- Chris Campanelli
5 Apps to Download this Hunting Season
Photo by OtterBox
Many people say that the outdoors and technology do not mix. Smartphones distract you while in the treestand, make obnoxious noises and take away from the outdoor experience as a whole. All of that may be true, but there is absolutely no doubt that tech and hunting are becoming more synonymous and synchronized.
You would be hard-pressed to find a hunter without a smartphone or at least some connection to technology. That is probably true for the general population as well. While there are surely old-school hunters and average folks out there who refuse any touch of tech, an overwhelming majority rely on it.
Developers within the outdoor industry have taken note. Whether we're talking about hunting-specific apps that help you track weather and view maps or apps that send you pictures from a cellular trail camera, there are now numerous apps directed at hunters and outdoorsmen. So many that I could not possibly list them all for you in this article. However, I do want to share some of my personal favorites and some that I have my eye on for 2018.
If you're ignoring all of the great hunting and weather apps out there, you're simply doing yourself a disservice. All of the information can only help you in the pursuit of that trophy of a lifetime. You just have to know what you're looking for, use it wisely and put that phone away once you hit the field.
Without further delay, let's talk about some of my favorites and the perks that each brings to the table. Just so you know, we tried to include apps that have web and app-based services plus download options for Apple and Android users.
1. Wunderground Weather
A weather app to lead the list? Yep. There's very good reason. As a whitetail hunter, you have to double as an amateur weather guy to truly pinpoint the best days to hit the deer woods. There are so many factors at play when it comes to weather and deer movement, and the free Wunderground app or their web home at wunderground.com covers just about everything. Barometric pressure charts, moon data, sunlight and sunset data, a great radar map and so much more. I was turned on to Wunderground by a physical geography professor in college, so I have come to trust it ever since. It may not help you to plot stand locations or do anything hunting-specific, but weather is the ultimate player in hunting. That is exactly why a weather app checks in first on the list.
2. Drury Outdoors DeerCast
I am so intrigued by the Drury Outdoors DeerCast app that I stuck it in here at No.2 without doing so much as downloading it. Yes, you read correctly. Now hear me out. Drury Outdoors will not make this app available until August 28, 2018. However, they have been teasing features and marketing it heavily on their famed Outdoor Channel hit series 'Thirteen'. If the app is free of technical issues, it will be an absolute home run. I've currently got it pegged to take over as my favorite hunting-specific app, so I see a ton of potential. When it comes to hunting smart and knowing all of the intricacies of whitetail hunting, I respect very few names more than the Drury Outdoors name. Mark and Terry Drury are deer hunting legends in my book. They study and share information like no other television personalities. They are claiming to have put their decades of knowledge and experience into this app. While we will certainly have to wait and follow up at a later date to be sure, I see excellent features in this app. It looks pretty clear to me that they copied the weather chart from Wunderground, one of Mark Drury's favorite weather apps, and pasted a similar weather predictor into their app. They even developed an algorithm that reads the various factors at play and spits out a reading on potential deer movement for that day. The app is going to be completely free, but that appears to be a first-year deal. The DOD website specifically notes that it will be "completely free during this first year". That certainly sets the table for a monetary charge in future seasons, but it might be worth it. The book is definitely out on DeerCast, but it's my top must-see app heading into this season.
The HuntStand app could have easily checked in at No.1 on my list, but I wanted to get a couple of off-of-the-radar picks in ahead. Nonetheless, I have relied on HuntStand more than any other hunting-specific app, especially when it comes to mapping. HuntStand is completely free, so it has major perks over some of the pay-to-use mapping apps out there. It's also pretty feature-rich for a free app. I really love the mapping features. Sure, they're just simple Google Earth maps that anyone can go and grab. HuntStand is special in the ability it gives you to mark up those maps. You can drag and drop icons to mark everything from stand locations to trail cameras. You also get property boundary information, and you even get 10 free clicks per month to select properties and obtain the name of landowners. They have cool weather and solunar data, a land-for-sale database and even a news feed, but their HuntZone feature is my favorite by far. You simply double-tap your hunting location on the screen and you can get instant wind data for that exact location. It's not always perfectly accurate, but it's close. It provides an awesome visual that shows you where your scent may be carrying for those hours on the stand. Overall, the HuntStand app is an excellent one with tons of features in the free version.
4. onX Hunt
The onX Hunt app has long been a favorite for hunters. As far as I am aware, they were one of the first to put out a high-quality mapping service specifically for hunters. You can see property boundaries and seemingly endless layers when it comes to mapping. If you're big into topographical features, this may be the best app out there. The onX Hunt app comes loaded with so many features that we could not possibly list them all for you here, but you will have to shell out some coin to unlock all of the features within. That is usually where an app like this takes a major hit, because competitors like HuntStand can get you by with some pretty solid basics for absolutely no cost. However, there is not much of a comparison when you really get into the intricate features that onX provides. You truly do get what you pay for. If you are super serious about your mapping, a DIY hunter that constantly hits new ground, or a western hunter hitting big country, the onX Hunt app should probably be around the top of your must-download list.
ScoutLook may have been the very first hunting app that I ever downloaded, and it's a very solid one. The ScoutLook app was one of the first that I am aware of to mix weather data with hunting, and their ScentCone feature truly blew my mind years ago. Much like HuntStand and several others, the ScoutLook app gives you an illustration on where your scent will carry per the wind direction. I do have to say that ScoutLook's weather data tends to be a bit more accurate than a lot of the others. If you're looking for really solid weather data and all of the mapping features in one package, it might be tough to go away from ScoutLook.
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