January 21, 2014
By Mark Kenyon
While enduring a long, slow, all-day hunt this past November, I remember spending a few minutes at mid-day scrolling through recent updates on Twitter, when I came across a real gem of a tweet.
An online comedian wrote, "Give a man a deer and he'll feed his family for a year. Teach a man to hunt, and he'll sit in a tree playing on his phone all day."
Wow. I immediately laughed out loud and realized that he had me pegged!
It's true, the smart phone has become a constant companion for today's hunter. On the one hand it can be a dangerous distraction, keeping you from focusing on the potential deer movement around you. But if used carefully and in moderation, the benefits of the smart phone and mobile apps for today's hunter are plentiful.
That said — and to make sure you're getting the most out of your smart phone — here are 10 of the best mobile apps for the whitetail hunter.
For a quick view at the weather and wind direction at your hunting property, it's hard to beat the AccuWeather
app. Both hourly and extended, 15-day forecasts are available in this visually pleasing weather application, and each includes your usual details such as temperature, wind, precipitation, barometric pressure, etc.
Additionally, you can view current radar conditions for your area in real time. With all the weather and wind information you could need in the palm of your hand, the days of checking the flag blowing outside your window for wind direction are long gone.
is the premier mapping app for mobile devices, allowing you to view satellite imagery of basically any location in the world. Even better, though, is the fact that the Google Earth maps are 3D, taking into account topography of the land.
This allows you to easily see ridges, valleys and many other topographic features that can affect your hunting strategy. On top of that, you can also clearly identify food sources, rivers, creeks and even trails. With simple touch gestures, you can 'fly ' across your hunting property and view it from different heights and angles as well.
The ability to virtually 'scout ' hunting properties with Google Earth has made a huge impact on my hunting success, and there's not a day that goes by when hunting that I'm not checking Google Earth to think through my hunting plan.
iBooks or Google Books
Whether you have an iPhone
or an Android
, the book reading application on your phone is an invaluable tool to help you brave long days on stand — and also up your whitetail knowledge.
Staying on stand all day is crucial during the rut, and one of the best ways to keep yourself out there is to have an occasional source of distraction. A good whitetail book read on your phone is a perfect way to do that. With both of these apps you can easily buy and download new books at the touch of a button, and each allows you to easily read a book without the added nuisance of carrying a large paperback to the stand.
Available for iBooks are great whitetail books such as 'The Whitetail Advantage ' by Dr. Dave Samuel and 'Hunting Mature Whitetails the Lakosky Way ' by Lee & Tiffany Lakosky. For Google Books you can pick up titles such as 'Bowhunting Pressured Whitetails ' by John & Chris Eberhart, and 'Growing & Hunting Quality Bucks ' by Tom Indrebo.
is a daily motivational app to help you create and maintain good habits. As a hunter, creating good habits can be incredibly important. For example, Lift can help you institute daily archery practice or an exercise regimen.
With Lift, you create your desired habit and determine how often you want to complete this task. Each time you complete the task or habit, you check in with the app and your progress is recorded and shared with your friends.
Your friends can then give you 'props ' for keeping up with your habit, or offer other suggestions and comments. If you don't check-in, the app can even send you reminders to keep you honest. Also included are Lift Plans, which are daily instructions provided to help you achieve various popular goals.
NAW Whitetail+ App
The Whitetail+ app
is the portal into one of the best social networks for the whitetail hunter. With the Whitetail+ app you can share your best hero shots, trail camera pics or even treestand 'selfies '. In addition to photo sharing, you can also ask questions which can be answered by fellow whitetail hunters or even North American Whitetail editors.
The more photos and responses you post, the more points you earn, and these points can be used to win gear and other contests.
SAS Survival Guide
The SAS survival guide
has been one of the best selling and highest regarded survival guides available for years, and now it's available in digital form on your mobile phone.
Whenever you venture into the wild, it pays to be prepared for the worst. And with the SAS Survival Guide, you'll have all the information you'll need to handle any situation the great outdoors can throw at you.
Included in this app is the full text of the SAS Survival Guide book, as well as a number of great videos sharing survival tips, photo galleries, survival checklists, interactive quizzes and more.
The ScoutLook DeerLog
app is a combination mapping and weather app, merging together customized maps, weather, wind, solunar times and a deer journal — all in one package.
With DeerLog you can view your hunting property and mark your various stand locations and other key areas on the map. Also available is the ability to track deer sightings, and each time you record a sighting, it automatically logs the time, date, location, weather and moon information.
Speaking of the moon, the solunar data provided in the ScoutLook app is invaluable and presented nicely. It includes major/minor solunar times highlighted, moon phases and times for the moon to be overhead, underfoot, rising and setting.
Another nice feature is the ScentCone, which allows you to mark a treestand location and then see where the wind at a given time will be blowing. This can help you visualize what stands are safe to hunt and which ones aren't, given a certain wind direction.
Trimble GPS Hunt
The Trimble GPS app
is another terrific mapping app, which includes different information from Google Earth. This app allows you to view satellite imagery, topographic maps, and a number of other map overlays.
While the basic app is free, with a small additional fee you can get access to some invaluable information such as public land boundaries and forest service roads. Additionally, you can overlay private land parcel boundaries, along with land owner information.
On top of that, this app also allows you to plot your current location, mark waypoints, and track info such as mileage, speed, elevation and more. As an added bonus, this app even includes a ballistics calculator.
Deer Tactics & Calls
If you're looking for help with your deer calling technique, check out the Deer Tactics & Calls app
. Not only does the app provide 12 different calls and grunts, it also gives you tips for what situations to use them in. There's also a useful calendar tool that walks you through the different stages of the rut and connects it to calling tactics.
Mark Kenyon runs Wired To Hunt, one of the top deer hunting resources online, featuring daily deer hunting news, stories and strategies for the whitetail addict.