What if you had the power of known hunting grounds, weather forecasting, GPS location and common prey in the palm of your hands? What could you do with it?
Depending on which hunting app you choose, you could end up with all the necessary information to make better positioning decisions, and accurate travel time estimates without having to rack your brain.
No maps, no charting out your course; it can all be done for you.
We’ve comprised this list of the best hunting apps to make your hunting trip a little more enjoyable.
It’s difficult enough to get your prey into position for you to actually pull the trigger, so why make the rest of the process increasingly more difficult?
Take away the guesswork, let the simple tasks be done for you, and focus on what’s important: bagging your game.
Best Hunting Apps
Range Finder for Deer Hunting
Knowing your distance is absolutely critical.
It’s going to dictate your shots, it will define how close you come to your target.
If you’re hunting whitetail, then you already know that their hearing and sense of smell are outrageous.
You need to stay concealed for as long as possible before you approach them, and this range-finding app will do the trick.
As one of the best apps for hunting whitetail deer, you’re basically getting the most accurate phone app range you can possibly find on either the Android or iOS store.
While it utilizes your phone’s camera, it operates differently from most rangefinders, using a more complex method of calculating the actual distance.
Whether you’re on an old phone or a brand new one, you’ll be able to enjoy a very narrow margin of error, ensuring that you have a proper distance from your target.
When you fire this app up, it’s going to give some visible screen shaking at first while it tries to sync up with your camera.
I don’t recommend opening the app and expecting immediately perfect results; give it a few seconds.
With any range finder app, you have to really focus on your stability.
Every phone has a stabilizer inside (which is what detects auto-rotate mode), but if you’re standing on a slope, you’re going to notice a bit of an issue.
This is just a smartphone thing, not an app thing, but it will affect how you use the app.
Try to stabilize yourself and stand on even ground when available, and steady your hands before you continue using it.
The overlay provides a compact and convenient series of information without crowding up your HUD space.
It’s simple to use and requires very little working knowledge to get started with.
There are no crazy settings that you have to toy with first; just open it up and get ready to locate the distance of your target.
|Type of App:||Rangefinder|
Range to Target 200m
If you don’t like things simple, that’s okay: Range to Target gives you the option to really mess with your settings and see what works the best.
Either that or you can stick to the default settings if you’re only looking for quick answers on your target’s distance. Whatever works for you.
For the simple model, it fires up almost right away and gives you plenty of information on your overlay.
In fact, almost too much. You can go into your settings to manipulate how much of the overlay is actually visible, but the options are limited.
Our top pick is definitely better if visibility is your number one concern with a rangefinder.
If thin white lettering and symbols aren’t enough for you, that’s okay; there’s a way to change it to bright red, or another vibrant color that allows you to see it with more clarity.
You’re also going to have the option to change it to meters, yards, kilometers, or flip the app into landscape mode if portrait just isn’t cutting it.
Just be warned that when you flip it into the landscape, some of the buttons have been known to disappear.
You either have to flip back to portrait then back to landscape to rest it, or just close the app and restart it all together.
It’s a minor bug, but it’s something to keep in mind moving forward.
Change the height settings, the distance font size, and mark your targets with a logbook function.
One of the most difficult things about syncing an app with your camera, even when you allow app permissions, is that it takes a while for the app and the camera to actually communicate.
For this app, in particular, it can lead to on-screen blurriness, or trouble focusing if you aren’t standing still as a statue.
It’s not a life-ending bug, but it’s definitely something that you want to keep in mind during use.
|Type of App:||Rangefinder|
Wind Direction for Deer Hunting – Deer Windfinder
There are three main types of deer hunting apps, and while it may not seem like it now, wind direction apps are probably the most important.
It’s good to know the distance between you and your target, but if the wind is carrying your scent across the fields to your prey, then it’s all for naught.
Wind direction apps are no easy tool to master, nor are they easy to make.
It’s difficult to pinpoint it all; primarily because for this, you need to be hooked up to the internet or data GPS mapping features.
You’re going to encounter that with any wind direction app. Live GPS information can show wind speed and direction.
