Best Free Smartphone Apps For Hunting

Best Free Smartphone Apps For Hunting Part of what I love about hunting is that it gets me out in the woods and more in tune with my environment. However, […]

Best Free Smartphone Apps For Hunting

Part of what I love about hunting is that it gets me out in the woods and more in tune with my environment. However, I don’t hunt as an excuse to sit in the woods. I could sit in the woods without the expense and hassle of getting geared up for hunting. Since my goal when hunting is to put meat on the table, I want to use every bit of technology available to increase my odds of success. Over time I collect a lot of data to help reveal patterns in the behaviors of my target prey.
*A warning about using your phone or tablet while hunting*
Don’t forget to look up and scan your hunting area every few SECONDS. I hate to admit it, but I have been surprised when I got too distracted by my phone and didn’t notice a deer approaching the kill zone. Remember that the smartphone is a tool to make your hunt MORE effective and don’t let it distract you from your hunt. Silence your phone before you go hunting so that it doesn’t ring or beep and scare the animals away.
Below are some of the applications for my Android smartphone that I have found valuable. Many have free and paid versions. I have found the free versions to do everything that I need on all of these. Most, if not all of these also have iPhone hunting apps.

My typical hunt routine in terms of apps:

At home before any hunt:

  • Refresh myself on the appropriate calls for the game I will be hunting. For deer hunting in my home state of NC electronic calls are not legal. So, I listen to the calls and try to duplicate them with the Flextone All-N-One deer call and Quaker Boy Rattle Bag that I carry in the field. This app also has predator calls, which are legal to use electronically in NC. When a pack of coyotes surprised me one afternoon while I was sitting in the deer stand I used the mouse distress call to get their attention and the fawn distress call to bring them into the kill zone. It worked perfectly over the speaker in my smartphone. Hunting Calls HD


  • Look over the history of the property I will be hunting on my saved map for that property in Google Maps. For each property that I hunt more than once I create a saved map via google maps and create new layers for various data that I wish to record. I suggest starting with the following layers and adding/deleting layers until you have what is most useful for you. While this is easiest to manage while at home on the computer or tablet, and actually isn’t talking about an app I use on my smartphone, I have included it here since it is another piece of the puzzle and utilizes some of the data collected via the apps below.
    best free smartphone apps for hunting - Google Maps Places

The day before a hunt:

  • Monitor weather and wind predictions and sunrise/sundown times via Scoutlook. The ScentCone feature gives a nice visual representation of the speed and direction the wind will carry my scent. This is critical info in selecting which stand to sit in at any given time.
    best free smartphone apps for hunting - Scoutlookbest free smartphone apps for hunting - Scoutlook2best free smartphone apps for hunting - Scoutlook3

Check hunt predictions daily:

  • I have found this app’s predictions to be hit and miss on the actual “hunt” vs “stay home” prediction. However, the app provides a good summary of influencing factors if you drill down to the day in question. Looks like they have changed the name of this app AGAIN. For the 2017 season it is called HuntWise: The Hunting App
    best free smartphone apps for hunting - Hunt Predictor 1best free smartphone apps for hunting - Hunt Predictor 2 best free smartphone apps for hunting - Hunt Predictor 3

During the hunt:

  • Since the Trimble app below is no longer supported I’m moving to OnXmaps. We met their team at SHOT Show 2017 and they provided an account for us to evaluate the product. Look for updates here as we get more experience with the app and website both for pre-hunt planning and while in the field. I like that on Xmaps has land owner info as well as hunting season info. Surprisingly, there are also map layers available for recreation and water activities.
  • Text messaging. Yeah, I know texting annoys a LOT of people. However, it can be VERY useful when hunting. I have been known to text Gear Report’s own deer hunting guru Brian Mitchell from the deer stand to ask a question about something that I just saw, or what I should do. For example, Mr. Mitchell recently encouraged me to stay in the stand a bit longer after some coyotes roamed through and I was afraid they had scared the deer away. 15 minutes later I shot and killed my first deer of the season. I also often hunt a property that has more than one stand and have a friend in one of the other stands. We can text each other as we see deer moving toward each other’s stands. And for us adults who have responsibilities at home, texting is a great way for the better half to stay in touch without calling.


