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Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Hunting Experience?

Schuyler Semar

camo smartphone

When I’m out hunting, I’m guilty of pulling out my phone when the action is slow. What could possibly be so important on that little device to make me stop paying attention to what’s going on around me? I have become reliant on my smartphone to pass the time.

I was hunting with David Holder last turkey season on a youth hunt. He is a good friend of mine and one of the best hunters/woodsman I’ve ever been around. We were standing on a ridge waiting for turkeys to start gobbling when I pulled my phone out and looked down at the time. It was 5:48. I mention the turkeys should start gobbling any minute now.

David just looked at me and said, “Do you think the turkeys are looking at their phones to make sure they are gobbling on time?” 

That was an eye-opening moment for me. Have I really become so focused on instant gratification that I expected the turkeys to gobble on my time? That’s not how turkey’s work. You chase turkeys on their time. Once you understand that you are on their time, you will become more patient and you will become more successful.

There is nothing that can be worse for hunting than becoming impatient. I expect instant gratification, because the answers are always at my fingertips in a matter of seconds. This turkey season, my focus has been on being more patient than I ever have been.

One of my favorite turkey hunters ever, and who I turn to for some advice, told me the key to his success is reaching the point of being uncomfortable, because he’s been sitting in one spot for so long and then he sits there for 30 more minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bumped a turkey walking towards me, because I couldn’t sit there that extra 30 minutes that it takes for the turkey to make their way towards me.

If you ever truly sit and watch turkeys, they move insufferably slow. One day I was sitting on a ridge watching a long beard and a few hens in a bottom field, just trying to pick up on something about the way they move or the way they act. The turkeys moved less than 100 yards in two hours. I’ve used that bit of information this year to wait out turkeys longer than I normally would.

Now, I will say that having a cell phone with a map on it or an app with property lines can help you if you need it. Having the map and taking a picture are the only things that I will use my cell phone for on a hunt. Having that mindset has changed my outlook and thought process when hunting. I can think more clearly, and I am able to analyze the situation better. This has been a great turkey season and I truly believe it’s been better because I’ve freed my mind from the trap of my cell phone and have been able to focus on my surroundings.

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