I had a conversation with a new and exciting artificial intelligence program called ChatGPT (short for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) about upland hunting and shotgun sports. I wanted to see if I could stump it, find out how accurate it really was and see if its programming had any bias on these subjects. The results of my conversations were, well, quite shocking!
Some of you may have heard about the exciting advancements in artificial intelligence, and tools like DALL-E that can use AI to produce art simply by giving it text or verbal prompts such as, “Show me a picture of a cat in an astronaut suit on the moon holding an American flag,” and, like magic, it appears on screen in multiple art styles from that of van Gogh, to comic book style, and on and on – essentially, creating art out of thin air. This technology was so impressive that in 2022 “Cosmopolitan” magazine used it to create the first ever AI-generated cover. Pretty wild stuff.
Not long after OpenAI’s creators showed us what is possible using this technology to make digital art, they showcased another tool that, if I’m being honest here, is not only exciting, but also a bit shocking when you first see what it is capable of. I’m talking about ChatGPT. Essentially, a tool that can be used to answer questions, generate text and perform other language-related tasks. People can interact with it by typing questions or prompts and it uses programming to provide a response. It’s called a “language model” because it’s been trained on a massive dataset of text from the Internet, and ChatGPT can understand and generate text in a way that mimics human language.
If you’re like me, in your early 40s, you’re probably thinking about Skynet and the Terminator movies taking over the planet! Ha! But that anecdote aside … ChatGPT is quite impressive. In fact, the technology here may change the way we get our information in the very near future!
Today we open a tab, ask Google a question and get a litany of potential answers by way of website links. Google is essentially curating references for us to do our own research. If we’re lucky, our search results might even give us a paragraph of text it “scraped” from its database with a response. But, after experiencing a Q&A session with an AI chat, I instantly realized that this is the way we will get our information in the very near future. Not links to site references, but an actual conversation about our questions that is not only two-sided, it’s quite in-depth. The implications of this technology is massive. In fact, Microsoft’s Bing search engine is already rolling out an integration with ChatGPT soon. And both Google and Apple have been working on their own versions for years, which given the popularity of ChatGPT may very well speed up their progress to compete.
With all of that tech-jargon and world changing, albeit somewhat Sci-Fi ideology aside, let’s get to the subject at hand here.
CAN an AI chat actually teach us anything about upland hunting and the shotgun sports? And does it have any bias towards these subjects? Let’s find out!
My first question was pretty simple.
Shaun: Explain the allure of upland hunting.
ChatGPT (AI): Upland hunting refers to hunting for game birds such as pheasants, grouse and quail in hilly or mountainous terrain. The allure of upland hunting can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the challenge of tracking and flushing out birds in rugged terrain, the camaraderie and social aspect of hunting with friends or family and the satisfaction of successfully hunting and harvesting one’s own food. Additionally, upland hunting often takes place in picturesque natural settings, which can be enjoyable for those who appreciate the outdoors.
OK, OK … Not too bad. Impressive even. Let’s turn this up a notch.
Shaun: What is the ideal shotgun for upland hunting?
ChatGPT (AI): The ideal shotgun for upland hunting depends on personal preference and the type of upland game being hunted.
For hunting upland game birds – such as pheasants, grouse and quail – a shotgun with a 12 gauge is often considered the best choice. A shotgun with a 28-inch or 30-inch barrel is ideal, as it allows for more accurate shooting and a longer sight plane. A double-barreled shotgun, such as a side-by-side or over-under, is also a popular choice among upland hunters, as it allows for quick follow-up shots.
However, a 20 gauge is also a good option for upland hunting, it HAS less recoil and is more comfortable to shoot, especially for smaller-framed or new hunters. And if you are hunting in tight cover or smaller confined spaces, a smaller gauge like a 28 gauge or .410 bore can also be a great choice.
Ultimately, the best shotgun for upland hunting is one that feels comfortable and natural to handle, is reliable, and is appropriate for the type of upland game being hunted.
