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It’s no secret that land navigation and hunting are two integral elements of survival. While an ordinary navigation app or even a paper atlas is going to offer you a simple layout of the land, these tools are never going to provide you the comprehensive, real-time knowledge offered by satellite imagery and analytical tools.
We set out to find the quintessential land navigation app and stumbled across HuntStand. This relatively new app combines GPS satellite mapping with data analytics to provide users with one of the most incredible land management, personal navigation, and hunting tools on the market.
With that said, HuntStand isn’t the type of app that can be summed up in a few sentences. While it comes with a lavish amount of features, it still manages to make land management and hunting straightforward and frustrating-free.
Below, you’ll find the comprehensive rundown of our experience with HuntStand. That includes a detailed rundown of all of HuntStand’s most sought out features, some info on all the latest controversies surrounding this app, and a brief discussion regarding this app as a potential survival tool.
What is HuntStand?
HuntStand is a hunting and land management app with a wide range of features. Users are privy to navigation, mapping, land management, reporting, weather, solunar, social, and collaboration tools. The tools and map features run the gamut. While many of the features are available through HuntStand’s free version, there’s also a souped-up Pro version of the app.
But First, The Maps
HuntStand is a subsidiary of TerraStride, which is an online mapping tool used by land brokers and real estate agents. The app uses satellite imagery and public data to create resoundingly accurate pictures of public and private lands.
We tested the accuracy of the data and were, quite frankly, blown away. HuntStand integrates all sorts of public information. As such, you can see parcel data, WMAs, DNR boundaries, GMUs, conservation areas, hydrography, topography, and much more without having to download dozens of apps or clutter your feed with multiple web pages.
In short, we would expect the average homesteader to get as much out of these apps as an avid hunter. The land depictions are jam-packed with high-value information. There are loads of interactive tools that you can use to shape and paint your own personalized maps.
Here’s a preview of HuntStand’s map options:
App Tools and Map Overlays
Here’s a brief overview of all of HuntStand’s most prevalent features, including their tools and maps.
Creating a Hunting Area
One of the first features of the HuntStand app that we explored was the “Create A Hunt Area” tool. This tool gives users the ability to virtually survey, measure, and mark hunting areas in every corner of the world. Each hunting area that you create is saved as an individual map.
HuntStand offers dozens of tools that you can use to customize your hunting area maps. Food plots and area boundaries can be added with the click of a button.
You can also add lines for backwoods roads and trails, track and analyze sightings and harvests, and even monitor food plots and makeshift boundaries. The icons are crisp and easy to distinguish. You can always clear away layers when you wish to use the map to focus on a specific aspect.
One of the map editor’s coolest functions is the Trace tool. This tool enables you to generate a path based on your actual location and movements. The hide feature within Trace enables you to open new screens while recording your path in the background. This feature could totally be used as a safety net by someone who was navigating uncharted lands.
We love that the app enables users to open and edit their hunting areas at any time. Hunting areas are divided into three subcategories. These include personal hunting areas, group hunting areas, and view-only hunting areas. The view-only hunting areas are hunting areas that another user shares with you. You are not able to edit these.
All of your hunting areas are stored in a dropdown menu that’s anchored at the top of the app’s home screen. As such, you’ll never find yourself fumbling around the app in search of your maps.
Huntzone is the second tool listed on the HuntStand app. This proprietary feature enables users to track the current and forecasted speed and direction of the wind. Hunters can use this information to position themselves and their scents so that they do not tip off nearby animals of their presence.
How to Use it
As you can see in the HuntStand Tutorial #5 video below, "Weather Forecasting, HuntZone & LandZone Wind Maps In HuntStand," this part of the app generates a bullseye over your current or chosen location. This bullseye depicts the predicted direction that a hunter’s scent will drift regarding the current wind direction and speed forecast. Users can toggle the time marker on the graph below to see how their scent trail will change at different points over the course of 72 hours.
In our opinion, this is an excellent example of how Huntstand goes above and beyond to offer its users detailed and relevant data. Huntzone is just one of several internal features that are valuable enough to an app all of its own.
HuntStand’s advanced mapping layers are like candy for backwood adventurers. You can easily input an address or location point to hone in on nearby hunting grounds, trail systems, public access ways, conservation easements, and more.
