6 Best GPS Hunting Apps In 2023 – Field Tested and Reviewed

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The best GPS Hunting Apps in 2023 are simple to use, reliable, maximize hunting efficiency, and keep you safe in the woods. The 6 GPS Hunting Apps discussed in this post I have personally field-tested for years. You’ll learn the pros and cons for all of them so you can determine which is right for you.

You may also like my OnX Hunt App Review:

OnX Hunt App Review- Field-Tested | Is The OnX Hunt App Right For You?

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Of course, you are not obligated to use my links, but it does help fund these posts in hopes of bringing more value to you!

GPS Hunting Apps Can Improve Hunting Success

Quality GPS hunting apps are one of the most essential tools for hunters. A good quality GPS app saves precious scouting and hunting time by:

  • Gaining an understanding of properties and landscapes visually by using both aerial imagery and topographic maps.
  • Determining who owns the properties so you can ask for permission quickly and easily.
  • Safely and efficiently find your way back to your vehicle after wandering all day in remote areas.

I’ve used a lot of GPS apps in search of what works best for whitetail hunting. In my opinion, there is not currently a GPS app that has everything I want as a whitetail hunter.

Over the years I have tried many different GPS apps, most of which were functional but were difficult to use and lacked some important features. Currently, I’ve narrowed down my GPS apps to 6 that work the best for me and my style of hunting. This post covers the 6 apps that make my life as easy as possible when out in the woods.

I don’t use all 6 GPS apps every time I go into the field, I will often just use one primary GPS app which will be dependent on where I’ll be hunting/scouting. That being said, I’ll alternate through the others depending on the information I’m looking for.

In addition, I’ll use some of the apps to answer quick questions and when I want to know specific information. Then I will close out of the app until I need it again. I may only use some of these apps for a brief minute, but they provide helpful enough information for me to keep them on my phone.

Free Versions Of These Apps

I have experience with many GPS apps because I didn’t want to subscribe to an app when I was in school before I had a job. By downloading many different types of GPS apps I found many of them had different free/premium features.

I was able to combine these free apps to get all of the features that I wanted. The only downfall is I had to switch between apps a lot.

The free versions of the apps that I talk about in this post below, when combined, have all the premium features you will need to effectively hunt and scout whitetails.

That being said, now that I have a job I have purchased a couple of premium apps. In my opinion, they are worth the money. The paid versions of all of these apps are a yearly subscription.

In most cases, the most expensive apps equate to less than 30¢/day, and most are less than 8¢/day. The biggest difference is that I find myself switching less between my GPS apps which is really nice, however, I still do use all the apps to some extent.

The Top 6 GPS Hunting Apps:

1. OnX Hunt App

OnX Hunt App Review

OnX Hunt App Homescreen | GPS Hunting Apps

Check OnX Hunt’s Price

Key Features Discussed:

  • Layout & Ease of Use
  • Parcel Information Layer
  • Federal, State, and Public Land Parcel Layers
  • Aerial, Hybrid, Topo Maps
  • Measure Tools
  • Tracking and Track Library
  • Offline Maps
  • onXmaps Web Application
  • GPS Chips
  • Subscription Pricing

Although a pretty similar post, you may also like my OnX Hunt App Review:

OnX Hunt App Review- Field-Tested | Is The OnX Hunt App Right For You?

Layout & Ease of Use

OnX is also laid out very simply and it took no time at all to figure out how to use it and is one of my top GPS hunting apps. I have found many GPS apps on the market can be quite confusing to use at first. OnX is one of the simplest to learn, while still being feature-rich.

When you open the app you will have a dashboard below the map. In this dashboard, there are 5 main tabs to choose from which makes things clean and simple. These tabs are “Map Layers” “Off-Grid” “My Content” “Map Tools” and “Tracker” as shown in the photo below. Everything you need can be found within these 5 tabs.

OnX Hunt Private Parcel Layer
OnX Hunt App Home screen Layout – Clean and Easy to Use.

Parcel Information Layer

The paid versions of OnX give you the option to toggle off property parcel information so you can see where you are in relation to property lines. I can’t say enough good things about OnX with its helpfulness in finding out the owners of parcels.

