A few thoughts on last minute e-scouting for Western deer hunts.
Throughout history, military campaigns have succeeded – or failed – in no small part due to the quality of the intelligence gathered before the battle ever begins. The side with the most accurate current information always has a distinct advantage. Information is a critical component of a successful Western hunt.
The same is true with hunt planning – especially if you’re traveling far from home. For those who head West to hunt deer — and other big game for that matter — on its vast tracts of public land, it can be extremely difficult to plan and execute a successful hunt when the information you have is months, or even years, old. While the enterprising hunter can find game population dynamics and harvest statistics relatively easily, one bugaboo has always been obtaining the most current information on the ground to be hunted.
Given the effects of major wildfires, storms, floods, timber cutting, the presence (or lack thereof) of agriculture bordering public ground, ever-changing property boundaries, access roads and trails, and who knows what all – all of which affect not only your ability to access and navigate the ground but also game population concentrations and movements – it is critical to gather as much of this data as possible before you ever leave home.
For any Western hunt, HuntStand has a solution. Using the app’s Multiple Base Layer Options, you can select from multiple free base layers for your maps, including Google Satellite, Google Hybrid, Google Terrain, Mapbox Outdoors, (with trails, contour lines, park boundaries, and more,) USGS Topo Quad, Google Contour, and Google Streets. By upgrading to HuntStand Pro for just $29.99/year, you can unlock many more critical layers that will help you solve the riddle of where the best hunting in your chosen area can be found, and how to hunt it.
One of the most valuable of the HuntStand Pro features is the Monthly Satellite Image Layer. In the past, most satellite images used by hunters have been several years old, making them useful, but not a game-changer. With this new feature, HuntStand becomes not just the first hunting app, but the first consumer app in the world, to offer imagery this recent. HuntStand is able to provide this imagery by leveraging micro-satellite technology in a first-of-its-kind adaptation. This new layer not only allows users to view the best images over the previous month but also allows them to go back in time, month by month, for several years, so that changes and trends can be seen, making it an invaluable tool for both hunters and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.
“Many users have requested a more recent satellite layer and we’re extremely pleased to be able to deliver this exciting new feature as part of our HuntStand Pro subscription,” said Lanford Holloway, CEO of Terrastride, HuntStand’s parent company. “This tool is great for viewing recent clear cuts, timber thinning, the effects of recent fires/floods, changes in seasons, presence or absence of agricultural crops, and snow coverage. Smart additions like this substantiate our unwavering commitment to maintaining the best hunting app on the market.”
Lanford Holloway, CEO of Terrastride
In addition to this valuable new feature, HuntStand users, especially those on Western hunts, can also incorporate the following into their research:
- Property Boundaries: Unlimited nationwide property info including boundaries, owner names, property size, and property perimeter. Best of all, you can add these boundaries to your custom maps with the touch of a button.
- Public Lands: Federal, state, and county publicly-accessible lands including BLM, national and state forests and parks, Fish and Wildlife, DNR, conservation areas, public easements, and more.
- Hunting Land: The nationwide database of huntable, publicly accessible land including WMAs, DNR boundaries, GMUs, hunting units, zones, districts, regions, boundaries with regulations, natural areas, conservation lands, habitats, and more.
- Real 3D: You can now view your hunt area in 3D! All of your markers, lines, and shapes will conform perfectly to the 3D base map, allowing you to understand the topography of your hunt area like never before. Through panning and zooming you can virtually “fly-through” places you would like to explore.
- Offline Mapping: An alternative to a traditional GPS, with HuntStand’s full offline mapping, the tap of a button will save your Hunt Area to your phone for uninterrupted use, even without cell phone coverage.
- TerraPulse Tree Cover: Utilizing the power of NASA satellites with climate monitoring technology, enjoy exclusive access to the most comprehensive tree cover and vegetation map ever offered to the public. This layer distinguishes between trees and other types of vegetation that support big game habitat suitability.
In years past, I called my Western hunt pre-hunt research “Shrink Your Focus.” By that, I meant, to be successful, you had to shrink the area to be hunted down from a large game management unit, to a specific mountain range, to a specific drainage, to a specific location within that drainage, as a place to begin. Then it was boots on the ground time to locate exactly where game concentrations were located. In the old days, all we had were rudimentary topographic maps, along with maps provided by the forest service and BLM – which still to this day often do not show all current roads and trails. I spent a lot of time calling game biologists and forest rangers, and countless hours in the library researching information on fires, floods, historical weather patterns, private land boundaries, and public easements into public land tracts that seemed blocked by private land but often were not, new housing developments and land sales, and so on to try and obtain the most complete picture I could before ever leaving home.
Today, the HuntStand app lets you do all this, and more, quickly and easily both at home and then again once in the field so you can make on-the-go adjustments. It also allows you to anticipate hunter pressure by locating the easy spots to hunt, then looking for those small, isolated pockets of cover where game will inevitably go once the woods become filled with people.
And that’s the key to success – finding game-rich pockets that have been minimally disturbed by others. And trust me on this one – using the HuntStand app is way more fun and effective than spending time in the library! For more information on the HuntStand app and its features, visit https://huntstand.com/.