Hunting: A Modern-Day, High-Tech Family Tradition
Every year come fall
hunting seasons, groups of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters,
grandparents, friends and everyone in-between get together across this great
country of ours to take part in a time-honored tradition.
Plans are made far in
advance and you can bet the season opener is clearly marked on their calendars –
their smartphone calendars, that is.
What makes the age-old
tradition a bit more contemporary is the high-tech apparel and gear that is a
part of the process these days. From infrared trail cameras to waterproof,
windproof clothing with digitally enhanced camouflage patterns to laser range-finding
binoculars, high-tech products have certainly impacted the way that people
But most of these hunting
families – including the Drury family and the Holder family – are quite happy
to mix the old and the new, all for the sake of quality time together in the
"Absolutely, 100 percent,"
said Mark Drury, who along with his brother Terry and their children, have
turned a cutting-edge call-making operation into a virtual empire of outdoors television
shows on Outdoor Channel, including Drury’s
THIRTEEN, Dream Season: The Journey
and Bow Madness, that entertain and
"Like I always have, I
still enjoy spending time with my family hunting each year, now as much as
ever," added Drury. "Even after all of these years together, I still
look as forward to our next hunt together as I did the last one we went
David Holder, co-host of Outdoors
Channel's Raised Hunting show along
with his wife Karin, readily admits that high-tech gear has impacted hunting,
although it hasn't done much to change the reason that he and his family go
"I think that as far
as the hunting gear itself goes, we would all be doing what we do, with or
without it," said Holder. "In some instances, it makes us better
hunters, like when we use a rangefinder that can tell us exactly how far a shot
is or use a handy little bag that produces heat when we shake it up. But even
though we have all these gadgets right at our fingertips, it's the people that
we are with, that really matter."
That's not to say that
high-tech gear hasn't made an impact, because Drury believes otherwise.
advancements have positively affected the time that we spend out in the field
each year," he said. "Just the other day, I was in a local tire shop
and an older farmer gentleman came in out of the cold wearing coveralls. It
reminded me of my younger days hunting and how tough some of those days were
wearing that kind of clothing because it was all we had. The stuff we wear
today from Under Armour and other clothing makers, even when compared to just
10 years ago, is light years ahead and helps us stay out there a lot longer on
those tough weather days."
Holder agrees and notes
that the clothing and boots of today enable hunters to stay out longer and be stealthier
as they hunt. But he is quick to point out that advancements in technology has
no doubt drawn new young hunters from the high-tech era into the fold.
"Easton Holder, the
14-year-old in our house, says that this is very important because it opens the
door for all sorts of kids to get involved," said David. "These are
kids that would never have thought of picking up a bow before, who can now go
to a local sporting goods store or archery shop and quickly begin to see some
sort of accomplishment."
Drury agrees: "I think
specifically, over the last 10 years or so, we've seen major advancements in
bows, arrows, guns, bullets, game cameras and other gear. All of that has
helped to make us more efficient hunters and has helped to enhance the
enjoyment of the sport that we find in the field. In fact, I don't know if
there is another decade in our industry's history like the past 10 years."
While the influx of
high-tech gear has found its way into all forms of fall hunting from the chase
for western big game to waterfowl hunts to upland bird outings, Drury is
convinced that the trend has been most noticeable in deer hunting circles.
"In my opinion, there
has not been a greater advancement in recent years than trail cameras,"
said Drury. "At least as far as where Terry and I are concerned, over the
last five years, these cameras have taken our whitetail hunting to a whole
"Because of (game
management techniques) and the use of cameras, we get to see which deer live on
our lands and we get to analyze the data about their travel habits, where they
bed, what they eat, etc.," said Drury. "Because of that, we have a
carefully formulated game plan when we encounter a deer now rather than a shoot
or don't shoot snap decision after a 15-second glimpse of a buck like we had
not too many years ago."
Does such high-tech gear
and gadgets make hunting too easy as some critics claim?
"I won't make an
argument either way," said Holder. "I think the most important part
of our pastime is not what we use to hunt, but that we hunt and that we do it
with people we love and with respect for fair chase of the quarry that we pursue.
If we keep those elements in mind, I don't care if you have (the latest)
electronic scope or a long bow."
Drury says that he is
certain of one area where new technologies have helped hunting, although it
isn't necessarily with gear.
"I'm thinking that the
high-tech communication that we have available to us today helps through the
use of social media," he said. "It presents hunting in a positive
light and keeps the fire stoked for others out there. It's the same thing with
outdoor television too, it helps show hunting in a positive light and it draws
interest and participation from others."
Holder agrees: "The
next time we share a selfie of our hunt, as long as we do it in a clean and a
tasteful way, even the smartphone is helping to promote the time-honored tradition
that we love."
And that's something that
excites both Drury and Holder as they get into the woods with their families
With backpacks containing selections
of high-tech gear and gadgets, things that help make an age-old experience more
enjoyable, comfortable and efficient.
while priming the pump to keep them and their families coming back for more in
the years to come.