On one side of the road a wooded hill rose several feet above us; on the other side, the ground dropped 50 feet or so and opened up into a picturesque valley. We came to an opening where we could see plainly into the valley below, and a beautiful tawny colored whitetail doe stood grazing there in lush green grass still glistening with morning dew. Just a few feet away from the grazing doe stood a wild turkey hen, and as we watched, the hen jumped up onto a log less than 4 feet from the doe. Like actors on a stage, both animals held their positions for a precious couple of seconds before the turkey darted for cover. It was a National Geographic kind of moment! This was pre-smartphone days and my small digital camera was tucked into my pocket as usual, but any movement to retrieve it would have spooked both actors.
I’m just sayin,’ what if I’d had some sort of high-tech camera built into my glasses that would have allowed me to snap a photo by simply touching a button on the side of my glasses, or better yet, just by blinking my eye! A device like that would allow me to photograph whatever I could see. I don’t think I’ve ever ventured into the outdoors without seeing a multitude of sights that would have all made fantastic photos.
This got me thinking about all the inventions I’ve wished for over the years. My casting prowess with a fishing rod is the stuff of legends… bad legends! Each time I cast an expensive jig into the treetops or hang one up on the roots of a tree I wonder why someone hasn’t addressed this problem (heaven forbid I should just practice!) Suppose my fishing rod had a sight of some sort on it, a trigger in the handle and a device on the tip that would propel the bait. Haphazard casters like me could place the butt of the rod against our shoulder, align our intended target in the sight and merely squeeze the trigger, producing the perfect cast! I’m certain the money saved on lost jigs and such would pay for the device in 20 to 30 years. With inventions like these I’m sure we’d all be better sportsmen…or would we?
I’m betting our forefathers would roll over in their good old fashioned graves if they knew we used GPS technology rather than landmarks on the bank to find the best crappie brush piles. Or if they knew we could measure shooting distance with laser range finders rather than pacing off and mentally recording the number of yards to certain spots in our shooting lane. Or if they knew we had game calls that incorporate the latest in electronics.
I’ll always remember this story from 15 years ago (when I won’t remember what I had for breakfast.) I worked part-time for a guy who loved technology. He still had a flip phone, but when I came to work that particular morning he was nothing short of ecstatic about a new “app” on his old flip phone that let him type and send messages (now known as texting.) I thought to myself, “How dumb, that’ll never catch-on!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change or against keeping up with the times if it brings me more enjoyment from my sport or helps me better utilize God’s creation. I’m just sayin’ that maybe we should each step back in time on occasion and do things like grandpa did them. If nothing else, it would bring us new appreciation for the outdoors prowess of our ancestors. These high tech toys are no substitute for knowing the habits and habitat of our quarry. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my trolling motor battery is dead and I was texting the entire time as my high-dollar GPS controlled trolling motor drove me to this spot on the lake, so I have no idea where I am.
I may or may not find my way back in time to write next week’s column, so if you hear nothing from me next week, please shoot me a text or an email and help me find the boat ramp! I’m just sayin’…..Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve Gilliland, Inman, can be contacted by email at email@example.com.