Trail-cameras are great tools for hunters, and it’s almost unheard of today for anyone to hunt deer without the use of trail-cameras. They’ve been around for well over a decade, but advances have made them much better, both in terms of picture quality and extra features. With the huge growth in smart phones in the past several years, trail-cameras can be even more effective.
Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro, NC said one of his favorite tools he uses in conjunction with his trail-cameras is an app for his phone called ScoutLook Weather. “It’s a free app for smartphones, and I really think every hunter should use it. Without it, your trail-cams are certainly helpful, and have helped many a hunter beyond what many ever expected, but with this app, your trail-cams become even more powerful. Much more powerful,” said Phillips.
Plenty of other weather maps are available, but Phillips said this one integrates really well with his style of scouting. “It’s got maps that allow you to load your deer stand locations to, and it tells you really detailed information about those locations. One of the most important things to me is being able to look back and see details like wind direction for previous days,” he said.
And why does Phillips want to see the wind information for days that have already passed? It’s all about patterning that deer. “The latest deer I killed was a big deer, and a smart deer. Because of all the factors that go into setting up a deer stand and making a clearing in the woods, I had only one place to put a stand up where I could kill this particular deer. It’s a small clearing with a lot of challenges for putting up a stand. I did the best I could, but because of all the factors, the stand was only 9-feet tall and it was way closer to the corn pile than I wanted it to be. It was about 15-yards from the corn pile,” said Phillips.
“Here’s what I learned about that big, smart deer through using my trail-cams in conjunction with the ScoutLook app – that deer only came to that clearing when a south wind was present. It was without fail. I’ve got that stand camouflaged with cedar branches, vines, and it is really difficult to see that stand, but that deer knew something didn’t look right about that area. On a south wind, that deer could smell anything in that stand, and I knew if I was in that stand on a south wind, the buck would wind me for sure,” Phillips said.
ScoutLook also tracks the barometric pressure for each day, and keeps a record of it just like it does with wind direction. “I’ve noticed that when the pressure is high, even big, smart bucks will spend a lot more time out in the open than they do when the pressure is low. That’s something I’ve learned just through observing the ScoutLook app and comparing that data to what my trail-cams are showing,” said Phillips.
Tools like smartphone apps were unheard of ten years ago, and plenty of deer were killed without them, but Phillips said that using these tools has definitely made him a better hunter. “It’s helped me maximize my time in the field, because I have a better understanding of why I should be in certain stands based on factors that I wouldn’t have paid nearly as much attention to before,” he said. “It’s a free app, and it will give an advantage to anyone who uses it,” Phillips said.
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