OnX has made it so easy to determine what house owns a certain property just by looking at the parcel information. It saves hours of headaches trying to find out who owns what parcel of land and talking to a bunch of different landowners.

In Maine, you are able to access anyone’s land as long as it is not posted. Often, I end up scouting a property first before I ask permission so I can figure out if the property is even worth hunting in the future.

If the property is worth hunting, I will make a point to still ask for permission and OnX makes this a breeze.

OnX Hunt Gov Lands
OnX Hunt Private Parcel Layer

Federal, State, and Public Land Parcel Layers

There is a lot to like about OnX but arguably my favorite aspect of OnX is that you can toggle on/off Federal, State, and Public land parcel layers. This is super handy because you can quickly scan the state you are hunting and find places that are likely to be open to the public.

I use this feature all of the time to find new places to scout and hunt. When possible, I prefer to hunt on public land so that I don’t have to ask for permission.

It’s always nice to have a handful of public land areas in your portfolio of places to hunt when hunting season approaches. OnX makes it very easy to find these overlooked public land areas because it highlights these parcels so they stand out from the private land parcels.

In the photo below you can see the public land areas highlighted.

OnX Hunt Map Quick Toggle Button
OnX Hunt Gov Lands – Federal, State, and Public Land Parcel Layer

Aerial, Hybrid, Topo Maps

OnX also has an excellent quick toggle button on the bottom right hand of the home screen that allows you to switch from aerial, hybrid, and topo maps very easily. Although the topo maps aren’t super detailed, they are quite good and usually give me detailed enough information for 90% of what I’m using it for.

OnX Hunt Tracking
OnX Hunt Map Quick Toggle Button

Measure Tools

Measure tools are a must-have for me when scouting and hunting. I like to be able to measure distances and areas in order to estimate how long an area will take to scout, or to determine how many miles I have back to my vehicle at the end of the day.

This is helpful for estimating what time I need to leave the woods to get back to the truck by dark. This app has the option to measure both lines and areas.

Tracking

You can record the path you’re walking by clicking the “Tracker” Tab. Here you will find a big green button that says “Start” when you want to stop tracking there is a big red button that says “Stop” making it really straightforward and easy to use.

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onX Website Application
OnX Hunt Tracking

Offline Maps

Another dynamite feature of the paid version of OnX is the option to download offline imagery. This allows you to always have a map in the background of your app, even if you don’t have phone service. I use this feature a lot when I am tracking bucks in the snow in remote areas of Maine, where service is rare.

This offline map feature gives me more time to hunt at the end of the day because I am able to find my way out to the nearest logging road easily. This feature also makes me much more confident when I’m in the big woods.

It’s easy to get lost in remote areas, but with OnX it helps me feel comfortable to go anywhere. This way I spend a lot less time thinking about getting lost or figuring out how to get back to my car at the end of the day, keeping me in the woods longer.

In order to do this, it does require a yearly subscription. Downloading offline maps is very simple in OnX. First, you navigate to the “Off-Grid” tab, then you choose the option “save a new map”.

Next, you select the area you want to download, and then OnX will download it for you. After downloading is complete, you can use this offline map anytime, even without service.

PRO TIP: I like to keep my phone in airplane mode when using offline. Since I don’t need service to load the maps anymore this allows my battery to last so much longer.

OnX Maps Web Application

The onXmaps Web Application is one of my favorite features. With this feature, you are able to use your computer browsers to open the onX phone app. This allows you to have a much bigger screen.

Additionally, you are able to import and export KML files from Google Earth onto the website application. This information is then seamlessly transferred to your phone application.

I believe this website application could replace Google Earth in the future altogether if it keeps improving. For me, this alone is worth the subscription price.

HuntStand App
OnX Website Application

GPS SD Chips

Another awesome feature OnX provides is an SD chip that can be used in many Garmin GPS’s. I personally haven’t used this feature but I feel like it is worth mentioning in this post. The OnX website lists the Garmin GPS’s that will work with the SD chip.

