Taking the latest crazes along fishingIs technology steering the future of the outdoors?
By: Doug Leier, The Dickinson Press
Is technology steering the future of the outdoors?
The obvious answer is yes, but the direction is not always so clear. Using a GPS device to mark a sandbar that might be a safety hazard to boaters is a good direction. Using a computer linked to the Internet linked to a webcam watching over a deer feeder in a distant state, allowing someone to “hunt” a farmed deer from their office, is not a good direction.
On a personal level, I am part of the latest craze. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts and am mostly an exact opposite of the people 15 years ago who scoffed at e-mail and most likely didn’t think we all needed a cell phone. And now ask yourself, who doesn’t have an e-mail address or cell phone?
E-mail and the Internet have sped up the rate at which hunters and anglers can share information. Had a good evening fishing? You can send a photo and an e-mail report to all your friends shortly after you get home.
Oh, wait, that’s old technology. Today, you can take a photo of your biggest fish with your cell phone while still on the water, and send it, along with GPS coordinates to the exact spot you caught it, to your list of text message contacts.
When anglers began posting true — and sometimes not-so-true — reports on message boards and stories on blogs, word of a hot bite could spread through a virtual gas station or coffee shop. In the past, word trickled down, and now it can spread like a windblown prairie fire.
The challenge is determining just how much you want to believe reports from others who are often anonymous and not bound by accountability. More than a few anglers have embarked on a wild goose chase. Even on the World Wide Web you have to take the good with a bit of skepticism.
I wonder how this all ties in to the latest crazes of iPhones, Twitter and Facebook?
The information hasn’t changed, but the delivery is taking another step forward, or backward, depending on your perspective. When and where are the fish biting, or what’s the latest on the spring snow goose migration? Years ago we learned these things by word of mouth, telephone reports or print in newspapers and on radio broadcasts.
A Web-based phone allows posting of reports or messages sent on Twitter to the masses, compared to a separate and intentional connection to a phone or even sitting down a the computer. Now, an angler or hunter can broadcast their message to anyone who signs up to get the messages.
Personally, I feel sorry for the angler or hunter who puts in the time or effort to discover a secret spot, only to have the second in line quickly broadcast the accidental find to literally the rest of the world.
What’s the old saying? Once the horse is out of the barn? The message hasn’t changed, but options for delivery of certain types of messages sure have.
The trick is figuring out how much you want to share with the rest of the world, how much you want the rest of the world to share with you, and how much time you want to take away from actually fishing or hunting to send and receive.
— Leier is a NDGF biologist. E-mail him at email@example.com. Read
his blog at www.areavoices.com/dougleier.