best hunting app
Photo credit: BaseMap

The Best Hunting Apps of 2021

Hunting apps can keep you on track, legal, and safe in the field. Here are the best hunting apps for 2021.

As a DIY Western hunter, I rely on hunting apps constantly in the field. I rarely set foot on private land to hunt, so I must know where I stand, literally. Property boundaries, public land regulations, and my personal historic use are always at my fingertips thanks to a few apps.

But this is far from the only scenario in which hunting apps are useful. Landowners can manage hunting stands and blinds while checking wind direction and solunar patterns on just one app. Backcountry hunters can download apps, scout the landscape before a hunt, then create a path to follow once a map is downloaded. And public land treestand hunters can mark possible game trails and stand placement, using the app to navigate dark morning trails.

We scoured reviews, compared pricing, checked out cool features, and chose the top apps for the 2021 season.

All apps below are available for both Apple and Android users (except the web-based GoHunt app). Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys, or jump to the category you’re looking for:

The Best Hunting Apps of 2021

Best App for Landowners: HuntStand

HuntStand, best hunting app

The app HuntStand tops the list for reviews on Apple iTunes, with over 55,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating. I’m not yet a landowner, but for those who are, this app is cool. You can delineate your property boundaries, add sites of treestands and blinds, indicate trail camera spots, water sources, create paths to share with others, manage and reserve blinds for multiple folks, check weather predictions, and more.

Personally, I love the wind direction piece of this app, as well as the attention to weather and lunar details. It’s user-friendly, simple to learn, and keeps a ton of information at hand for you and those you hunt with.

The app isn’t free, but $25 per year is a small price to pay for pro features, especially if you need to manage a piece of hunting property or if you hunt often on private land.

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Best App for Western Hunters: onX Hunt

onx

I’ve used onX Hunt for 5 years now, and it’s become an irreplaceable part of my outdoor gear kit. As a public land DIY hunter, onX keeps me legal by delineating property and public land boundary lines as I move, and it keeps me safe through its offline options.

The new 3D feature is ridiculously cool, and I expect it to get even better as development continues. I used it before my elk hunts to figure out benches and pockets where critters might hang. And although I didn’t fill my elk tag, I got pretty damn close thanks to my scouting.

Year-to-year use builds history within the app. The ability to share locations with friends is super helpful. And I recommend it to anyone who goes outside. I use the Elite version to find public land camping and fishing while on the road, and it’s a great tool for hikers, bikers, and anyone who is a multiple-use recreator on public lands. Read our full review of the app here.

It’s one of the more expensive apps on the list if you go for the elite/premium option. You can buy one state’s info for $30, or buy the entirety of the United States’ yearly membership for $99. But, in my opinion, it’s worth the extra cost if you plan on road travel throughout the year.

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Best Social Hunting App: GoWild

GoWild, best hunting app

GoWild continues to develop and build out a social network of hunters and anglers, and its fans are diehard. A focus on gear makes this app a hunting GearJunkie’s dream.

You can shop through the app interactively with dealers like Bob Wards, Gritr Outdoors, Moosejaw, and more. Wishful thinkers can also create a Gear Wishlist in their online browsing. And once you obtain that dream gear, you can add it to a kit within the app and share thoughts with your followers.

Social components include sharing your Gearbox, photos from hunting success, and advice. GoWild also posts a variety of articles and videos to help you hone your skills. Find folks near you and snag yourself a new hunting partner. And like most social apps, GoWild is free of charge.

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Best Free Hunting App: Google Earth

Google Earth, best hunting app
Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring, from Google Earth

One of my favorite tools for scouting before heading to a new landscape is Google Earth. Not only is its 3D version beautiful and wildly accurate, but it also makes navigating a breeze. This article written by Jason Tome is a great guide to familiarize yourself with the finer points of the app.

Download Google Earth Pro (free!) for your computer and sync it up with your smartphone, and you can combine your effort in the field (if you have service). If you find yourself out of service regularly and need quick access to property boundaries on the run, this might not be the sole app for you.