With the Deer Windfinder app, you’re rapidly connected to live updates that track real-time wind direction movements.
While the wind speed might pick up and die back down, the direction usually changes at a slower pace.
Deer Windfinder will keep you in the loop about the direction as you carry on with your hunt.
With Deer Windfinder, you can pinpoint specific hunting location tracking and even name/rename them as you see fit.
If you’re going to a new hunting ground, you can mark different spots and save them as you hunt to get up-to-date information on the wind speed in that area.
This will make it much easier on your second trip to see where you should be positioning yourself for more successful hunts.
You can log multiple spots through a simple menu option.
One of the best features of the Deer Windfinder app is the quick refresh and minimal HUD display.
It shows you what you need without cluttering up your screen, so you can actually keep track of what’s important without completely obstructing your vision of the map customization.
|Type of App:||Wind direction|
HuntStand: Hunting Maps, GPS Tools, Weather
Are you moving to a new state?
Did your hunting spot get overrun with tourists moving to an up-and-coming area?
It happens to the best of us. It’s a force outside of our control most of the time.
But with HuntStand, it’s far easier to get situated in a new area with little to no issues.
I’ll be the first one to say that their pro version blows their free version out of the water.
They don’t update the free version as often as they should for map changes and adjustments, but it’s still a formidable app to help you make sense of a new area.
That being said, one of the big strengths that this app has is data.
Not phone data; information on public and private land that you can or cannot hunt on.
It’s basically like having insurance against stepping on the wrong property lines if you keep your eyes peeled and identify where you are.
You can add information to public land boundaries or properties as well, giving custom icons or highlighted sections to valleys, forests, or places where you were able to find plenty of prey.
While this isn’t something that you’re just going to share online with strangers, the reason this additional feature is so groundbreaking is that you can share it with your close friends who also use HuntStand.
If you’re part of a community of hunters, or you’re trying to convince your step-brother and father to go to a new hunting ground because the one you’re at is getting tired, this is the way to do it.
You can scout it out, send them information about it in real-time, and then have them open the app and inspect it with you.
Talk over the phone with them while you discuss the benefits of the areas, what you’ve seen, and move your hunting party to a new place.
Information will be displayed in a list-based format, ranging from archery-specific areas, hunting classifications are in the area, deer lottery, property type, and other information.
With the standard version of the app, it mostly uses local GPS, which is the equivalent of a saved map on your system.
That means it’s not being updated like the HuntStand Pro members are.
However, if you do upgrade, then you can have access to two separate satellite providers after a one-time upgrade fee.
It’s far cheaper than a Garmin watch, and it’s got decent customer support that responds to inquiries quickly.
|Type of App:||Wind direction|
Goose Hunting App & Diagrams
Goose hunting isn’t easy.
One mistake, and you’ve wasted hours worth of work. It’s important to get your decoy diagram perfect right from the start.
The Canada goose is one of the most sought-after waterfowl in North America, but sought-after doesn’t mean that they’re easy to bag.
When you’re planting your decoy(s), there’s a rhyme and a reason. A method to the madness.
This goose hunting app allows you to see countless diagrams that dictate where you should set up your decoy(s), where you should be aiming your gun, and where your prey is going to hunting land in accordance with the decoy.
It gives you the perfect ability to track your shot before you ever squeeze the trigger.
Some famous diagrams are included, as well as some that you’ve likely not seen before.
But it isn’t only the diagrams that give this app its value. It breaks down everything including the number of decoys to use, adjustment, and the type of decoy.
One seriously critical rookie mistake is that most newcomer hunters don’t take the time to really understand the difference between types of decoys.
Even if it’s only a small difference in a goose species or duck species for that matter, it’s enough to ward off the potential game if you don’t know what you’re doing.
With this, you’ll be able to find the individual benefits of each diagram and how they correlate to the rest of your hunt.
You’ll even be able to learn how to conceal yourself better (in your environment, not with individual camo choices) so that snow geese and Canada geese don’t spot you when they make their descent.
