In our world of 21st century, sometimes James Bond-esque tactical hunting, we have some amazing tools at our fingertips. We have the latest guns, laser rangefinders, night vision and thermal scopes, and much more. Now more than ever we also have our smart phones to give us an edge. There are many hunting related apps. Some are awesome utilities and some are a waste of time and phone memory.
Here are some of my top picks that provide solutions for some specific needs. There is some overlap with a couple of them. If you use them, you will find the best way to source and apply the information. There are several great general hunting journal apps that I’ve not included here. I may cover some in a later article. You may disagree with me on some of my picks or you may want to add some to the list. Let us know your top picks!
Every hunter knows that hunting is not always finding. At times it’s more like taking a walk in the woods with a gun. Huntforce can dramatically increase your odds of taking the game you are hunting. Huntforce allows you to build a profile on a given animal using game camera pictures you upload. This profile can include weather info, time, location and more. As the profile grows, it gains accuracy in predicting when that buck is going to show up so you can plan your hunt effectively. It’s also easy to use and apply the information you get. The only better way I know to get the scoop on an animal is going out and living in it’s territory for a few weeks or months. Using Huntforce is kind of like having the NSA spying on your chosen game animal– only you get all the data.
Ballistic Advanced Edition
Long range hunting and shooting is viewed by some to be voodoo like or an art form. But as former SBS operator, Bill Davison of Tac Pro Shooting Center and a few others like to say “Long range shooting is just math.” For us smart phone users, that’s good news. There is no shortage of good ballistic apps. Ballistic Advanced Edition (AE) is one I have used effectively. Powered by the JBM Ballistics engine, it can be counted on to give precise and accurate solutions. The total number of things this app takes into account when it gives you an answer is too long to include but here are a few – a large ballistics library, atmospheric conditions pulled from three sources, Advanced Wind Kit covering up to eight customizable wind zones, powerful Precision Target Log, customizable coefficients, coriolis acceleration, gyroscopic spin drift and so much more. What is the best ballistics app? Ask five pro shooters and you may get five different anweres. This one works for me.
ActInNature Hunting – Hunter locations
This is an interesting app. It’s main purpose is safety through coordination. When you are hunting in groups, it is mandatory to know where the others in your party are, what zones each hunter is assigned, and where those zones are relative to you. ActInNature Hunting allows you to plan these things in advance and see them on a map in real-time once you are in the field. It even tells you what direction they are facing, assuming their phones are facing the same way. If someone in your group is on the move, the app can display what direction they are moving and how fast. Cell signal and battery life can be a challenge with this app, so be mindful, but the virtual eye in the sky it provides can be invaluable.
Beretta Gun Pod 2
Gun Pod 2 is an exciting new app and hardware combination from Beretta that deserves some checking out. The “Pod” part is the hardware. It is a device that lives in the grip of your Beretta shotgun. This device detects shots and has GPS built in. The information it records is sent via Bluetooth to your smartphone. That’s where the app part comes in. Each shot is geo-tagged and can be associated with pictures, maps, notes and more. Keeping track of round counts during a hunt or training session is simple with this app. Now it’s easy to know how many rounds you have fired since the last time you cleaned that shotgun. In addition, the GPS location of shots fired can be sent to phone numbers designated by you. This can be used to taunt your buddy who is stuck at work while you are having fun or as a safety feature. As of the time of this writing is still not available for download, but I’ve talked with the rep from Beretta and I believe this can be a game changer.
SAS Survival Guide
The award winning SAS Survival Guide has been a staple for the outdoorsman since the 80s. Of course it has been updated since then and digital copies now include video content and quizzes. It is now available as a smartphone app. The information contained can help you survive in any environment. We all hope that we never need to use any survival skills, but the best laid plans can and sometimes do go south. I’ve personally been in a situation where innaccurate maps left me high and dry. Literally. Three days in the high and dry mountains of Colorado with almost no water or food with others depending on my ability to solve the problem. I’m still here, so it turned out okay, but you can’t predict when you will need the know how of surviving. If nothing else, this guide will help you survive the boring days at the office by offering something to learn and test your co-workers with.
Offline Topo Maps
Speaking of maps, Offline Topo Maps is a great resource. Smart phones are great tools, but they need power and connectivity to make use of most of their capabilities. Power is it’s own subject but some apps help solve the connectivity challenge by storing the needed data on the phone itself. Offline Topo Maps is one of these. Load up the relevant maps before you go off the grid and as long as you still have power, you can use your phone’s GPS receiver to establish your precise location. With this app you may no longer have to spend precious time climbing to a high spot to make use of your maps.
These are a few of my personal top picks for the 21st century digital hunter. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. These apps work well when used as they were designed. The one question mark on these is the Gun Pod 2 app. Without being able to try it, I can’t vouch for it’s quality, but if it is as good as the Beretta shotguns is goes with, it will stay on my list of favorites.
You don’t have to be James Bond to be an efficient hunter. With these apps you should be able to be a more successful and efficient hunter and still feel like you have Q on your team. Add one or two of the more generalized hunting journal apps and you will get even more use of your smartphone. They can also add some good fun to your life. You might even live longer if you find yourself in a bad situation.