Donnie Kasat, left, and Mike Wagner of Eau Claire, Wis. walk along a trial in the Clark County forest near Fairchild, Wis. while hunting.(Photo: Shane Opatz, AP)
MADISON, WIS. -- There was a time when hunters took to the woods with
little more than a gun and ammunition. But as thousands gear up for the
start of hunting season this month, many will be armed with something a
lot more technical.
Tim Kuski of Wausau, Wis., will navigate the
terrain around Rhinelander with satellite maps he downloaded on his
smartphone as he takes part in his state's deer hunting season. "In my
whole life, we used topographic maps to move around," Kuski says. "Now,
with cellphone reception what it is, the GPS and the satellite views are
Smartphones are useful to hunters in ways far beyond
navigation. A growing number of states and private companies are
releasing smartphone apps that hunters can use to access key information
while in the field.
Wisconsin released a 99-cent Android app this
month that allows hunters to track the exact time of sunrise and sunset
through the phone's GPS - information key to determine when it's legal
to shoot small game, turkey, deer or bear.
"It's a handy little
device and it does all the addition of times because as you move across
the state of Wisconsin from east to west, or west to east, or north to
south, the (hunting) times vary depending on location," says Karl
Brooks, chief deputy warden for the state Department of Natural
Resources. "What you see on your smartphone is when you can pull the
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's free iPhone app allows
hunters to view season dates and bag limits as well as access a
personalized trophy case.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resource's free iPhone app helps hunters find public hunting land in that state.
South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks free iPhone and Android app
allows hunters to view regulations, download maps and apply for a
A free iPhone and Android app released this month by the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division includes
maps of wildlife areas, species information and rules and regulations.
want to be able to get people information in a way that's convenient
for them," says Liz Starkey, a spokeswoman for Georgia's wildlife
division. "We are always looking for ways to reach our audience."
addition to government hunting apps, hunters can use many private apps
to monitor the weather, predict when game will move, measure ballistics
and even find their tree stand.
The Whitetail Freaks Property
Manager, a $2.99 iPhone app, lets hunters mark and share hunting land
boundaries, the location of tree stands and other details important to
hunters, such as where deer have rubbed antlers against a tree. The
$1.99 iPhone RangeFinder app helps hunters in tree stands compute data,
including the effect of gravity, for more accurate shots.
years ago, it was the Internet - everything's got to get on the
Internet," says Chris Marsh, a habitat biologist for South Dakota's
Game, Fish and Parks department. "Now, everything's got to be an app for
Otto Bowe, a hunter from Mount Calvary, Wis., carries a
compass, not a smartphone, when hunting. "(Smartphones) are useful to a
point, but you have to remember they run on batteries," Bowe says. "If
you are not going out fully charged or you dunk your phone, you are
probably going to lose everything on it. ... A compass will still work
100% of the time."