High Plains Outdoors: Adapting New Technology To The Great Outdoors

Jul 20, 2018

Sometimes it’s tough for older outdoor folks to not too adept to newer technology. Some of us have been kicking around the outdoors so long that we have abandoned tried and true products of past years for items we “thought” were advanced and more useful, only to find the older products really better served our purposes all along.

Take the tried and true “Rucksack” as a good case in point. During the Civil War Era, the Rucksack was first put into use by the military. The early versions were virtually a bag with shoulder straps, making the dispersion of a load pretty rough on the back. Just before the beginning of WWII, the Rucksack was refined and made much more serviceable with the addition of multiple pockets and a better load distribution. Today’s modern Rucksack is the epitome of simplicity in design but ranks very high in “serviceability”.

As a youngster growing up in very rural Red River County in northeast Texas, I was given a surplus Army Rucksack, purchased from the old Army & Navy store in Clarksville. There is no telling how much use this old military-grade pack had seen before I received it but it had that well-used look. I carried it on camping and hunting trips until I was well into my teens when it was replaced with a “modern” pack with many pockets that closed via zippers.

These zippers gave me trouble back then and until the present when I recently began using my new “Rucksack” from Hogman Outdoors. My Rucksack works with unfailing “old school” technology! NO outside zippers for the big compartments, only one small zippered pouch inside the pack. My new Rucksack uses genuine leather straps and buckles rather than zippers.  When using my “modern day” packs, I would invariably grab one of the zippers and without thinking, jerk on it which almost always results in the fabric liner getting stuck in the zipper.  The leather straps and buckles of my Rucksack totally solved this problem.

Whether guiding in the Mountains of Colorado in past years or hunting hogs close to home, I always carry a pack stuffed with everything I think I might need on a hunting trip. I carry it all, GPS, compass, a couple of knives, bone saw, rope, handy wipes to keep the hands clean, rubber gloves, in essence, everything except the kitchen sink!  Now, during a night hunt when I need to instantly reach in my pack and retrieve a flashlight or compass, I don’t have to worry about getting a zipper all bound up with the fabric of the pack. Buckles and leather straps are foolproof, even in low light conditions!  Modern day technology is awesome but when it comes to carrying items needed for a hunt on your back, nothing beats the tried and true Rucksack.

KEEPING MOSQUITOES AT BAY -- Thermacell is a relatively “modern” tool used to deter mosquitoes and other biting insects. Proven 98% effective in repelling mosquitoes during U.S. Army tests, there are few sportsmen today that don’t own and use regularly at least one Thermacell unit.  As mentioned previously, I am a self-confessed “old school” outdoors person. About eight years ago, I was shipped a brand new Thermacell lantern with built-in bug repellant capabilities. Thermacell works by heating a small pad treated with a proven mosquito repellant made from the chrysanthemum plant. The repellant is dispersed into the air and creates a “mosquito-free zone”. When I received the unit, I read all about it and summarily placed the unit, in the box, it was shipped in, on a shelf is my “shed.” There it has remained until a couple weeks ago.

I recently got the bright idea of hunting hogs from a makeshift blind I constructed along the shore of a backwoods pond. Signs of hogs were everywhere. I baited the shoreline along the pond a couple of nights with corn and put a trail camera on the spot. The camera evidenced hogs were present from the very first night. When I settled in just before dark, I was soon swinging both arms frantically in efforts to keep the hordes of mosquitoes from eating me alive!  I endured the bombardment for 30 minutes then packed up and left.

When I was visiting with a buddy the next day, he asked why on earth I didn’t carry a Thermacell. When I gave the feeble excuse that I was afraid the scent would deter game, he began to tell me how many successful hunts he has enjoyed with the help of his Thermacell.

I broke my “new” eight-year-old unit out of its box and read the directions. Pretty simple! Screw the little fuel container on, slide the strip into the slot over the totally concealed tiny flame, turn it on and press the igniter. That evening, I settled into my ground blind and spent a total of three hours in the dark waiting for hogs that had already eaten my corn before I arrived! The good news is that in this area of heavy mosquito infestation, I received not a single bite! Mosquitoes didn’t even come near! I have a hog hunt planned with my buddy Jeff Rice this week on his ranch in bottomland in the upper end of Lake Fork; mosquito heaven. But I’m not the least bit concerned -- it might have taken me eight years to grasp modern technology but I am now a believer!