves, is this the right time to post that photo or video? Will your movements or electronic devices spook the very game you are hunting? Are you so concerned with documenting the hunt, that you are missing out on the enjoyment of the time spent out in nature? Is the picture, text or video worth the cost?

Being a hunter with a disability (quadriplegia), I very rarely hunt alone in a ground blind. Hunting with a partner or companion presents another issue which is talking. Anytime two people are hunting together, there is a strong temptation to whisper, talk softly or discuss strategy. I wonder how many trophy bucks I have scared away, asking Beth to zip my jacket up tighter because I was cold.

I would like to invite you to join me this year, in making a conscious effort to enjoy the time spent in nature with fewer electronic devices and less distractions. To reduce the number of texts, tweets and emails sent or checked. To truly be present in the moment and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer. Who knows, by turning off the electronics, we may be plugging into our primitive man or woman and become better hunters along the way. Good luck, be safe and shoot straight.

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