I really like that this SD chip can be updated so that the information on the chip doesn’t go out-of-date. In addition to buying the chip, OnX gives you a free year membership for the OnX App. This is nice because you’ll have a backup if either your phone or GPS stops working for whatever reason.

Considerations

The location icon in OnX is a circle. Because it is a circle, in order to determine the direction you’re facing in relation to the map you need to double click the ‘find location’ crosshair icon just below the map type quick toggle button.

However, when you do this the entire map adjusts and throws off the north orientation. This works fine, and some people may even prefer it. Personally, I’d prefer to keep my north orientation and have a triangular location icon point in the direction I’m facing instead of the whole map moving.

A setting to toggle this option would make this app even better than it already is. The video below will help visualize what I am describing:

Subscription Pricing

Currently, OnX Hunt charges $29.99/year for Premium (a single state). Elite costs $99.99/year but gives you information for all 50 states.

The OnXHunt links above are an affiliate link, where I earn a small commission if you click on the link and purchase this app. You are of course not obligated to use this link, but I am a strong advocate of OnX and personally use it myself.

2. HuntStand App

HuntStand Homescreen | GPS Hunting Apps

Key Features Discussed:

  • Layout & Ease of Use
  • Free Parcel Information Layer
  • Free Public Land Parcel Layers
  • Many Basemaps
  • Measure & Wind Direction Tools
  • Tracking

HuntStand is relatively new to my GPS app collection. It’s not easy to change my mind once I have a system in place that works well for me. However, HuntStand is a welcome addition to my GPS hunting app collection and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.

It offers everything the other apps do, except HuntStand offers everything for free. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the user experience is not as smooth as the other apps. It can be choppy at times, but it’s barely noticeable and for what it offers it’s worth dealing with a little choppiness.

Layout & Ease of Use

This app has a slightly larger learning curve than the previous apps because there are so many tools and options. However, once you learn how to use it you’ll get a plethora of useful tools at your fingertips for free.

This app is laid out slightly differently than the previous apps. Instead of your main screen being a map, it’s a menu grid menu with two main options to choose from “Tools” and “Maps”.

By choosing a map from the Map menu you will be brought into the GPS program which is very similar to the other GPS apps listed above.

HuntStand Parcel Layer
HuntStand Homescreen

Free Parcel Information Layer

HuntStand also has a private land parcel information layer, and it’s free! HuntStand is the only app that I know that offers this for free which gives it a huge advantage.

In addition, it offers parcel information for all 50 states. This is toggled on and off by choosing the basemap called ‘Property Info’.

A Few of Many HuntStand Maps
HuntStand Parcel Layer

Free Public Land Parcel Layer

Not only does it have public parcel information, but it also gives you the option to view public lands for free and highlights these parcels so they appear clearly as well.

Many Basemaps

HuntStand offers 14 free types of maps to choose from as well. These maps include the already mentioned public, and hunting lands. However, other maps include satellite, hybrid, terrain, topo, and street maps. There are a few more maps types, but these are the main basemaps that I use.

HuntStand Wind Direction Tool- HuntZone
A Few of Many HuntStand Basemaps

Measure Tools & Wind Indicator

This app also comes with the option to measure areas and lines. One additional feature I found helpful is the wind indicator tool. This tool shows a circular diagram around a location of interest (i.e. your treestand) and shows you the prevailing wind direction, and will even show you where the wind is expected to switch.

This is awesome because it takes time to look at a weather app, and then come back into your GPS app and figure out what the wind is doing. HuntStand makes it easy, and you don’t have to leave the app. Take a look at the photo below to get a better understanding:

Google Maps App
HuntStand Wind Direction Tool – HuntZone

Tracking

HuntStand comes with the option to track your route as well. In HuntStand though, it is called “Trace Path”. By clicking on the Trace button on the map you are viewing, you can start recording your trip.

Offline Maps

Another huge benefit of HuntStand is that you can download offline maps for free. Having property parcel information and the ability to use offline maps for free is something no other app offers and is something I’m looking forward to taking advantage of more.