The layers make it easy to distinguish between public and private conservation easements, state fish and wildlife conservation easements, and more. While there’s always the potential for data inconsistencies, we never came across any of these issues when using HuntStand.
One overlay that could prove helpful to survivalists and hunters alike is Terra Cover. This mapping feature uses satellite imagery and physics-guided analytics to provide users with a bird’s eye view of any area. This information can be used by individuals who are looking to set up hidden treestands, blinds, or shelters.
One of the quintessential elements of HuntStand is that it enables landowners to take control of and even share their assets. You can easily add hunting blinds, trail cams, and other objects of interest to a custom property map. The long list of pineapple map icons makes it possible for you to create a comprehensive property database. Since much of the information makes for analyzable data, there’s no telling how far an ambitious homesteader might take their mapping responsibilities.
Pro members can use the Reservation tool to make or manage stand reservations at group hunting areas and private hunting grounds.
HuntStand plays host to a wide range of reporting tools. For starters, they make it easy for you to record your game sighting. You can input the date and time of your sighting and select the animal you saw.
All of your sightings are added to a saved sighting list. The HuntStand interface makes it easy for users to analyze this data and draw meaningful conclusions about area game activity.
You can also use the HuntZone feature to place virtual blind and stand markers. The feature lets you select the diameter of your HuntZone. Once a marker is positioned on the map, you can easily check the real-time wind speeds. From there, you should find it easy to predict the direction of your scent.
If you really want to geek out, be sure to check out HuntStand’s Data feature.
This section of the app pulls all of your personalized mapping details and inputs together and uses it to generate concisely graphed data regarding harvests and sighting.
Both the harvest and sighting data are organized into 15-by-15 grids. These include detailed summations, such as sightings by barometric pressure, sightings by moon illumination, and distance of the harvests from bait piles.
When it comes to inputting game sightings, users can choose from a wide range of game animals. There are also ample scouting markers that can be set on to maps. The scouting pins include but are not limited to tracks, bedding, blood trails, buck rubs, droppings, and pinch points.
Weather and Solunar
HuntStand's weather and solunar features allow you to ditch your phone’s rudimentary weather reporting app. You simply select a location or open a hunting area map and then open the weather menu. The page should display the real-time weather and atmospheric details for the area you selected.
The “Current Weather” portion should include a general forecast, a high/low-temperature forecast, a wind direction reading, a cloud cover forecast, a precipitation forecast, and a humidity forecast. You should also find a five-day solunar forecast that includes the moon phases, solar positions, lunar positions, peak game activity times, and moon illumination diagrams. There should also be an accurate five-day forecast with high and low-temperature predictions and general forecast details and a 72-hour forecast with more detailed information.
We all know that weather is one of the biggest determinant factors when it comes to hunting and general outdoor recreation. We love that HuntStand has compiled all the most quintessential data into one easy-to-access heading.
We love that they have found a direct correlation between game movement and solunar activity. As with many of the other HuntStand features, the weather and solunar tables had us feeling like we had all the information we needed to succeed in hunting, survival, and land management.
We took a screengrab of this, to show you a quick example of how it appears:
Social and Collaboration Tools
HuntStand also makes it possible for users to find and collaborate with their fellow hunters. You can easily search for or add friends and join public hunting groups. If you’re new to the app and don’t know anyone else who’s using it, the public hunting clubs are a good place to make local or even long-distance connections.
Each user has a public profile, a personal message board, and a private mailbox. While we didn’t spend too much time on this feature, we can definitely see ourselves inviting our friends and family to the app in the future. You can use the “Activity Feed” feature to track actions made by you and your friends.
Another feature that might appeal to hunters is the “Weapons Locker.” Users can add weapons to their virtual weapons locker. Users can use the weapons locker to document the details of their harvests.
High-Resolution Map Printing
One of the coolest things about HuntStand is that they enable users to turn digital maps into high-resolution maps. If you’re like us and enjoy having a tangible navigation source with you, then you could really benefit from this feature.
While electronic devices and phones are an integral part of most people’s daily lives, we all know how quickly these things can be taken away from us in the event of an emergency. HuntStand’s printed maps are durable enough to withstand contact with the elements. They help you stay present and eliminate your reliance on an electric device.
