New Hunting Technology and Gear: Has the Once Primitive Sport Become Too Tech Savvy?

by Clayton Edwards

New technology is everywhere. It seems like new updates are coming once a week. No matter what area of life it’s in, the purpose of new tech is to make things easier on the consumer. This is as true for backup cameras and parking assistance as it is for new hunting technology.

Hunting technology has come a long way in the past few decades. We’ve gone from 35mm trail cameras and almanacs to cellular-enabled trail cameras and in-depth mapping apps.

Technology in hunting gear didn’t stop at apps and cameras, though. We have a selection of the most accurate and efficient weaponry in history at our disposal. “Primitive” weapons like muzzleloaders and bows have seen significant upgrades due to advanced hunting technology. All of this new tech raises some important questions. Where do we draw the line? When does technology make hunting unethical?

How Far Has Hunting Technology Come?

If you’re not paying attention to the latest in hunting technology, you’d be surprised at how far it has come. Rifles have been steadily advancing for years. So have bows, crossbows, and muzzleloaders.

Currently, you can get a crossbow that fires twice before needing to be cocked again. Garmin offers a compound bow optic that automatically ranges your target. It even compensates for arrow drop. The digital optic takes a lot of the guesswork out of bowhunting.

Some modern muzzleloaders fire on-par with centerfire rifles. You can even mount a scope on some modern models. For someone more accustomed to classic side hammer models, these newer rifles seem to almost defeat the purpose of using a muzzleloader.

That’s where we get to the real crux of the question of ethics. Primitive arms like bows and muzzleloaders classically reduce a hunter’s chance of success. They necessitate a more skillful approach to hunting. Archery and primitive arms seasons run longer than firearms season for this reason. If we upgrade our bows and muzzleloaders to be comparable to rifles, it could have a serious effect on game population and further regulation.

Ethics Meets Technology

Hunting technology, like any other technology, is going to continue to advance. Like any other tech, it is up to hunters to use that tech ethically. As hunters, it is important to think about the bigger picture.

On the macro scale, hunting is all about wildlife conservation. If we come to a point where technologically-assisted hunting is putting a huge dent in local game populations, it becomes a problem.

For individual hunters, a good thing to keep in mind is why you’re hunting in the first place. Are you out there to get in touch with nature, walk a mile in your forefathers’ shoes, and hopefully harvest an animal? Is your hunt the difference between having meat and potatoes and beans and potatoes for dinner?

For some, it’s all about the sport. For others, it’s all about putting food on the table. Knowing where you fall between these two extremes is a good start in knowing how much hunting technology to employ in your kit.

So, has hunting become too tech-savvy? Maybe it has. The market is full of tech that makes harvesting game easier than ever. It’s all up to the individual hunter to choose for themselves as to what is ethical and how much is too much.