Free vs Premium

There is a premium version of HuntStand that costs 25$ per year which is very affordable. But honestly, they don’t offer much in their premium package that I would use. Everything I need is available in their free version.

3. GPS Tracks App

GPS Tracks Homescreen | GPS Hunting Apps

One app I find myself using a lot is the GPS Tracks app. I really like this app because it is a feature-rich free app that is very user-friendly. I used the free version of this app for many years until I just recently upgraded to premium for the hunting season.

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Now that I have the premium version I am able to download offline maps, which is an option I need for my hunting style.

Key Features Discussed:

  • Layout & Ease of Use
  • Aerial and TOPO Maps
  • Measure Tools
  • Tracking and Track Library
  • Easily Upload/Export Google Earth Files
  • Save Your Trips and Save Phone Storage Space
  • Offline Maps
  • Free vs Pro vs Premium

Layout & Ease of Use

The home screen is simple yet feature-rich. There is a lot of customization available as well which is great for a personalized touch. In the settings, you’ll be able to toggle certain features on and off so the home screen only shows the features you want.

The default imagery is based on Apple Maps and is beautiful, crisp, and clear. This app has some of the best aerial imagery that I have used.

Garmin Earthmate App
GPS Tracks Homescreen

Aerial and Topo Maps

Not only does this app have crisp default imagery, but it also has a selection of maps to choose from in the layers settings. Here you will see a handful of maps that can be used with service, and some that can only be used downloaded for offline use.

Maps for both online and offline use consist of different types of aerial and topo maps. This is nice because the topo maps are pretty good and really reduce the need to switch out of the app to view topography on another app.

Measure Tools

GPS Tracks also has measuring tools, which as I’ve stated are important to my scouting and hunting regime. Under the Map Tools tab, you get the option to measure lines and shapes (areas).

Tracking and Track Library

GPS Tracks has a really good tracking feature and it is very simple to use. There is a big “start” button and “stop” button that you can’t miss.

Once you save a track it will file the track away in the tracks library where you view all of your saved tracks. When you open up a previous track you are shown many statistics about your trip. You’ll see graphs showing where you sped up and slowed down in an easy to read color-coded chart.

It shows your pace (min/mi) and Altitude. By running your finger along with the chart, your location icon will move to the area you are referencing on the map. This allows you to see exactly where in your travels you slowed down/sped up, or where the highest/lowest altitude was in the areas you walked.

Easily Upload/Export Google Earth Files

There is a lot to like about this app, but my favorite feature is the ability to import KML (Google Earth files) into the app. This is an awesome feature for many reasons. One reason is that you can draw up a scouting or hunting plan on Google Earth and then export the file to GPS Tracks.

Then you will have all of your information in the field with you. Vice versa, you can take your tracks and waypoints on your phone and import them into Google Earth so you can analyze your path and waypoints on a bigger screen.

This gives you the ability to upload updated parcel information onto your phone. This is handy because sometimes the GPS Apps that have parcel information aren’t current and don’t have the correct boundary lines.

Save Your Trips and Save Phone Storage Space

Additionally, since you can export files from your phone to Google Earth that means you can save your trip as a Google Earth file and save it to your desktop or an external drive.

By doing this you can save it for later use. It also allows you to delete the file in your GPS Tracks app so that you can save storage on your phone. When you need that track again you can upload it back to your phone.

Offline Maps

By downloading offline maps ahead of time, I’m able to continue to have aerial imagery in the background of the app so I can navigate back to my car at the end of the day, otherwise, I would have no map.

Having aerial imagery is in areas where there is no cell service is worth its weight in gold because you can see old skidder trails, existing dirt roads, where to get around wetlands… and more. This greatly improves efficiency and confidence in the woods, especially in remote areas.

Free vs Pro vs Premium

The main difference between the free and paid versions is the ability to download offline maps. The main difference between the Pro and Premium version is more storage to download more offline maps.

I personally don’t need a bunch of maps downloaded offline maps. I usually delete older maps when I’m not using them so I have plenty of room with Pro for all my offline maps needs. The subscriptions aren’t very expensive either:

Pro Subscription Cost: 19.99 per year

Premium Subscription Cost: Cost 39.99 per year

Considerations

The downside to this app is that it is only found on the Apple App Store, droid users will not be able to download this app which is unfortunate.

