Cell Phones While Hunting - Good or Bad?

By Alex Comstock

Back in November, I received a text from a buddy saying how he had just messed up an opportunity at a buck because he was on his cell phone, and by the time he realized the buck was even in the area, it was too late. He couldn’t put his phone away, grab his bow and get drawn back before the buck was through all of his shooting lanes. As I was texting him, it became clear that this would become a good blog post storyline, so today, that’s exactly what we’re discussing.

The Good

Let’s start out with the good. I firmly believe cell phones can be beneficial to you when it comes to deer hunting for a variety of reasons. The first one that jumps out to me is maps. I’m a nonstop user of OnX maps. I’ll use it while walking into the stand, using it to track my walk in, or if need be, to help me find a stand in the dark, etc. Even while I’m sitting in the stand, if I see deer movement off in the distance or something of that nature, I might take out my phone and mark that on my maps to see if I should be moving my stand, or to look into why movement was there.

Another benefit of cell phones while hunting is the ability to share your location. If your phone doesn’t allow you to share your location like an iPhone can, you can download an app, something similar to Find my Friends. There is a big reason that I like to have my location shared with someone while I’m out hunting. The biggest is that more often that not, I’m hunting alone, and every time you go hunting, there is always a small percentage of something happening to you. Falling from a treestand, freak accident, you just never know. If in the instance that something did happen, I feel better knowing that I’ve got someone knowing my location in the rare occasion I don’t show up at home at a normal time with no communication.

As we continue on with some cell phone positives, I love the fact that I can check the weather at any moment. Having the ability to check the hourly forecast, to include the wind direction can be a benefit, because a lot of times, this is constantly changing. There have been many times that I’ve driven out to where I’m going to hunt, checked the wind, and realized that it’s changed since I’ve left home. I’ll then confirm this by literally checking the wind with some milkweed, and if need be, I might change which stand I head into.

You never know when you might need your tracking tool, such as what you can use with OnX.

You never know when you might need your tracking tool, such as what you can use with OnX.

Though I could probably talk about a few more, the final plus side of cell phones when it comes to deer hunting that I want to tackle is the fact that they can undoubtedly help you stay in the stand longer. I will go into the dangers of this more in the “bad” next, but where this particularly applies is during all day sits. For most people, pulling an all day sit in November is no easy feat. It can be hard to be mentally engaged during a dark to dark sit, even during the peak rut. But what can help that is your phone. Whether you’re taking a few minutes to play a game, read a book, you name it, those moments of being able to be on your phone can help you in staying in that stand all day. Because if you leave the timber or the field, or wherever you’re siting, you’re for sure not going to be shooting a buck.

RELATED: READ 5 Factors for a Successful All Day Sit

The Bad

When it comes to the bad, there aren’t as many to list, but the bad can really hurt you. What I’m mainly going to touch on is when you are glued to your cell phone during a sit. It’s happened to me, I bet it’s happened to you and it happens to a lot of folks. It’s those times where maybe you’re watching a video on low volume, maybe your knee deep in reading a book or a sports article (guilty). You’re on that phone for a long time, look up and there’s a “holy sh**” moment because you’ve got a big buck standing twenty yards away. This to me is THE biggest danger of a cell phone. Is it going to happen often? Probably not. But when it does happen, it will be absolutely gut wrenching. It might haunt you for a long time after and rightfully so.

The other bad I wanted to quickly go over is in the small chance you forget to flip that ringer switch to silent. Again, probably not likely, but in the small chance that your phone rings or you get a notification and it makes a loud noise while you have deer around, it could really tee you off and ruin a hunt.


To me, there’s a lot of good that comes with cell phones and the world of deer hunting. In fact, I’d say mostly good, but on the flip side, there is some bad, and if the wrong thing happens at the wrong time, you could have quite the mishap unfold.

I want to hear from you. Have you ever had a negative occurrence when it comes to cell phones and deer hunting? Or what do you like about them the most? Drop us a comment below and let’s start a discussion!