The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

November 12, 2013

Is Deer Hunting Getting Too Technical?

By Doug Domedion
The Journal-Register

MEDINA —

Way back when I began deer hunting, it meant grabbing your weapon, some warm clothing and heading to the woods. Oh, how things have changed! You can't believe all the stuff we “need to have” now to get a deer.

Many of the changes have been for the best. We now have super warm and soft underwear that keeps us dry and comfortable. There are boots and rain gear that are waterproof but still allow our skin to breathe. The boots are warmer and are designed to protect and support our feet better then anything we ever have had before.

Fleece has replaced much of our wool and down outer garments because it is as warm but does not soak up a lot of water, dries quicker and is light.

Our hunting weapons have also improved greatly. There are now shotguns and slugs that are accurate out to 150 yards or better, as compared to 75 or 100 yards in the old days.

Muzzle loaders are better designed to be moisture-proof and thus have a more reliable ignition in wet weather. Bullets and black powder substitutes have also improved so much now that these weapons are capable of taking deer at 200 yards or more.

Bows and arrows have also taken great steps with today's bows being faster, lighter, shorter and easier to shoot. Arrows are lighter, stronger, tougher and stay straight under abusive conditions. Releases, sights and arrow rests have improved so much, it is hard to believe that at one time everyone shot with their fingers, shot instinctively and shot their arrows off a shelf on the side of the bow that was usually just covered with a soft material.

The broad heads on the arrows have also taken giant steps. Most now have replaceable blades so you don't need to be an expert sharpener. They are lighter, stronger, more accurate and better designed to cut and penetrate better.

The material used in the arrow fletching now allows good flight even when wet, and its design allows for smaller size yet more effective arrow stabilization.

Camouflage clothing has become so specialized that it can be found in any pattern to match any environment. There is special clothing to help lower the concentration of human scent. There are liquids that are sprayed on your outside garments, and also gear that helps to lower human scent. Do they work? They help, but they can not do a complete job of it. You still have to use your head, watch the wind and be careful with leaving human scent floating around where the deer can smell it, which causes them to become spooked.

The number of deer lures available to hunters is unlimited, with lots of claims of making a big buck walking right up to you. Do they work? Maybe, if everyone was not using them and educating the deer about them. The same goes for deer calls. I quit using them years ago after seeing more negatives than positives.

Now I see there are some even more “need to have” gadgets coming out. There is now an item you hang above you that produces ozone that is supposed to reduce nearly 100 percent of human odors. It only costs $400 too; give me a break!

Then there is the high-tech wind detector that runs on batteries, and it only costs $50. I'll just stick with my milkweed seeds, as they not only show me the wind direction but also how it moves through the area. They are much cheaper, and easier to carry too.

Here is a good one for someone who wants to put a food plot in with a minimum of effort. For only $40, you can get a 30-inch by 40-foot roll-out food plot. Just roll it out, water it and watch the deer make it disappear overnight.

Then there is a gadget to hold your deer's butt up while you dress it out.

There are so many “need to have” things out there now that you need an ATV and trailer to haul it all out to where you hunt. It really has gotten ridiculous!

What happened to just using good woodsmanship, honed shooting skills and common sense? It seems to me that we are getting too dependent on gadgets, with much of it really taking away from what hunting is all about.