Lewis and Clark were the undisputed champions of keeping meticulous journal notes. From their records that date back more than 200 years, we acquire a sense of what the Great Plains and the western U.S. looked like before European settlement. It’s a glimpse in time that we’ll never see again.
A journal can play a similar role in your personal hunting success. A hunting journal allows you to track detailed data on each day in the field and be categorized by species or season. Whether you have one season of notes or 10, you’ll begin seeing patterns for your specific hunting area. Those patterns give you the information to be more successful.
Today it is easier than ever to keep a journal. Smartphone technology teamed with specialized apps gives you a publishing company in the palm of your hands. Sure, you can keep a journal the Lewis and Clark way with handwritten notes, but smartphone portability gives you the freedom to take your journal right into the field.
Begin researching apps that will fit your needs. Most apps give you a program to take thorough notes but will also offer you much more. A popular hunting program that includes journal-like entries is the ScoutLook Weather hunting app. It provides pinpoint weather within a few square miles with a Google Earth map layout and topographical overlays. This app also gives you a 72-hour glimpse of local winds, including a unique graphic, which maps out your anticipated scent cone as it disperses. You can also compare winds at a particular site to other hunting locations to help you choose the right stand. Other features include lunar times, barometric pressure and tides, to name a few. If you hunt several species, the app has that covered as well with categories for turkey, big game, predators, hogs, waterfowl and others.
The journal aspect allows you to save weather conditions, stand locations, mark game signs and note areas of heavy wildlife movement. You can share the data between hunting partners or hunting club members, plus keep constant track of where everyone is hunting and what they are seeing.
Once you begin to combine the logged information with detailed tracking of daily weather, then your journal will begin to pay off in big dividends. You’ll be able to forecast turkey or deer movement based on barometric shifts, temperature changes and rain.
Of course, ScoutLook isn’t the only app available. Others, like the Pro Hunters Journal, also make it easy to keep a digital hunting journal.
A journal is sure to increase your understanding of wildlife movement and also increase your success. Plus, it will be a great heirloom to hand down to that future hunter in your life hoping to get a jumpstart in their own hunting career.