The sheer variety of printed map customizations is enough to make any land expert giddy. First off, you get to choose from a variety of print sizes ranging from a 16-by-16-inch square to a 48-by-32-inch landscape. You also get to designate the position and size of your bounding box. Moreover, you can choose which material you’d like your map printed on. You also get a good deal of control over what details go on the map, including what names, measurements, labels, boundaries, and contour lines are shown. Keep in mind that the price of maps does change as you play around with the size and material.
The paper-vinyl hybrid maps are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Since these maps are tear-resistant, UV-resistant, and waterproof, they’re what we’d recommend for anyone who is looking to take them into the field. HuntStand also offers a canvas option that is strong enough to endure a trek through the backcountry.
Check out this video to see one user’s deep dive and extreme testing of HuntStand’s printed maps.
Trail Cam Tracking
Here’s yet another feature that can be enjoyed by hunters, outdoors enthusiasts, survivalists, and the likes. This feature enables users to add detailed trail cam placements to your map. You can hone in on the details of each placement by listing the time of placement, orientation of the camera, and type of camera placed. Once a trail cam marker is positioned on the map, you can move it by selecting “New Placement.” You can also add images to the trail cam marker. The added images make it undoubtedly easier for you or one of your accomplices to track down a trail cam in the thick of the backcountry.
HuntStand Pro vs HuntStand Basic
While many of the preeminent HuntStand features are available for free through HuntStand’s basic membership, HuntStand Pro unlocks several map layers, specialized tools, and curated content. All this is offered for the flat rate of $29.99/month.
For us, the three-dimensional base maps make the upgrade worth it. There’s no doubt that every hunter and land navigator could benefit from knowing the topography of the land they’re on. Users can even “fly” over places they wish to explore. Essentially, this upgrade gives you eyes in the sky. You can combine this info with property details and other map layers. Suddenly, backwood exploration is safe and transparent.
Another feature that makes the HuntStand Pro upgrade a no-brainer is Offline Mapping. This feature enables you to save multiple Hunt Areas to your phone. These maps can be accessed without cell phone coverage. Keep in mind that you will only be able to see the satellite layer and not the topography.
You can also use HuntStand Pro to use the Stand Reservation feature. This feature lets you manage your stand and blind reservations on your property. We like to think of the reservation tool as the Airbnb of hunting.
As if all that isn’t enough, HuntStand Pro also gets you Natural Atlas. This layer includes topographical images that include ATV trails, forest roads, campgrounds, natural attractions, and more. It’s perfect for the curious explorer who’s hoping to discover something special beyond the beaten path. Users also get Digital Globe Vivid & MapBox Satellite Layers. This layer feature utilizes the most recent satellite images of the world. It certainly comes in handy whenever the basic satellite images for an area are obscured by trees or clouds.
HuntStand vs OnX
If you came here to find out our choice of winner in the HuntStand vs OnX battle, look no further. We came to this with unbiased eyes, and we’re confident that HuntStand wins on all fronts. First off, you get way more features with HuntStand’s free version than you do with OnX’s. Moreover, the premium version of HuntStand ($29.99/year) is a steal compared to OnX ($29.99/year for Premium and $99.99/year for Elite). (NOTE: Those were the prices in 2021 - It wouldn't surprise us if those have increased since this article was written.)
When HuntStand first hit the market, it lacked offline mapping. At the time, this caused my users to flock to OnX. However, they offer their users a full offline mapping feature. If you’re someone who frequently finds yourself in cell phone dead zones, you know how essential this can be.
We also found that HuntStand’s social and collaboration tools helped sway our vote. The HuntStand app has already taken off with private and public land hunters. We found it easy to find new and old friends. The public hunting groups and message board features really open the door to collaboration.
Remember how we said that HuntStand Pro retails for $29.99/year and Onx Premium is $29.99/year? Well, Onx’s premium version only includes one state. You need to upgrade to the Elite membership if you plan on mapping two or more locations.
Check out this video by Apex Predator Outdoors to take a deeper look into the OnX and HuntStand rivalry.
How Accurate are HuntStand’s Property Lines?
One thing that we wanted to be sure of was the accuracy of HuntStand’s property lines. While the app does not provide users with 100% accuracy, it does come pretty close.
You see, HuntStand pulls its data from public GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping. GIS is a framework that most towns and states use to gather, manage, and analyze land and property data. The map details are gathered from satellites, balloons, and drones. They are combined with property and tax records to produce maps with the most accurate parcel and land boundaries possible.
