Apple's introduction of its IPad this week has received a lot of media attention, and it's likely that over time the device will further revolutionize how we receive media, books, photos and perhaps newspapers, particularly.
But it's the IPhone that has become a handy tool for hunters and anglers, especially the newest generation phone, the 3GS.
The accompanying photo illustrates just one way I've used this phone in recent months, bookmarking the location on a satellite map of northern Minnesota where my brother, Dick, shot a buck last fall.
Dick shot the buck on the second day of the season while still hunting in country he doesn't normally travel. Once I found where he was, I marked the spot on the map, "dropping'' (with the push of a button) the shown red pin. Then I bookmarked that spot, saving it forever, and, using a different feature of the IPhone's built-in GPS, followed an eletronic "path'' back to one of our known trails in the area.
Next hunting season, if I want to return to the spot where the buck was shot, perhaps to place a stand, I can use the same feature to lead the way, no matter where I begin my hike.
The IPhone also features a good still camera, as well as a built-in video camera. In fact, to record Dick's buck, I took photos of him and the deer with the camera, then shot video of my nephew, Brian, and my son, Cole, dragging the deer back to our known trail (thereby avoiding having to drag it myself.)
The newest IPhone also has a built-in compass and almost endless (once you consider available applications, some free, some costing a few bucks) applications available in the Apple App Store. This includes, especially, weather forecasts and, especially, real-time weather radar and wind-speed and wind-direction indicators, no matter your location.
Apps also are available for bird identification, bird calls — almost anything you can think of.
Other smart phones I'm sure have many of the same features.