Hunting App Overload

Do apps belong in the woods while you hunt?

One of the best things about hunting is being able to get outside and feel like you're at one with nature and away from everything and everyone.

One of the best things about smart phone technology is that we can stay connected to the world from almost anywhere and nobody knows we're not at the office!

Sadly, I know which areas of my hunting club have good cell phone service and which areas don't and over the last few years, the "no coverage" areas are getting smaller and smaller.

Let me stress that having technology with you out deer hunting isn't always a bad thing. Need help dragging a deer out of the woods? Have 20 minutes of daylight left and you need someone to help you track a deer? Anyone ever been stuck in a mud hole? A simple phone call and you can get help on the way quickly.

But when it comes to apps on your phone it's easy to get overloaded by an app developers zest for adding features and complexity to an app which results in you serving an app rather than an app working for you.

Grouping Hunting Apps by category

After spending several days downloading and testing multiple hunting apps, my brain was swimming in a waterspout and I decided to restart my search. Rather than looking at gee-whiz features in each app, I listed what I want an app to do for me while I'm in the woods or getting ready for the woods. Here's my listing of things I thought of that I either will need or nix.

1. Weather - Everyone looks at the weather because weather conditions may help you decide which deer stand you are going to use, how you approach your stand, what you're wearing or if you're going to work today (lol). I want an accurate weather radar on a map that shows me where I am. I also want hourly wind, temperature, cloud cover and precipitation predictions. Another point is the app needs to tell me where it's getting it's data from, I'm a lot happier with data from a weather station 2 miles away than I am from one 20 miles away. Right now, my hands down favorite weather is the Weather Underground app.

2. Topo Maps - I have a military background and love reading maps and I almost always have a map in my pocket complete with notes. I'm not really interested in satellite views on my phone because they may or may not be accurate, I just want the contour lines along with roads, creeks, lakes and power lines. My ideal app should also let me calculate distance between several points. One of my kids shot a deer and I looked and congratulated him on his "180 - 190 yard shot" and he told me it only a little over 100 yards. A golfing friend told me it was 250. The land owner told me 225 and a marine was sure it was about 125 yards. I put the marked the treestand on Topo Maps, then marked where the deer was shot (he only took a few steps) and amazingly, the app agreed with me at 180 yards! Here is a review of Topo Maps by Phil Endecott

3. Location of Friends - This feature sounded really cool, but do you really want someone to know the exact location of your favorite stand? I don't. In our hunting club we hunt anywhere in the area we block out and I don't want to tell anyone the location of the huge white oak loaded with acorns ready to drop.

4. Solunar Tables - Believe them or not, I encourage you to look at them before you go to your stand then note when you hear people shooting. I'm a believer, but if the tables say the best hunting time starts at 10:00 AM, I'll still be in my stand before sun up, but will probably not come down for lunch.

5. Game Calls - This will be the first year I've tried using a game call for deer. Several of my friends take calls and antlers to their stands and I guess after this year I'll know weather to make fun of them or not. The only calls I'll ever use are crow calls and a few deer sounds and for the deer sounds I'm going to try Deer Calls Pro.

I'll be updating this page as I conduct my research, and if you have a favorite app I need to try and tell people about let me know.

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