  • Email. Sadly, sometimes you want to be in the stand hunting, but you need to be at the office working. Depending on what line of work you are in, you might be able to monitor your work email account and respond to urgent issues via email WHILE you are hunting. I am not suggesting that this is ideal, but if your choices are a) go to work , or b) go hunting, sometimes it is nice to add the third option c) work from your phone while hunting.

Before during and after the hunt:

  • Any time I check trail cameras I use ES File Explorer to copy the files from the trail camera’s micro SD memory card, create a new folder on my phone, then paste the files from the micro SD card into the new folder. I also use the Es File Explorer’s built in picture viewer to look at the images.
    best free smartphone apps for hunting - ES File Explorer
  • Record notes & observations while in stand via Google Keep.
    Although, I’m thinking of just using the “notes” section of the Trimble app to record notes, or maybe something else, this is what I am using today. Usually, I figure that I make enough noise getting to and into the stand that I have 15 minutes to kill before any deer might come around. I tend to be too fidgety, so I use the process of recording this info in my phone to help myself mentally transition to sitting still. The only thing moving is the finger on my right hand that is using the touchscreen, the rest of my body is completely still. However, I have found that sometimes the deer show up within minutes of me getting in the stand, so I’m starting to pre-populate as much of this as I can before I leave home, so that I am just making little corrections in the stand instead of typing all of the info from scratch with one hand)
    I record the following kind of info for each hunt:

-time I arrived at the stand and got settled

-sunrise or sunset time (whichever is applicable)
-wind speed & direction
-weather (clear, overcast, rain, etc)
-when & where I spot deer, what they are doing, where they are headed
-sometimes I even record what calls i use, when, if it had any discernible effect
-what weapon and load I am using (especially important when I am preparing reviews for Gear Report)
-who is with me in the stand or elsewhere on the property
-hunting site and stand used
-any feeders, cameras, scents or scrapes deployed: amount, activity, etc.
-anything else that might be useful to remember later

best free smartphone apps for hunting - Google Keep

I end up with a lot of data that I am not sure how to organize. I’m thinking of making a google drive spreadsheet to capture data so that I can then use sorting or pivot tables to view the data in different ways and make trends easier to spot. My big goal is to make it easier to capture and sort the info & turn it into actionable insights that make my hunting more successful. I get really cranky when I sit for hours and don’t even see a deer. I want to minimize that.

How to hold your mobile phone, smart phone or tablet for use while hunting?

This is actually a pretty big issue with using smartphone apps while hunting. You need a quick, easy, and silent way to secure your phone while you are shooting. At first I figured I would just put the phone in my pocket when a deer got close enough to my stand to shoot. However, I learned very quickly that it can be hard to store the phone without making any noise while also trying to get your weapon in position and aimed properly. What is working for me moderately well now is the old pilot trick of strapping something that needs to be secure, but easily accessed to your thigh. I am currently using an armband smart phone case (like a jogger would use), but strapping it to my right thigh. Sometimes the touch screen works well enough through the case, other times it doesn’t and I have to slide the phone part way out of the case so I can touch the screen directly. While that mostly works, I am still looking for a better option that will allow me to use the smartphone apps easily without taking the phone out of the case. In the picture below you see the Belkin leg strap and phone case, although the phone isn’t pictured since it as used to take the picture. 🙂

best free smartphone apps for hunting - how to hold smartphone while hunting

Paid apps for hunting

We recently received a paid subscription to try Topo Maps+ from the Apple app store. Joe has loaded it on one of his iOS devices and will report back soon.

Topo Maps+ for iPhone review

What am I missing?

What killer apps for hunting do you use?

Obsolete hunting apps

  •  *2017 update: Trimble has abandoned this app and no longer supports login or access to historical data. It is dead. 🙁 I use  this app on every hunt to record where I go during the hunt via the gps on my phone. This is useful in trying to remember the date, time and location of something at a later date as I try to make sense of cumulative observations to find patterns in the deer behavior. When arriving to hunt site I start a new “trip” in the Trimble GPS Hunting app and turn “mobile tracking” on (GPS)  After the hunt I turn off the “active trip” and have it set to upload automatically… so I can see the trip info online and share with my hunting buddies. This is Trimble’s app to try to sell map data to mobile device users. I don’t buy the map data, since most of where I hunt I can get online while in the field and the free app does this just fine. Although think some parts of the app will still be very useful even if you can’t get online. I find myself using the Sun and Moon data frequently, as well as the Ballistics calculator.

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Originally posted 2014-11-17 18:07:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.