4. Garmin Earthmate App

Garmin Earthmate App Homescreen

The Earthmate app is one of my favorite apps out there, but it has a very specific purpose. It was designed to keep you safe in the woods, especially in remote areas with no phone reception. It’s not great at a lot, but it does a few things better than the rest.

Key Features Discussed:

  • Layout & Ease of Use
  • Phone to GPS Pairing
  • Insane Battery Life
  • Text without Phone Service
  • SOS Tool

Layout and Ease of Use

This app is laid out simply, and similarly to the majority of the other apps listed above. The first thing you see is a big map, with some tabs that allow you to navigate to other features of the app.

Because it’s pretty basic in its features it’s not all that difficult to figure out. It comes with a simple pre-downloaded Topo Map of North America that can be used when you don’t have phone service.

You can only get additional maps in particular areas. Earthmate doesn’t always have the option to download the specific type of map you want for the area you will be hunting. I found that areas I often hunted did not offer any other types of maps so I was stuck with a mediocre topo map of North America.

However, the main purpose of using this app was for safety and this default basemap was all I needed. That being said, the ability to download offline imagery & better topo maps would be a great feature for this app.

Garmin Earthmate App SOS Feature
Garmin Earthmate App Homescreen

Phone to GPS Pairing and Insane Battery Life

One of the biggest differences between this app and other apps is Earthmate pairs with your Garmin InReach GPS via bluetooth. This means that all waypoints and tracks you take on your phone will be sent to the InReach and vice versa.

This feature is amazing because I was able to keep my InReach GPS completely off and just use the Earthmate app. This meant I hardly used any battery life on my InReach and could save it for emergencies if my phone died. Even if my phone died, all the waypoints I took would have already been transferred to my InReach.

I had my Garmin InReach with me all season long. I kept it off except at the beginning of my trip to make sure it was working and to locate the position of my vehicle before taking off into the woods.

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Because I kept the InReach turned off, the battery didn’t get below 95% after hunting all season long! When I did turn it on, all of my waypoints on my phone appeared on the InReach. This is very handy if you hunt in remote areas because if one GPS (Phone or handheld) fails will have the other with all your waypoints.

In addition, because the InReach maps are pre-downloaded, and do not require service you can put your phone in airplane mode. Airplane mode significantly reduces the amount of battery life your phone uses because it prevents your phone from searching for service all of the time.

By keeping my phone in airplane mode I was able to track myself for an entire day, and still have over 50% battery life at the end of the day. And the great thing is, if I did use all of my phone battery, I would still have the fully charged InReach to get me back to my car at the end of the day!

Text Without Phone Service

Another awesome feature of the Earthmate app is that you can text people even when you don’t have phone service. Garmin uses its iridium satellite technology to allow this to happen.

By using satellite technology instead of cell towers, messaging is still a possibility. This requires a subscription in order to access this capability but is well worth it. Feeling safe in remote areas is priceless.

Not only does texting allow you to feel safe, but you can also let your buddies know you’re ready for them to help drag your big buck out! Another priceless feature in remote areas.

SOS Tool

In addition, the main purpose of purchasing a Garmin InReach is that it comes with an emergency system. This allows you to push a button on the GPS if you’re in trouble and an emergency team will find your last known point. This feature is also easily accessed on the Earthmate app so that there is no reason to dig the InReach out and turn in on in an emergency.

Garmin InReach Subscription Pricing
Garmin Earthmate App SOS Feature

Considerations

This app isn’t very versatile and is limited in its capabilities, I would not use it as a primary GPS app because it’s features are not as useful for everyday situations. Basemaps are quite limited, I ended up just using the default topo map.

The default map isn’t too bad it has roads, trails, wetlands…etc so it works fine for navigating back to your car which is all I need it for.

