Curious to learn how hunting apps can help you find the perfect spots, but unsure how it all works with private property laws? Here’s some guidance on some favorite hunting apps and how to use them both legally and ethically.
First, let’s go over a number of apps–some of which are hunting-related but also useful for fishing, others of which are strictly fishing-related. Each category offers unique benefits and can be used for different purposes.
Hunting apps often have the best features for scouting terrain and finding feeder creeks, whereas fishing apps usually have features to track fish and see other fishermen’s reports. These are just a few of the differences, so let’s dig in.
OnX: a top hunting app
This pioneering, hunting-specific GPS app is on the top of our list for a reason. As an app, onX boasts a huge number of features. It lets you view property boundaries in real-time while out in the field, it loads quickly even in poor service areas and you can download maps for offline usage if you’re nervous about its data-gobbling tendencies.
Additionally, for a monthly membership, you can pay to get access to private property owner information. This lets you approach property owners for their permission to hunt or fish. Mossy Oak is currently offering its fans an exclusive partnership deal on the onX membership packages.
A particular smart hunting app provides over 70 years of combined professional whitetail hunting experience from two of the most effective deer hunters the outdoor industry has ever seen. That app is DeerCast and it was designed by the founders of Drury Outdoors, brothers Mark and Terry Drury. The Drury duo launched their highly-popular brand in 1989 and became a commonly known name in any hunter’s household. DeerCast offers users in-the-field algorithms that forecast the measure of how likely deer are to move. The provided forecasts broken down to the hour.
HuntStand offers advanced mapping, land management, reporting, social and collaboration tools. Hunters who use HuntStand in the field can use huntstand.com to enhance their maps, collaborate, share successes and gain powerful insights into their land and their hunts.
This is an app for both hunters and fishermen. It’s largely an app for locating public lands, with typical map overlays and a social networking platform that gives hunters and fishermen the chance to share photos, information and tips with others in their local area.
Tap on a public land area, and it will give you the details: acreage, boundaries and reviews. It lacks the sophistication of onX, but it does offer connectivity and interpersonal exchange between hunters and fishermen.
This free app is designed exclusively for fishermen. The app not only lets you connect with other fishermen but is specifically designed for helping you find new fishing spots. It includes regularly updated fishing reports, a 7-day forecast, a fishing logbook, Solunar forecasting, a local fishing news feed, interactive maps and plenty of opportunities to connect with other fishermen in your local area.
While this app isn’t free, it levels up on the Fishangler idea by providing users with membership package options. It’s a sophisticated GPS fishing app that lets you set your customized waypoints, read fishing spot reviews, peruse up-to-date information on seasonal fish behavior and waterway health and see private land ownership boundaries on built-in maps.
Using the apps
Those were just a few examples of top fishing and hunting apps, but how do you optimize these apps for your own fishing and hunting advantage?
It all depends on the app. Some apps can help you connect with other hunters and fishermen to discuss spots, while others will help you locate a prime hunting or fishing location via sophisticated GPS overlays and private property information. Let’s walk through the process of finding your ideal spot.
Private property versus public land
First, determine if you want to hunt or fish on private property or public land. Public land is generally more frequently trafficked, but easier to get to. With private property, you have to research your spot ahead of time, ask for permission to hunt or fish from the owner and potentially do some backcountry hiking to get to your spot.
If you want to hunt or fish on public land, an app like PowderHook or Fishangler would probably do the trick. With its public land information, PowderHook is a good option for budget-minded outdoorsmen looking for spot reviews and connectivity.
However, if you’re looking to hunt or fish on private land, onX is a much better option. With its sophisticated overlays, GPS mapping system and private property information, it gives you many more tools to work with.
Ethically accessing private property
To obtain permission to hunt on private property, use onX to find private property information. Next comes the somewhat awkward but potentially extremely rewarding step of asking for permission.
Ask the owner in person. To do this, it’s probably easiest to drive by the property. Make sure you’re looking clean-cut and presentable and look for owners who are out in their yard. Approach them confidently but respectfully and explain why you would like access to their property.
Offer to help them maintain their hunting or fishing site and explain your conservation-oriented point of view. Show them your hunting tags or tell them how you plan to catch and release fish. Let them know you’re interested in keeping the spot top-notch for future users.
Finding awesome private land spots
Of course, there’s no point in obtaining permission to hunt or fish if you haven’t found a spot worth the awkwardness of asking.
If you’re hunting, use onX’s sophisticated software to help you find secluded locations where your prey of choice is most likely to gather. Look for topographical information that would indicate waterways surrounded by trees for the right balance of animal traffic and hunting stand options. Remember: Search for spots where there are likely to be fewer hunters, low pressure on the hunted population and excellent food and water sources.
As for fishing, search for secluded waterways or lake shores encompassed by trees. Of course, this is very general advice, and the species of fish you’re after will largely determine the water factors you examine. However, in general, the more secluded and less pressured the spot, the better. In this case, you can use hunting apps and reviewed spots to help get you as far away from the most crowded or most frequented fishing locations as possible.
Regardless of your personal spot choice, remember to follow your state’s regulations for hunting and fishing, to adhere to conservation ethics and to respect any other hunters or fishermen, whether they are in the stand over or in generations to come.
Apps can come in handy for a number of reasons. Different apps can help you sort through different types of information and help you find the spot that’s perfect for what you’re after. Respect private property laws and any other outdoorsmen you encounter, and you’re good to go.