OK, is 12 gauge really often considered the best choice for upland hunting? That is debatable. However, it did lean into the “depends on your personal preference”… and it did explore the other options available. That aside, this was a pretty detailed and reasonable response. It even outlined certain barrel lengths (which is open to debate) and handling characteristics. Not perfect, but still quite impressive.[However, it did not mention anything about semi-auto shotguns, which are options for upland bird hunters.]
Now it’s time to see if we can stump this thing!
Shaun: Can you explain the connection between upland bird hunting and sporting clays shooting?
This one took a few minutes to give me a response. Every other question I asked, hit enter and it immediately had a response back. This time, it took several minutes for the AI to respond. In fact, I was about to go back and “edit” my question. Just before I hit the edit button, hovering over it, the screen started to respond to my query. Almost like it was saying “Ha! You thought you got me didn’t you!?”
ChatGPT (AI): Upland bird hunting and sporting clays shooting are both types of shotgun sports that involve shooting at flying targets. Upland bird hunting typically involves hunting for game birds such as pheasants, grouse and quail in hilly or mountainous terrain, while sporting clays shooting is a clay target shooting sport that simulates the flight patterns of game birds.
Sporting clays is an outdoor activity that consists of shooting clay targets that are launched from different stations and angles, mimicking the flight of game birds, such as pheasants, grouse, pigeons and more. The sport is designed to challenge the shooter’s skills and accuracy, and it requires a good knowledge of the game and the ability to read the flight of the clay target.
Both upland bird hunting and sporting clays shooting involve tracking and shooting fast-moving targets, and they require a good understanding of the flight patterns of game birds. Additionally, both sports require a high level of skill, practice, and discipline.
While upland hunting is done in the field, and it’s a form of hunting, sporting clays is an competition sport, and it can be enjoyed by hunters and non-hunters. Both activities are popular among people who enjoy the outdoors, the challenge of shooting and the camaraderie of hunting with friends or shooting with a group.
Good response. Moving on.
Shaun: What are the different types of shotgun sports?
ChatGPT (AI): There are several different types of shotgun sports, each with its own unique set of rules, equipment and targets. Some of the most popular types include:
- Trap shooting: In this sport, clay targets are launched from a single “trap” house and fly away from the shooter. The targets are typically launched at different angles and heights to challenge the shooter’s accuracy and skill.
- Skeet shooting: Similar to trap shooting, skeet shooting involves shooting at clay targets launched from two “trap” houses, one at each end of a semicircular field. The targets are launched at different heights and angles to simulate crossing shots.
- Sporting Clays: This sport simulates the flight patterns of game birds and it is considered the most versatile shotgun sport. It features a variety of shooting stations that presents different angles, trajectories, speeds, elevations, distances and target sizes.
- Five Stand: Five Stand is a variation of sporting clays and it’s similar to skeet and trap shooting, but it’s more dynamic, it simulates a hunting scenarios, involving a combination of crossing, incoming and outgoing shots.
- Upland hunting: This is a type of hunting that involves hunting for game birds such as pheasants, grouse and quail in hilly or mountainous terrain, it also involves tracking and shooting fast-moving targets, and it requires a good understanding of the flight patterns of game birds.
- Duck hunting: This is a type of hunting that involves hunting for ducks and geese; it’s usually done in wetlands, marshes and flooded fields, it requires a good understanding of the flight patterns of waterfowls, and it also requires special equipment such as waders, decoys and blinds.
Each shotgun sport has its own set of rules, regulations, and safety guidelines, it’s important for participants to familiarize themselves with these before participating in any of these activities.
Can an AI describe what it feels like to be on an upland hunt?
