What do you use your smartphone for? Calling? Texting? Taking pictures? What about hunting? The most tech-savvy outdoorsmen have long discovered you can easily turn your smartphone into a tool to help you become more successful in the field. There are apps for everything: tracking blood trails, calculating bullet drop, keeping a journal of your harvests, even mapping scrapes, deer stands or property lines. Here are the 10 best hunting apps available as selected by JAKES Country that every hunter needs.
Primos Hunting Calls: Speak the Language
Want to be a better game caller? Not sure what a particular call sounds like? Imagine having 28 different calls for eight different species right on your phone. Primos Hunting Calls: Speak the Language features the company’s most popular game calls packed into a single app, which you use just like you would if the calls were in your hand. All calls feature a “play” button for an automated demonstration.
iPhone alternative: $0.99
Learn more than you ever wanted to know about when you get up with Sundroid! This app for Android calculates the sunrise and sunset times, path of the sun, solar noon, nautical twilight, golden hours, azimuths, eclipses, paths of seven planets and much more. With it, you’ll be able to plan when to start and end your hunt and maybe even keep from getting stuck outside in the dark! iPhone users can get the similar SoLuna app from the App Store.
Android alternative: $1.99
The old Safari Club International field scoring kit, available on their website, contains an African scoring book, North and South American scoring book, measuring tape, measuring cable and clip, folding knife, scoring CD and pouch. It costs $25. The new SCI field scoring “kit” is contained within your smartphone and costs just 99 cents. ScoreMyRack Premium is the alternative for Android.
Android alternative: $9.99
Most smartphones come with a GPS or map program built in, but these are usually slow and require a strong service signal. That’s why, to any smartphone-enabled outdoorsman, Motion X GPS is worth the investment. Its advantages over the built-in apps include faster, more accurate position finding, multiple overlays to choose from (including marine and topographic), personal movement recording with elevation and waypoints, map caching and a cooler-looking interface. The Backcountry Navigator app is the alternative for Android.
Winchester Ballistics Calculator
Android alternative: $9.99
Almost anything can affect the path of a bullet — wind, rain, temperature, shooting angle, even the rotation of the earth — at long distances. Fortunately, the free Winchester Ballistics Calculator for iPhone rules most of those out. Just choose your cartridge (assuming you’re shooting one of the 61 supported in the app), bullet type and weight. Then program the current conditions, and you’ll get a target with a simulated bullet hole telling you where it would hit and where to hold. A ballistics chart will even show you the bullet’s trajectory over a pre-determined distance you choose. You also can compare it to other cartridges, which is useful on range days. The Shooter app is the alternative for Android.
Deer Hunter 3D
Do you often find yourself sitting in a tree stand with nothing to do except freeze? Why not pull out your phone and have more success? With environments ranging from the American Midwest to Russia to Mexico, and weapons ranging from bolt-action rifles to AK-47s and even a blowgun, you’ll stay entertained and challenged for hours; mostly trying to unlock the AK-47. And just when you start to get bored, you have 20 seconds to shoot as many scattering prairie dogs as possible! Go doggies!
If you look at the weather app that came on your smartphone, you will usually be able to tell two things: what the sun would look like right now if it was a cartoon, and the exact temperature at the nearest weather station. With this reliable of a forecast, you could plan a hunting trip on a day that will be dry in the morning and rainy by three o’clock, while your cartoon only depicts a sun behind two puffy white clouds. Avoid this by upgrading to WeatherBug. It semi-accurately predicts weather by the hour, but more importantly, show you the path of rain and storms.
SAS Survival Guide
What’s great about having the award-winning SAS Survival Guide app on your phone? You have all the knowledge of a British Special Forces veteran ready at your fingertips regardless of the quality of cell service or the presence of a Wi-Fi connection. You can access expert information on whatever you need to know about survival from any location. Even in a non-emergency situation, it’s fun to see how one escapes a charging Rhino. Try other functions of the app too. What’s more fun than translating your name into Morse code? Not much.
Hunting Light & Blood Tracker
Blood on the ground is hard to see. The creators of Hunting Light & Blood Tracker developed an alternating sequence of pink and purple light that dulls green color and brightens red. It makes it easier to pick up the trail of a wounded animal. It also has an SOS flash function and bright light in four different colors. This makes it a good emergency flashlight when you forget to check your Sundroid app.
Cabela’s Recon Hunt
Cabela’s Recon Hunt is perhaps the most versatile app on this list. It combines the movement-tracking function of MotionX GPS, bullet-drop function of Winchester Ballistics Calculator, forecast function of WeatherBug Elite and the sunrise and sunset function of Sundroid. It’s also got an advanced blood-tracking map and a gear list known as the Cabela’s hunting catalog. It’s a bit complicated at times, but it’s the one to have if you can have only one.
Native Texan Jack Evans is a lifelong writer, hunter, adventure traveler and sports car racing enthusiast who has been writing professionally since the age of 12. He is also the host of the hunting and backpacking YouTube show “Kudzu's World of Adventure,” along with his dog, Kudzu. He is currently a high school junior in Knoxville, Tenn.