A recent post here on the case for all-day sits somehow ended up with a debate on treestand texting in the comments. I got pegged as a loner with no family because I said, “I ignore texts from just about everyone in the woods.”

But that assumption wasn’t accurate, and obviously no reasonable person would say you should ignore an emergency message from a loved one — no matter how big your target buck is.

In fact, I always take my phone with me into the woods and check it periodically for a few different reasons:

  • A close friend or family member could need to get ahold of me in a life-or-death situation.
  • A bowhunting buddy could hit one nearby and need help.
  • If conditions change and could be potentially dangerous, I can check the radar.
  • I can call for help if I injure myself or have an emergency of my own.

But these all require some level of cell service. If I don’t have any signal at all, I really have no good reason to pull my phone out of my pocket in the middle of a hunt.

No matter why you take it with you or if you have service, bringing your cell phone into the woods can lead to some serious pitfalls if you’re not careful.

  • You could forget to silence your phone or the switch could get bumped in your pocket, and it rings or chimes just loud enough to spook every deer in the area.
  • You end up in a long group chat about weekend plans or scrolling through social media while a bruiser walks right below your stand.
  • You drop your phone from the stand or it slips out of your hands as you’re crossing a creek, so it’s useless anyway. 

Still, bringing your cell into the woods is generally a good idea as long as you’re smart about it:

  • If you have no signal, power down your phone to conserve the battery — especially when it’s cold — and avoid any accidental sounds. 
  • Silence your phone and turn off vibrate alerts too. It’s amazing how loud that buzz seems in the still woods.
  • Keep your phone in a spot that won’t interfere with shooting but is still easy to quickly peak at.
  • Resist the urge to chat, scroll, shop, or play games out of boredom. Glance down periodically to make sure you don’t miss anything incredibly important, then get back to focusing on the reason you’re there.