So, what have we gathered here is that AI has been indexing the internet, scraping references and can intelligently reply to our questions with incredibly accurate responses. This much is evident. But it’s also very machine like. There is not much emotion in these responses thus far. They are not considering the “sensory” aspects of hunting. The early morning sunrises and sunsets, the smell of a campfire, or the real world experience. That’s not something an AI can relate to, can it?
Shaun: Do you feel it is ethical to hunt for one’s own food?
ChatGPT (AI): The ethics of hunting for one’s own food is a complex and nuanced issue that can be viewed from different perspectives.
From a traditional and conservationist point of view, hunting has been a vital part of human history, it has been an essential source of food for many communities, and it has played an important role in the conservation and management of wildlife populations. Hunting can be seen as an ethical and sustainable way of obtaining food, as long as it is done in a responsible and regulated manner.
On the other hand, some people argue that hunting is not necessary for survival in today’s society, as there are other ways to obtain food, such as farming and purchasing food from grocery stores. They argue that hunting is a form of violence and it’s not ethical to kill animals for sport or recreation.
As an AI, I don’t have personal beliefs, but what I can tell you is that it is important for hunters to be responsible and follow the laws and regulations related to hunting, and to make sure the hunting pressure is sustainable for the game populations. Additionally, it’s important to be respectful of the animals, the environment and the other people in the hunting area, and to use all the animal and not waste it.
Ultimately, the decision whether or not to hunt for one’s own food is a personal one, and it should be made with careful consideration of the ethical and practical implications of hunting.
Hmm. An interesting, and carefully worded, response showing two opposing points of view. The AI went as far as to cite its own limitations and points out that it doesn’t have a personal belief on the matter. Yet, its response was actually quite good and well written.
I did go on to ask additional questions and read the AI’s responses, and I came away with two thoughts on this whole experiment.
#1. This is likely the future of “search” and how we’ll get our information in the future. Just like those with Apple phones will quarry Siri for the nearest Chipotle. Or we ask Alexa if it’s going to rain tomorrow, and it can check the local weather and reply back verbally to tell you if you need to bring an umbrella to work. All of these are small potatoes compared to what’s coming.
#2. ChatGPT is the most shockingly good integration of AI into a practical use case for the average person to date. As exciting as that is, we should still be skeptical and aware of how it might take certain liberties or bias on the information we’re getting back. The creators of this tech warn of it. So don’t be too quick to take what it replies back as undisputable.
This was a fun experiment. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves in the next few years.
But before I conclude, I want to include the publisher of “Women’s Outdoor News,” Barbara Baird’s and one of our pro-staffer’s, Kate Ahnstrom’s, opinions of my findings.
Babbs took her Syren Elos out dove hunting, using this Fiocchi Texas Whitewing ammo and IC and Modified chokes in her 20 gauge shotgun.
Barbara wrote right back to me and stated, “I totally disagree that you must use the animal if you hunt it. I would not want to have to abide by those rules for prairie dogs, armadillos, coyotes, raccoons, etc. Frankly, even squirrels.”
Kate Ahnstrom, Syren pro-staffer and WON writer. (Kristen Murray Photography)
Kate expounded on my findings even more: “Incredibly fascinating! Super spooky but incredibly fascinating. There is a very obvious skew to be politically correct in its answer with the underpinnings of “go to the grocery store and buy almond milk” I’m totally with Barbara regarding unnecessarily pushing ‘use it all’ agenda. Although, I’m known to cook up a pretty tasty batch of squirrel and one of my friends does wonders with raccoon.”
One thing that is NOT disputable, is our line of Syren shotguns for women. And even though an AI may not be able to enjoy the great outdoors – we all certainly can. So, we might as well enjoy it with a beautiful Italian shotgun. As a wise person once said, “Life is too short to shoot an ugly shotgun.” It doesn’t take an AI to point out that truer words have never been spoken.
This article was originally posted at our “Syren Savvy” column on WomensOutdoorNews.com as a guest article written by Shaun Burkowski, the Director of Marketing for Caesar Guerini USA.