Technology talks, wildlife walks

I’m guessing technology may save the lives of more wildlife this fall than any animal-rights protest.

The thought came to me as I recently watched several doves fly close to two hunting partners without drawing a round of fire. Both were looking down and checking Saturday afternoon football scores on their cell phones.

Surely such scenes will be repeated thousands of times across America on everything from doves to deer every year for years to come.

It seems like our attention spans continue to get shorter and shorter and we demand almost constant activity. And it’s not just teens, as people my age often complain.

For several seasons some friends who film for a major camo company have taken tiny electronic card games to whitetail stands. They say they can still hear approaching deer, but you have to wonder if they miss the occasional flash of an antler in the distance of a buck that might have been called into range.

I’m guilty of what I write, too. I’ve sent a few “I’ll be home” texts or described something special I’d just seen to one of my kids.

In fact, I actually learned to send text messages during a bow hunt.

I was headed out the door one afternoon when I felt my phone vibrate once, then stop. The screen said “New Message.” I’d heard something about sending text over cell phones and I was anxious to read the first I’d received.

After pushing a few buttons the screen said:

“Hey Dad, getting ready to cut into some old dead guy.

Thinking of you.”

It was from our daughter, Lindsey, in some high-level anatomy class at KU.

I laughed aloud, first at her message and then because I had several sharp responses in mind but didn’t have a clue on how to send them.

From a treestand that afternoon I taught myself how to send a two-sentence reply over the span of about 30 minutes. Seconds later I got a response stating how shocked Lindsey was that the ol’ guy could text. She also informed me that ending the message with “Love, Dad,” wasn’t proper.

But I guess there are positives to the technological advances. If something goes very wrong, like a tumble from a treestand or a very stuck truck, help can be called. If something goes very right, like shooting a huge buck, help can be called to get it loaded.

And if a few seconds of civilization every hour keeps someone in the wild a few hours a year, it’s not such a bad thing.

I’ll always have my phone in case I need help and always have it on in case someone else does. And in very slow times I may send a message to one of my kids.

And I’m still going to end Lindsey’s with “Love, Dad.”