The accuracy of the data really comes down to the accuracy and speed of the humans who have been untrusted to update their local GIS maps. Knowing what sort of issues might arise, we used the HuntStand app to research our own property. While the parcel lines were mostly accurate, the property owner’s name in the database was listed incorrectly. Moreover, the map showed that our property included a large stretch of acreage that was actually divided into a separate parcel before it was sold to us. These changes were fresh; we’ve only lived here for one year. However, we can see how this sort of erroneous and outdated data could get in the way of someone who’s looking to explore or hunt new lands.
With that said, HuntStand isn’t to blame for this. These sorts of inaccuracies are rare yet unavoidable. Moreover, they are something that you would experience on any type of mapping app that relies on GIS data. Check out this video to get a complete look at Huntstand’s Property and Boundary Data features.
What Does HuntStand Have to Offer Survivalists, Homesteaders, Etc.?
We all know that it’s never a wise idea to put all of our eggs in one basket. Still, many people overlook this fact when it comes time to acquire food and water. Most recently, the pandemic placed unforeseen pressure on the food supply chain. Grocery store shelves were picked clean. In many areas, the fresh meat sections were the first to be stripped of their merchandise.
HuntStand can help ordinary people unlock access to nearby hunting, foraging, and water sources. Homesteaders might even use the mapping tools to plan out agricultural activities on their land. Prospective homesteaders and landowners can use the “Land for Sale” feature to search for available property listings.
It’s no secret that wild-caught and foraged food is usually healthier than the store-bought and factory-farmed varieties.
HuntStand’s mapping tool includes a long list of filters and markers that make it easier for off-the-grid people to locate resources. One could easily use online or offline HuntStand maps to read a landscape and scope out potential resources.
There are several unique pins that users can drop on private and public properties. These include pins for mineral locations, traps, agriculture fields, food plots, water sources, sanctuaries, and much more.
Another thing we like about this app - and it's totally open for anyone to see, member or not, is their blog and "Media" section. We took a quick look, and decided to capture a short screenshot video to show you a couple of things that caught our eye - especially their game recipes! This is a really nice addition to the overall site, and offers a feeling of community.
Not only that, but homesteaders and hunters are always looking for great new ways to prepare the harvest! Check this out:
Our Opinion of the Interface
While substance always rules, an app’s performance and aesthetics also help dictate our willingness to use it. That said, HuntStand is a very sleek and high-performing tool. The tool and map icons are organized into a basic grid. You can toggle the screen to change the size of the icons. You click an icon to open up the corresponding app page.
If you’re using the free version, you will notice the occasional ad pop-up. While these interruptions are a bit of a nuisance, they are super easy to close out. When you upgrade to HuntStand Pro, all of the ads are eliminated. This certainly makes for a more streamlined app experience. With that said, we’ve come across much more aggressive advertising campaigns. Most of the ads are carefully curated and are for outdoor or hunting gear.
Other than that, we really enjoyed HuntStand’s graphics. The app has a high-contrast interface with a black background, white text, and brightly colored graphic icons. There is nothing clunky or confusing about the interface.
Is It Worth It?
We always approach new products and apps with a good deal of skepticism. With that said, HuntStand is one of the most comprehensive land management and navigation tools available. While it’s advertised as a hunting resource and is undoubtedly a good one at that, we’d hate to see such a diverse tool get pigeon-holed as a harvest resource. HuntStand simply has more to offer.
That said, HuntStand can help you to unlock a substantial amount of hunting tools. After all, it enables users to pair hunting ground maps with mapping layers and metrics. It’s an absolute hub for information. The modern and user-friendly interface makes the logistics side of any hunt feel more exciting.
We really appreciate the fact that the bulk of this app is available for free. First-time users can get a taste of the layout without ever inputting a credit card. That being said, we strongly recommend that you spend the extra $29.99/year on HuntStand Pro.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Outdoor Life named HuntStand the number one hunting and navigation app, awarding it a score of 84 out of 100. There are plenty of amateur and professional outdoor and hunting experts that have taken to the internet to express their shared appreciation for this hunting app.
Go ahead and download the HuntStand app or check out the desktop version. The signup process is easy and only takes a few minutes. We’d love to hear your thoughts on both the free and Pro versions. Head back here when you’re finished scoping things out. Then let us know which features you found most useful.