Technology is a force that cannot be denied. It has completely transformed industries, and the sport of hunting is no exception. We’ve seen wide ranges of innovation that have shaped and defined the hunting world as we know it today. Here’s a look at some of the most influential technological advancements in hunting.
The Compound Bow
For most bow hunters today, the compound bow is the weapon of choice. It gives us a fighting chance of tagging a mature animal when the odds are already stacked against us. It’s an efficient tool that continues to evolve as bow makers push the boundaries on speed, weight, and accuracy.
The compound bow was born out of the idea that a better, more powerful bow could be built. This spark started back in the early 1960s when a mechanic named Holless Wilbur Allen started tinkering with his bow to find a way to generate more power. He took to sawing off the limbs of his recurve bow and attaching pulleys in order to draw back more weight and generate more power. Thus, the compound bow was born.
Fast forward to present day, the bows on the market are pieces of engineered mastery that push the physical limits. However, Allen’s original concept still lies at the core of the design. Bow makers will continue to iterate and innovate on what is thought to be possible, but it’s interesting to look back and see what started it all.
Trail cameras have become one of the most powerful information gathering tools available to hunters. These devices capture vital information about where and when deer are moving, all of which are extremely important pieces of intel when targeting mature whitetails.
Interestingly enough, the first ever form of a trail camera like device, aka a “camera trap,” dates back to the 1890s when a man named George Shiras wanted to take pictures of wildlife in the field. He took what was then a regular flash camera and rigged it up with a tripwire to trigger the camera when an animal walked by.
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Hunters later adopted a similar concept, but it didn’t start with a camera. It was simply a game counter. This device used a heat sensing motion detector to trigger a counter within the device when an animal walked by. Not much information by today’s standards, but it still provided the user with more information than they had without it. Then, in the early 1990s a camera was added to this counting device, thus marking the beginning of the trail camera evolution. The important piece here is that hunter adoption opened up a huge commercial opportunity for camera manufacturers to come in and innovate.
Today’s cameras have an insane amount of features if you’re willing to pay for them. We now have wireless game cameras that text you an image seconds after a photo is taken. HD video is now standard on most models, and there are even ones powered by solar technology. Regardless of how high tech your trail cameras are, the initial breakthrough of this device has become a total game changer for hunters when trying to pattern and target mature whitetails.
Hunting in the Information Age
This is not necessarily a specific technological advancement within the hunting industry, but I would argue that the evolution of how we share information across connected platforms has dramatically changed hunting. Hunters have traditionally shared their stories and experiences over a campfire or within periodicals such as magazines. With the growth of the internet and mobile platforms, accessing information and learning about hunting has never been easier.
We’ve seen an explosion in the amount of information and content available for hunters. Hunting blogs like this one, forums, podcasts, mapping tools, smartphone apps like the Quiver Hunting App and other platforms have emerged to enable hunters to share their knowledge and experiences with a click of a button. This is a huge benefit to hunters that was completely absent 15 years ago. Imagine how powerful this is for new hunters who are trying to learn more and get into the sport.
There exists an endless firehose of hunting content for folks who are hungry to learn more. I still love the tradition and personal camaraderie that comes with sharing hunting stories around a fire, but the information age has most definitely benefitted new and seasoned generations of hunters.
We see the advancement of technology all around us, and our favorite pastime is no exception. Hunting is a sport rich with history and tradition, and we don’t ever want to lose that. Some would argue that the trends we are seeing today are ruining the sport, but in the end, we’ve reaped huge benefits from these technological advancements. When I think about the intersection of technology and hunting, it’s all about balance. We head out into the woods to get away from it all, and that’s still an important part of it, but looking back it’s easy to see how technology has helped us become better, more knowledgeable, and ultimately more successful hunters.