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Deer Expert Software

This interesting software can help hunters determine how best to hunt deer.

There's a unique software program out, called Deer Expert, that can help hunters, especially novice hunters, determine the best way to hunt deer. Considering factors like type of deer hunted (large bucks, or does and small bucks), number of hunters in your party, wind speed, weather, terrain type, time of day, and time of the season, this software provides suggestions on the best hunting methods for those conditions.

Also included are various text files, on such subjects as drive techniques, preparing hides for tanning, choosing a hunting knife, dealing with ticks, etc. Several of these files are meant to be completed by the user for compiling a hunting log, equipment list, hunting plan, and more. The file on safety is a great addition.

This program is offered online by Strat-Tech. Chester Ceille, an avid deer hunter, wrote the program. Their site also includes galleries on outdoor art and deer, and a fishing version is also available. Here's what they have to say about their program:

"Deer Expert contains an intelligent data base and asks you questions about the conditions you hunt deer under. When enough information is given by you, it recommends hunting procedures and techniques. The program has over 100 situations to consider and covers whitetail deer gun hunting only (although 80% of the program could apply to bow hunting as well). The methods pertain to hunting as found in midwestern, southern, eastern U.S. and Canada, or anywhere similar conditions are found (often but not always in the west). Methods covered are stands, drive, still hunting, tracking, rattling, and a unique section on recovering wounded deer. Questions asked include weather, time of day, terrain hunted, rut conditions, wind, ground cover, and more."

The program is quite easy to run, and allows you to go back and change any of the parameters using the "What if?" button. This won't necessarily change their advice, but it allows one to see if a change in time of day or weather would necessitate a change in hunting tactics.

Deer Expert also allows users to "create their own expert system." This allows hunters with more knowledge of their local hunting conditions to enter their own solutions to any given "if" statement. For example, one might enter "still hunt creek bottoms" for the if statement "if weather = 'light_rain'" if hunting in such a way has proven successful in the past. This makes it a customizable program, which adds to its value. Instructions on customization are included in the help file, although when I opened the knowledge base file and closed it again, making no changes, I was unable to run any consultations, due to an "error in knowledge base." Apparently, after opening a knowledge text base (whether you edit it or not), you must open it again, selecting "read to memory" rather than "read to editor." This worked for me, anyway.

This program is a useful tool for folks wanting to access advice based on conventional hunting wisdom from a seasoned hunter. For a beginner without much experience, it will probably prove helpful. By using the hunting suggestions in this software and modifying those techniques over time through his or her personal experience, it could certainly help increase one's odds of success. The increased confidence for a beginning hunter could even be a help, as mindset has a lot to do with our success in the field.

For the experienced hunter, it helps affirm what has already proven successful, as well as helping one determine what methods to use in unfamiliar territory. By customizing the program as I mentioned above, hunters can help focus the program's suggestions on their own particular area of experience, possibly leading to further success. And it helps to be able to take all of the variables into account, which is sometimes pretty tough for this hunter's brain.

Between the hunting advice and the safety info included, I think this program could definitely help deer hunters stay safer and make their trips afield more enjoyable. The section on recovering wounded deer is a useful addition, though it seems to get "confused." After I told it there is "no blood present near hit," it forced me to choose between "blood contains yellow or green matter" and "blood spurting to both sides of track." Probably this is an anomaly that will be corrected as soon as I bring it to Mr. Ceille's attention, which I am in the process of doing.

Information on ordering Deer Expert can be found at their Web site. It may be downloaded immediately, or ordered via mail or telephone for $25.95 plus $3 shipping (US dollars, price current on 4/09/03). A shareware demo version is also available.

Russ Chastain

One Year ago this week: 09/19/99 - El Paso Leather Holsters - Another test & review by your Guide.

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