Now folks, as a gal who spends her free time scouting public lands, I have more than once unknowingly “trespassed” on private property, to my own chagrin later on.
You may be thinking, how did she miss that gigantic barbed wire fence? Well, I didn’t because lots of private owners who border or have in-holdings on public lands don’t fence their properties entirely. This can be for a myriad of reasons, but most commonly for grazing purposes or because the cost of running fence along large acreages can be enormous.
Public land management agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest system don’t always have up to date maps available to the public, making navigating their edges all the more difficult. Borders on BLM and USFS service land can often shift with the acquisition or sale of land to private owners or other government agencies.
After a confusing trip in Napa county, I got proactive and downloaded Google Earth. With some research I acquired an overlay download that allowed me to see BLM land highlighted in yellow. In a general sense the overlay was great, but my access was on my laptop (which I never take into the field), and it didn’t include private land holdings.
Two months later, some much more successful hunter than myself mentioned OnX Hunt App in an Instagram post – I immediately brushed it off as being clickbait for a mediocre product.
I was so wrong.
A week later I downloaded the app onto my smartphone to check it out. They had an easy week-long trial that didn’t need a credit card number and I jumped right in.
Within two hours of downloading and exploring every detail of the app, I decided to paid the $29.99/year for the one state full version.
OnX Hunt App is everything I’ve been dreaming of.
- It has a map format much like other smartphone navigation apps, but includes overlays of all public lands as well as private holdings in easy to understand colors (green, yellow, red). You can also toggle between a satellite, topographical, or a hybrid view.
- Because it uses real time GPS and satellite navigation you can walk alongside the border of public and private lands and fear not (OnX’s well-named tagline is “know where you stand”).
- You can adjust the layers you want and download offline maps that still work without flaws when you’re out of cell range.
- You can set waypoints and draw on the maps, as well as track your journey from one point to another, eliminating the possibility of getting turned around in rough terrain.
- OnX does everything it says it will and more. It’s easy to use and understand, even for the less tech savvy hunter or hiker. This app is designed to keep up with the best – just make sure you’ve got a phone battery charger with you.
Download the free trial of OnX Hunt App and get out to your favorite piece of public land. Let me know how much you loved it (or not) in the comments below.