By Josh Boyd
Any hunter over the age of 30 likely remembers a time when a trip to the woods meant going off the grid, and being unreachable until returning home. However, those days are largely a thing of the past, thanks to the prevalence of cellular phones, which have grown exponentially in popularity over the past two decades.
Cell phones and other mobile devices are now routinely carried along on a hunt and tend to be a constant companion in one’s pocket whenever they venture away from the truck. Many carry their phone while in the woods, in a bid to make themselves available should a family emergency arise, or to provide a means of calling for help, should an accident occur.
However, in recent years, hunters have been given yet another reason to carry their phones along when heading to the stand. A multitude of hunting-related apps of varying uses have emerged, many of which have proven to be helpful when attempting to make the most out of one’s next outing.
The following are 5 of the most helpful smartphone and mobile device apps for hunters.
OnX Hunt Maps
Almost since the very rise of hunting-related apps, OnX Hunt has been the gold standard. This app allows hunters to quickly and effortlessly consult various maps of their hunting area while afield. Both satellite and topographic maps are available, as well as property boundary views, with corresponding landowner information.
One of the most helpful functions of the OnX Hunt app is that maps can be downloaded in advance, for easy reference, even in the event that cellular internet service is unavailable at your location. Weather-related functions are also available, as is the ability to set waypoints and measure distances.
Downloading OnX Hunt is free, however, a subscription must be purchased after an initial trial period in order to retain the use of many of the app’s functions. The price of these subscriptions vary, depending upon the area of requested access, as well as the scope of features being used.
Scoutlook is a wonderful app that can be navigated by users with ease, and relays information relating to weather and wind direction. Hunters can select areas which they intend to hunt, and access satellite and topographic data pertaining to such locations. Weather data for selected locations can be referenced in seconds, and pins can be dropped to mark stand sites, bedding areas, watering holes, and scrape lines.
One of the most unique features of Scoutlook is its Scent Cone function, which allows you to visualize the way that your scent will be dispersed from a predetermined stand location, using hour by hour wind direction data. You can not only view how your scent will be dispersed in real-time, but can toggle forward to see future predictions as well.
The Scoutlook app is free to users, making its download a win-win type of proposition. However, there are frequent in-app advertisements that must be navigated around, unless one wishes to pay a subscription fee for ad-free usage.
Huntstand is perhaps the most well-rounded hunting app currently available, and features a multitude of diverse functions, well beyond those offered by many similar apps. This program provides topographic, 3-D, and satellite maps, as well as in-depth weather forecast charting. Property information can also be accessed for nearly any given parcel, allowing you to easily reach property owners in a bid to gain land access.
Another excellent feature of the Huntstand app is its public access function. This function allows you to locate often overlooked parcels of public hunting ground, across virtually any area of the United States. Likewise, Huntstand also identifies any nearby recreational properties that are currently for sale.
Access to the Huntstand app, and all of its numerous functions, can be had for a yearly subscription fee of $24.99. Once downloaded, the app provides an easy to use interface, free of any disruptive ads.
Drury Outdoors DeerCast
The Drury Outdoors DeerCast app provides users with several helpful features for planning their next hunt. This app factors in moon phase, temperature, and barometric pressure to provide you with forecasted times of peak deer movement. The key to this app’s success is that all information is gleaned from local forecasts for your selected area, providing you with personalized information going into every hunt.
Those who utilize the DeerCast app are also treated to the DeerCast Track function, which provides a 3-D model for shot placement analysis. Simply select the angle and point of impact for any shot taken, and the 3-D model will reveal which vital structures were encountered, and advice will be given regarding how best to proceed with tracking.
A free version of the DeerCast app is available for download, though its functions are limited. Pro and Elite versions of the app come with yearly subscription fees of $9.99 and $19.99, respectively.
The Powderhook hunting app is an excellent program for outdoorsmen from every walk of life, but should be especially helpful to those who are new to hunting as a whole. This app is interactive in nature, allowing hunters to post questions regarding various topics, which are then answered by others in the same general area. This can be a useful tool for those attempting to grow in their pursuits, that might not have access to a mentor for assistance along the way.
Additionally, the Powderhook app provides high-resolution maps, public land access guides, and localized weather information. This app also keeps a running log of hunting-related events in any given area, providing users with an excellent way to get involved with conservation organizations and locate mentorship opportunities.
Perhaps the best part about the Powderhook app is that it is completely free to its users. Simply download the app, and join a growing community of hunters who are looking to share information, and help each other grow in their appreciation for the outdoors.
While it is indeed true that hunting is one of the best ways to escape from the confines of our ultra-modern society, the case for packing a cell phone afield has increasingly strengthened in recent years. Hunters are now able to use their phones as an effective tool, which can assist them in their ongoing endeavors. By downloading any of the abovementioned apps, you might be surprised to find how integral your mobile device becomes in your overall hunting strategy.