Most of the time, when someone mentions a new application for cell phones, the conversation will center around an “app,” or small program intended to make the phone more useful in some startling new way – apps even exist to help music teachers tune guitars, for example.
A truly new ‘application’, for cell phones, however, is now under discussion by officials at the Minnesota State Department of Natural Resources. Gary Drotts, a wildlife manager for the department, can see a time coming when advanced electronics are used to assist deer hunters to find game. Years ago, the concern was that hunters in the field would carry walkie-talkies in order to communicate to others in their party when a deer or stag had been sighted. Now, the concern has shifted to cell phones being used in a similar way.
Cell phones are far more ubiquitous than walkie-talkies, which are purchased only for a limited range of uses. In contrast, nearly everyone has a cell phone these days, and hunters routinely bring them along when they head out into the forest. This is not a problem if the devices are merely used to check in with family members back home, but if used to facilitate hunting, the effects on the deer population could be significant.
The use of phones in hunting may have another effect on the natural world: if more hunters purchase new models more frequently, it will result in large numbers of discarded phones. The solution to this problem is cell phone recycling. The solution for the deer population, however, remains unresolved at this time.