Each diagram has a descent pattern in mind, so if you know how to get a leg up on your prey, you’ll be able to hunt with confidence and bring something home to brag about.
|Type of App:||Duck hunting|
Supreme Duck Hunting
As one of the best apps for hunting duck, you know it has to include tons of information.
Supreme Duck Hunting stood out among the rest because it actually allows you to look at different information about the latest hunts in your area, and showcase your hunt to an online community.
If you don’t want to give your spots away, you can at least check this out and determine where other hunters will be so you know where to stay clear of.
Log your hunts so you can pull back the data at a later date.
You’ll be able to view information about what birds you hunted, the weather prediction, your exact current location (thanks to the GPS mode), and keep an archive of everything you’ve done.
At the time of writing this, it’s important to know that this app is in beta mode.
It’s not the only app you should be using, but it is certainly something that can help you out on your hunt.
I recommend already knowing how to identify some different waterfowl species before heading out since there’s a little bit of disparity between the available species in the archives.
You don’t want to accidentally hunt something that was out of hunting season.
The archives are incomplete, so I would use this to log your information and get the app while it’s free so that when it comes out with an update, you’re already set to go.
As for the UI and responsiveness, it’s a very well-put-together app, they just don’t have all the features in quite yet.
|Type of App:||Duck hunting|
Hunting App Buying Guide And FAQs
What Kind of Apps are Out There?
There are some real niche apps that pertain to one very specific area of hunting, but for the most part, you’ll want apps that include most or all of these features.
In my experience, it’s important to have multiple apps, since there are rarely one-size-fits-all apps that cover absolutely everything you need.
Some are fantastic with certain features and lacking in others; it’s just a balancing game until you find what works for you.
Being able to see where you’re going, where you’ve been, and where you are.
Whether connected to your data or in offline mode, it’s imperative to have a constant understanding of your position.
You want to be out of the woods before dark, and it’s easy to think you’ve only traveled X amount of feet, when in fact you’re much further away from your exit than you think.
When you line up a compound bow shot, or you’re trying to lead your rifle shots for ducks, you need to know the distance.
This not only helps when you’re accounting for wind speed and direction in your shots, but it also lets you know when a target is too far and you need to move in closer.
Using a rangefinder, accompanied by a GPS unit, can be all the navigation you need.
Wind Speed and Direction
This aspect of these apps is seriously taken for granted.
Wind speed is good to know if you’re using a compound or a crossbow, but direction matters a whole lot more.
If you’re hunting whitetails, you should know that they can smell you from miles away.
If the wind direction changes, it can carry your scent and spook them even more. Super windy, stormy days are bad for hunting because of this.
Hunting maps and GPS are a bit different.
You can get an overhead GPS view of your area, but hunting maps will highlight trails, and other hunters that log their experiences can say what they were able to bag, how long they stayed in one area, and talk about key points (ponds, dens, caves, etc.) that you might not get from your standard GPS setting.
The perfect vantage point could be on that app.
Some hunters are even known to leave tree stands up and list the days that they won’t be using them, which is a huge bonus.
We’re in a day and age where you can get the weather from a sign outside of a bank.
People have watches that display the weather on a 10-day forecast.
I look at the forecast as a nice app to have and use as a tool, but not the most critical app you should have.
These come in handy until you can eventually memorize them.
These diagrams show you how to set up your decoys for the most effectiveness, from deployment to quantity to placement.
There’s a lot that goes into placing your decoys, and arguably, this is the most critical app when it comes to the actual hunt.
How Can Apps Help You While Hunting?
When you head out to hunting, you check your gear, your concealment, your weapons, and everything you physically can, you’re about halfway prepared.
Hunting has a lot to do with movements, understanding how to rotate to different spots, and keeping your distance so your gunshots and/or arrows hit their mark every single time.
You can’t do all of that with the naked eye.
If you spot a whitetail up ahead enjoying a drink from a pond, you have to ask yourself if you have the shot or not.
If you miss or fail, you’ve alerted every whitetail for about a half-mile radius, at the very least.
