November 04, 2010
To get the most out of modern hunting, learn to use this valuable hunting tool -- the Internet.
Bowhunters -- young and old -- often can find quick answers on the Web
The other day I was at an affair where a mother had her four-year-old daughter. This child was using an iPod, doing something I had no clue how to do. Technology of this type is moving so fast that by the time that little girl gets out of middle school, she will be using technology that doesn't even exist today. But the Internet does exist, and it is something that more and more hunters are using. No wonder. It is a huge source of information.
Yet, I am continually amazed at the hunters who do not use the Internet for anything.
Their excuse is that "I'm too old to learn to use that stuff," or "Why bother?" Wrong. The Internet is loaded with good information for beginning bowhunters as well as bowhunting veterans.
I have a good hunting buddy who took a great bear this spring. He called the other day to find out where a taxidermist might be located that uses dermestid beetles to clean skulls. He didn't want to clean the skull by boiling for fear of shrinking it before getting it scored. I asked if he had tried the Internet. He had not. So I did, and in 30 seconds I had some answers for him. To further test the potential of the Internet, I googled various aspects of bowhunting. The results were mind-boggling. (Editor's Note: The verb to google means to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web.)
Googling "how to build food plots" gave me 14.6 million hits. Of course, you can't check out all of them, but just going to the first 20 websites listed will give you tons of information on building food plots. As an aside, I googled "putting fertilizer on food plots" and got 17,600 websites with information on soils, liming, fertilizer application, planting, and numerous other aspects of creating food plots. You name it, and it is there.
I went one step further and searched for "how to use trail cameras." Hmmm. Only eight million websites have information on that one. Surely I can find what I need to know in there somewhere. The first 10 sites listed contained all the information I would ever need on the subject.
"How to scout for deer" yielded 1.7 million hits. "Where to find trophy bucks" gave me 329,000 hits. But that search did not give me what I wanted. I was looking for states or areas to hunt. Instead, it just listed various outfitters in different states that used the term "trophy bucks" on their websites.
So I redefined my search to "how do I find what states have the most trophy bucks?" That brought up 108,000 hits and some specific answers. The first listing was "mapping trophy bucks using topographic maps." The next listing was "the best destinations to find trophy bucks." This shows that when you google, you may have to refine your request to get the specific answers you are looking for.
"How to find the best deer hunting guides" gave me 204,000 hits, but it really wasn't helpful because the question wasn't appropriate. What I got was a list of deer hunting guides and outfitters who noted that they had the "best" hunting on their websites. There were no websites in the first 20 that had anything on finding "the best." Some things just aren't on there and will require you to e-mail or call other bowhunters to get that information.
Shed hunting is a growing activity done by more and more bowhunters, often with their families and friends. "How to find shed antlers" yielded 157,000 hits and some great information. Need clothes? "Where to buy camouflage clothes" gave me 82,000 answers.
"What bows shoot the fastest?" brought up 76,600 possibilities, while "what bows shoot the quietest?" gave 82,400 answers. "How to use treestands" yielded 19 million sites, while "how to sharpen broadheads" gave 13,800.
When I tried to get more specific, some searches worked, others did not. For example, "bowhunting in Iowa" gave me 116,000 hits and some great information, while "why do we bowhunt?" gave me nothing useful at all.
The point in all this is that the Internet is a great starting point for information. You may have to work a bit to get the right words into your search engine, but with just a little effort you can get anything from free maps of your hunting area to great information on habitat, equipment, deer, hunting methods, and any other topic related to bowhunting.
Don't expect the Internet to do everything for you. For example, asking where to find that big 10-point you've been scouting won't work. You need to check your trail cams and do some footwork to answer that one.
While on this subject, there are two websites that I go to every day to find the latest happenings in the world of hunting. The www.outdoorpressroom.com site has daily postings on wildlife, fishing, and hunting news from newspapers all over the country. You name it, and it's there. The www.theoutdoorwire.com site has all the happenings within state and federal wildlife agencies posted daily. If you want to keep up on the latest happenings in hunting, wildlife, and the hunting industry, these two sites are the answer.