To get the safety features like texting and the SOS Tool a monthly subscription is required. The InReach subscriptions are the most expensive out of all GPS hunting apps mentioned in this post. But is well for the money in my option for the feeling of safety. There are 3 pricing Tiers:

Topo Maps+ App
Garmin InReach Subscription Pricing

If you’re thinking about using the Earthmate app, I would highly recommend buying a subscription. The Earthmate app isn’t very useful unless you’ve purchased the safety aspects, which is what the app is primarily designed for anyway.

6. Topo Maps+ App

Topo Maps+ Homescreen Layout | GPS Hunting Apps

Key Features Discussed:

  • Layout & Ease of Use
  • Detailed Topo Maps
  • Features
  • Easily Upload/Export Google Earth Files

Layout & Ease of Use

Another one of my favorite maps is the Topo Maps+ App. This app is different than the others because it only shows Topo maps, at least for the free version. The Topo basemap that it uses is very crisp and scales very well when zoomed in.

I don’t use this app very much, but it can come in handy in certain situations. It’s a very clean app, and simple to use. It has a similar look and feel to the OnX Hunt App.

Detailed Topo Maps

Sometimes when I am looking at aerial imagery on the other apps mentioned above, I want to see how the area is laid out topographically. This helps me guess where pinch points and funnels are located on a property. When I am scouting I sometimes flip between this app and the others.

The other apps do have topo maps, but this app does a better job than the other apps as far as topo is concerned. There is a pro version of this app but I have not purchased it at this point. The free version does everything I am looking to do. However, if you want even crisper topo maps at smaller zoom scales they can be purchased.

Google Maps App
Topo Maps+ Homescreen Layout

Easily Upload/Export Google Earth Files

Topo Maps+, like GPS Tracks, has the ability to import KML (Google Earth files) into the app. This is an awesome feature as stated in the GPS Tracks section. However, for my uses with this app I rarely use this feature. If I’m going to be uploading or export it will primarily be from GPS Tracks. But it is nice to know that this app has the feature as well.

Considerations

You are able to record your track and add waypoints in this app. However, you aren’t able to use measuring tools which I found disappointing. Additionally, the location symbol is circular which makes it difficult to tell which way you are walking. However, since I am only using this app for topo periodically, these missing features aren’t a big issue for me.

5. Google Maps App

Google Maps Free Offline Maps

Key Features Discussed:

  • Free Offline Maps
  • High-Quality Satellite Imagery

Free Offline Maps

You may already have this app if this is your preferred choice for vehicle navigation. You may be wondering why this app is on this list if it is primarily used for vehicle navigation. The reason is Google Maps allows you down download offline maps for free! So, if you already have this app installed, it might act as a double-whammy.

Now that I have paid versions that work well, I don’t use Google Maps nearly as often. However, it is worth throwing in this post because you might be looking for a way to get free offline imagery without needing to download more GPS Apps.

Google Maps Homescreen Layout | GPS Hunting Apps
Google Maps Free Offline Maps

High-Quality Satellite Imagery

By going into settings, there is an option to choose “Offline Maps”. Next, there is an option for “Custom Map”. Here you will be able to choose the size of the map you want to download for offline use. Google Maps states that once this map is downloaded, you can just continue to use the app normally.

When you arrive to the area that you have downloaded offline, it will automatically switch over to your downloaded map if there is no service. This will allow you to have high-quality satellite imagery, even without service. The process is similar to downloading offline imagery with OnX which is shown in a video above.

6 Best GPS Hunting Apps In 2023 - Field Tested and Reviewed
Google Maps Homescreen Layout

Conclusion

I still use 6 GPS Hunting Apps and am waiting on the day where one app does it all. HuntStand is a strong contender for being free and feature-packed. Although GPS hunting apps are improving greatly, I still find that each of these apps has their own personal strong points, making it hard to get rid of one.

Everyone will have their own opinions on which apps they prefer depending on their hunting and scouting style. These are the apps that I have grown to love out in the field for whitetail hunting. They have made my scouting and hunting much more precise, effective, and efficient. What GPS hunting apps are you using? Let me know in the comments below.

You may also like my OnX Hunt App Review:

OnX Hunt App Review- Field-Tested | Is The OnX Hunt App Right For You?

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