But it can be a great help in many, many ways. Historical and seasonal image data, the ability to save points, and the best 3D tech I’ve seen make this a must-have for your technological kit.

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Best Web-Based Hunting App: GoHunt Insider

best hunting apps, gohunt insider

GoHunt continues to pick up steam as a trusted source for information, draw odds, and hunting plans across the country. Between the app’s built-out media platform, a full e-commerce gear shop integration, and the Insider membership, the information is nearly bottomless.

At $149, the Insider membership is the priciest on our list. But it also has the most to offer. For hunters that head out of state, you can manage draw odds, scout via the app’s mapping system, and create a field plan. The folks at GoHunt also have a mobile app in the works, and it looks to be releasing soon.

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Best Budget Hunting App: BaseMap

Basemap_Q2_2020_Product

BaseMap is an excellent and affordable mapping solution that covers all 50 states for just $30. It’s a handy app with a variety of overlay options to help a hunter better understand the landscape. Personally, I like the Species Range mapping feature, which gives an estimate of what kinds of critters you’ll find where.

You can also pay an extra $10 and take advantage of the app’s desktop hunt planner. These features include access to national harvest data as well as season dates. Another fun feature of the app is the weekly GearDrop, a mapping game that offers the chance to win gear.

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Best of the Rest

HuntWise

huntwise, best hunting app

HuntWise is a feature-rich platform aimed more at the whitetail crowd. With deer forecasting, localized rut detection, strategic tips, wind direction, and much more, it’s more of a wholescale hunting planner than simply a mapping app.

But all this information comes at a cost. Membership comes at two price points: $60 for the Pro package and $120 for the Elite package. The Elite package comes with some interesting bonuses. Among them are 50% discounts on certain brands, extended hunting forecasts, and the Whitetail Strategy 365 planning portion of the app, which helps hunters figure out things such as when to plant food plots and when to hunt the local rut.

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Gaia GPS App

gaia gps, best hunter app

For about $40 per year, you can have an entire GPS system in hand. Gaia is well-known in the outdoor rec world, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly robust and affordable platform with a wide variety of maps to choose from.

For avid hikers and backcountry users, a regular plan is just fine. But for hunters, a premium plan grants access to landowner lines, hunt unit boundaries, and more. NatGeo maps are also included as part of the Gaia platform, and international maps of different cities give direction to the savvy travelers among us.

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Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the right hunting app (or apps) for you comes down to a few things. We break them down below.

What Kind of Maps Do You Need?

If you spend a lot of time hunting public land, property boundaries are a serious concern for hunting legality. It’s beyond important not only to know where you stand but also where your quarry is standing. If you’re holding special tags or permits, you also need to be able to follow lines of hunting units or hunting zones while knowing legalities across these lines.

Another consideration: If your hunting area is a familiar parcel of private land — perhaps your family farm — property lines aren’t necessarily as important. But custom waypoints that show food plots, hunting stands, livestock pastures, and more can be extremely helpful, especially if they’re easily shareable with members of your hunting crew.

What Species Do You Hunt Most Often?

We all have our hunting passions, sometimes dictated by our locale. The avid Midwestern whitetail hunter certainly has different needs than a backcountry elk hunter in Montana. And apps can serve these needs equally well, albeit differently.

Knowing weather forecasts, choosing to hunt at sunrise and sunset, having access to moon phases, and specific peak hunting times are weighed differently by each hunter. And plenty of these apps offer a bit or all of these features, plus more. Think about how you hunt before committing to a pricey app. An app may have a lot of cool features, but for some hunters, it’s overkill.

Do You Travel to Hunt?

If you tend to hunt outside your home range, then investing in a few different apps (or an app’s premium subscription) can be a potential boon for success once that hunting trip is in motion.

Whether you’re mule deer hunting in a new unit out West or duck hunting a public land hidey-hole in the Southeast, desktop and mobile apps can aid in planning, sharing information with fellow hunters, or connecting socially with hunters in the area who are happy to help with information of their own.


Have a favorite hunting app we missed? Let us know in the comments below for future updates to this article.


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Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.