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Planning Out of State Hunting Trips

man sits on a mountain with a spotting scope

Planning an out of state hunting trip involves quite a bit of organization and preparation. Especially if we are talking about a 7-10 day out west type hunt for big game. Licenses, tags, food, lodging and your gear are just some of the details that you’ll obsess over in the weeks leading up to the hunt.

When it comes to the actual land/property you will be hunting, technology has become very helpful in getting you familiar with the “lay of the land.” Whether you will be chasing mule deer on massive tracts of National Forest in New Mexico or going after that bucket list Osceola in southern Florida, knowing where property lines are and where you are legal to hunt is of high importance. The many different available map layers in the OnX hunt app really gives you an in depth and detailed look at both public and private lands and every property line that intersects them. This is a great tool to utilize when doing your pre-hunt scouting regardless of the species.

Some of the map layers I find useful when doing some remote scouting before your hunt are topography, water, tree species and habitat, and crop data. The OnX app allows you add the layers to any area you are scouting to give you great details on what the area will consist of and what to expect, all while you scout the area from your recliner hundreds of miles away!

two men stand in bottomland camo amidst elk country

As with many things, the internet is a wealth of information when it comes to learning about an unfamiliar area you plan to hunt. I generally spend a good bit of time researching the web for helpful tips on the area I am headed to. Some of these checklist items to look into are common sense but they are worth mentioning especially for novice travelers. Obviously there are a lot of variables that go into what you need to bring and prepare for gear wise depending on if your hunt is with an outfitter and 5 Star lodging and accommodations or roughing it out of a spike camp eating peanut butter and granola bars. Here are a few things to think about taking with you, this is by no means the list to live by but it will be a big part. I have had trips where most of it was not needed and also a couple where I used things I thought I never would. As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

  • Licenses, tags, bag limits and regulations. Digital and paper form
  • Field dressing equipment. Knives, game bags, bone saws
  • First aid/basic med kit, emergency signaling devices
  • Trail marking gear, para-cord, zip ties, multi-tool, sharpening stone
  • Maps, compass, GPS, solar charger
  • Freeze dried food, emergency rations, water filter/purification tablets
  • Matches, lighter, disposable camera, pen/paper, ziplock, dry bags
  • Gear/Clothing for the area and possible inclement weather/Extra boots
  • Ammo/Arrows, Binoculars, Rangefinder, extra batteries
  • Flashlights, headlamps, lantern, fire making accessories

Once you make your trip you will continue to find a lot of uses with the app. The live GPS tracker feature that keeps up with you step for step provides a lot of comfort in unfamiliar territory. On a recent elk hunting trip I made on public land in Colorado, we were able to follow bugles and look for waterholes and other sign and mark these with the waypoint feature. Once back in camp we were sharing all our scouting with the rest of our crew to help everyone dial in on what the elk were doing and what our best chances were based on everyone’s collected scouting info. The distance we walked each day displayed against the map layers we chose and the satellite imagery was invaluable info, especially for a number/data geek like myself. The following spring I guided on a wounded veterans turkey hunt in northern Maine on both private and public lands. The OnX app was probably the most used tool for me the entire week since it was all unfamiliar territory to me. Out of state hunting can be a little over whelming if you let it but there are loads of info and details available to help you if you take the time to look for and utilize it.

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