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May 30, 2014

New app may help you, but it's not for me

The Daily Star

---- — I don’t know how people got along years ago without a cell phone. No matter where I go, it seems everyone is on the phone. They drive with them, eat with them, talk to who knows who while shopping and, I’m sure, even use them while sitting on the toilet. What ever happened to a little privacy?

Personally, I don’t want to live my life connected to everyone else. I don’t carry a cell phone. I don’t want people to know where I am or to be able to reach me every minute of every day of my life.

Heck, many of the places I go have no cell service at all. When we hiked up Mt. Marcy last fall, I was surprised that my friend had no service on the highest mountain in the state.

But for those of you who live on your cell phones, New York state recently has adopted the “New York Fish and Wildlife App” for your smartphones. You can download this free app from the iTunes App Store or from the Android Market.

My first thought was, “What would I need that for?”

Because dummy ... we live in the new age of technology, and this app would be very handy when I’m out in the wilderness. When I’m hiking, I could use the GPS feature to check maps and get trail information and instant weather updates. And instead of eating a meal of freeze-dried food while sitting on an old, pine log, it would tell me where I could find the nearest McDonald’s.

The fisherman could find out where public access is available on a nearby stream, or specific special regulations for that particular body of water. And when you take that trophy fish, you can share a photo and all the details with your buddies.

Hunters can find places to hunt by identifying state and public lands. When you’re back in the woods and you find that special spot, you can mark it on the map so you can easily return in the future. A friend of mine did that in the Adirondacks using his GPS. He marked areas with good buck sign and returned to them every day. One afternoon, he and a giant buck showed up at the same time.

The app is great for wildlife and birdwatchers. It identifies known places that have watchable wildlife and allows you to share the experience with your friends.

With the younger generation so involved in the newest technologies, it may encourage them to explore and discover the out of doors and what it has to offer. As much as we complain, New York has great hunting, fishing and adventure opportunities, and this new smartphone app will help you find them.

Am I going to go right out and get a cell phone so I can access all that great information more easily? No. I still don’t want to be found.

I was riding up the chairlift at Belleayre Mountain with some stranger from New Jersey. His cell phone rang. It was his wife, and she wanted to know where he was. He explained that he was skiing. After a brief discussion, he handed me his phone.

“Tell her where I am,” he said.

Give me a break!

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at