The smartphone has become a constant companion, and more often than not, we’re carrying these devices with us into the woods. They can sometimes serve as distraction, but when used in moderation, today’s apps are powerful tools for planning and executing successful hunts. Below are a few of our favorite hunting apps as we start to prepare for this fall.
For planning backcountry hunts or trips, OnXMaps Hunt is an extremely powerful mapping tool. This app lets you overlay various data sets for a given section of land, so that you can study topography, aerial imagery, land ownership and scout any potential trails. This is a great app for doing research for upcoming hunts, especially for those public land heroes.
In my eyes there are two great features that come with this app. The first is that you can download specific sections of the map to your phone or “offline cache.” Once those sections are downloaded, you can still access the map and use the GPS on your phone while out in the field. Just switch your phone to airplane mode, and the GPS will still work while saving some battery juice. This has been an amazing resource while out on some backcountry trips this summer.
Another part of this app that is super helpful is all the land ownership data that it provides. Within the map view, you can load different layers that show public land access, private parcels (and who owns them), hunting units and plenty of other land demarcations. This information is critical when you’re scoping out new plots of land to hunt, or you’re in the field trying to figure out if you are on public or private land, an important question to answer at some critical points in the hunt.
You can download the app for free, but you need to buy each state’s map individually. This app is extremely useful for all phases of the hunt, whether you’re researching a new public land spot or roaming wide open tracks of government owned hunting land.
As we all know, some days up in the stand can be painfully slow. For those long, full day sits, the Kindle App for reading has been a great companion to help pass the time when nothing seems to be moving.
I’ve occasionally carried out hard copy books with me in the woods, but that can be noisy and clumsy at times. With the Kindle App, you have access to an entire library of books that you can download to your phone. Not to mention, reading from your phone is low impact compared to fumbling around with a book while up in the tree. You can easily flip between pages with a swipe of the finger and there’s no noise or pages waving around up in the tree. For those really slow days, reading a few pages here and there from the phone can definitely help pass the time until the action picks up.
Quiver Hunting App
The Quiver Hunting App was built for the whitetail fanatic who cares about the details. This app helps you track deer movement and weather patterns so that you can hunt smarter and be more successful in the woods. The app features hunting specific weather elements, so that hunters can better understand the tight relationship between weather and deer movement in their area.
A few of the key features:
- Track key events from the stand in just a few taps
- Log custom field notes of what you’re seeing
- Monitor current weather, sunrise & sunset, wind speed & direction and barometric pressure
This is a powerful tool for the die hard hunter who cares about the details and wants to improve their chances in the woods. It’s free too!
The Weather Underground Forecasts app is a fully featured weather app that will give you more than you need when it’s critical to understand future weather patterns. My favorite part of the app is the temperature, precipitation, pressure and wind graph that it provides. This handy line chart plots out the upcoming changes across these variables, and is super useful for understanding when you can expect those big cold fronts or rain storms to pass through.
BoneView allows hunters to easily view their trail camera photos from their phones and tablets while out in the field. You no longer need to wait to get home to your computer or carry that extra camera around because the BoneView SD card reader makes it super easy to instantly check your trail camera photos on the go. Just plug the BoneView card reader into your mobile device and instantly view your photos. Check out BoneView’s site to learn more!
This is another great mapping and planning app for the backcountry hunter or backpacker. This app is the most expensive on the list, but in my opinion it’s worth every penny if you don’t already own a GPS. The difference between this and Onx Hunt is that with OnX Hunt, you need to buy each state individually, whereas GAIA is just a one time up front fee.
The main view is a topographic map where you can research specific sections you’re interested in scouting or hunting. On top of that you can mark waypoints and measure distances. This app also allows you to run offline with no cellular connection. This way you can still use your device’s GPS and navigate the maps you’ve downloaded to your phone to make sure you end up where you want to. Whether you’re trying to find a trailhead, doing some public land research or just hoping to get back to your truck, this is a great app for those backcountry excursions.
Dropbox is an amazing tool to help you organize all your trail camera photos. The app syncs data seamlessly across all your devices, allowing you to upload and access your pictures from anywhere. To organize your photos, you can set up folders within the app by the property and/or buck, just like you would with folders on your computer. It’s also super easy to share files with others using Dropbox when you happen to catch one of those special bucks on camera.
My last recommendation is a bit of a wild card for the hunting community, but this app is the latest craze in the category of communication apps. Group texting with your hunting buddies is always going to be the easiest way to send a quick message, but Slack is an amazing messaging platform that can be used across all your devices when you want to share more than just a quick text or picture. Slack makes it super easy to share documents, links and photos with others in a seamless and fun way. This would be the perfect tool to use with a group of people who you manage a piece a land with or are planning a big hunting adventure with.
Other hunting apps to check out
For a complete list of other great hunting apps, check out Advanced Hunter’s Top Hunting Apps Blog Post .