Getting the right angle and position can be simple with the help of pinpointing accurate GPS, which uses the hardware that already exists on your phone.
You can use a terrain/satellite mode to survey the area ahead, right from your screen, and determine the best possible spot to get a jump on your prey.
Just be sure to rotate quietly.
Charting a Course
You’re going to a new hunting ground, or you’re hunting in a new state.
You don’t know the trail ahead, which is where these apps come into play.
You could get an overhead view of the area from Google Maps if you wanted, but it’s not going to highlight trails and traveled paths from previous hunters quite the same way.
This helps you plan the distance, what provisions you’ll need, and how long it’s going to take so you can get a good estimate for when you’ll have to leave before sundown.
It’s like having a command center in the palm of your hand.
Depending on what you’re hunting, you might need a visual aid to identify certain species before you squeeze the trigger.
For waterfowl hunting, there are a few books I would recommend, but it’s not so black and white with other animals.
Do You Need to be in the Range of Your Data Provider?
Technically, you can use some features of some apps while being completely offline.
You don’t have to be hooked up to your data provider and absolutely tank your data bill.
For GPS systems, think about those old Tom Toms on your dashboard: those weren’t hooked up to the internet.
They come with preloaded maps that use positioning software, without the aid of a satellite, so you can track your position in real-time.
It’s why you might have gone down a road with an old, outdated map, but your GPS system said: “Get back on a road.” They’re working off preloaded maps.
Most GPS apps give you the option to preload your maps, but it has a hefty file size.
Considering that the average smartphone only has between 8GB and 16GB of total memory (not including the operating system), you might need to dump some other apps or photos.
It could be a hefty file.
Apps that require input from the user, such as range-finding apps, don’t necessarily need data or the internet to operate.
However, if you wanted to take advantage of some apps that allow other hunters to rate spots, describe their hunt, and use a community-driven content system, you’re not going to get that in offline mode.
If you plan on logging your hunts, then it depends on what app you’re using.
Find out in the description if it has an offline mode, and what that offline mode supports.
It may log the information you submit locally (on your device), and then upload it when you connect to data or Wi-Fi again. This is subject to the individual app.
Why Are Diagrams so Important While Hunting?
Because if you can’t place your decoys appropriately, then you’re not going to attract other waterfowl to the area.
You need your decoys to get a bit of sunlight so that they can reflect it, you need spaces between the different decoy types that you’re going to use, and it has to be a natural amount of distance.
There’s a lot to it. Diagramming and placing your decoys is an art.
Through other hunters and wildlife research, we know how waterfowl behave (for the most part), so the goal is to emulate their most natural habitat and environment by filling it up with waterfowl decoys.
Without diagrams, you’re basically trying to construct a building with no blueprint.
I mention in this guide that some hunters may remember these diagrams and just pull from their mental archives when setting up decoys, but that’s not the case for everybody.
It’s good to have your diagrams ready in case you need to reference them at any point.
Positioning your decoys is so important to a successful hunt, especially in the middle of an open marsh with no reeds to hide behind.
You want to make sure you do it right and double-check your work as you go.
Nothing wrong with being prepared and having a check and balance system in the works.
How Many Apps Are Enough?
As many as you need.
Beginners will benefit more from having multiple apps such as GPS locations and wind speed, rangefinders, and diagrams.
More seasoned professionals may no longer need the diagrams if they can pull them from memory, or may not need identification methods for different types of waterfowl (duck hunting apps).
But there are some that are always useful.
A rangefinder app can save you tons of money on an actual rangefinder (and reduce your carry weight on top of it), and it’s always important to have an offline GPS app just to be on the safe side.
As time goes on, you’ll slowly back away from some beginner-level apps, and stick to critical tools in their place.
Apply Yourself To The Hunt
Data is glorious, and when you log your hunts and figure out how to utilize that data to plan your next trip, there’s nothing you can’t do.
From wind speed and direction to range finding, previously recorded hunting spots (from other hunters), and more, there’s no reason not to have a hunting app on your phone.
You’re going to have it on you anyway, why not turn it into a tool?
Related: Best Duck Call For Beginners