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Illinois hunting and fishing

Nature tech: apps for the outdoors

October 07, 2011 at 07:55 AM

The Associated Press

We’ve all been urged to turn off the computer and enjoy the great outdoors free of electronic gadgets.

But as computers and mobile devices get more portable and more powerful, it gets easier to take our electronics along for the journey.

Nowadays, it is possible to employ your smart phone to help you judge a deer’s antlers, match a bird to its call or figure out which tree belongs to the leaf your kid just handed you.

This is not an attempt to pick the best smart phone apps — these are just some of the options available to outdoorsmen and women.

The Buckulator

The Buckulator gets extra points for the name. It serves as a specialized calculator to help a hunter rough score a deer’s antlers on the spot. It also helps hunters with estimating a deer’s weight, includes a formula for tracking a wounded deer, and offers weather and moon phase information.

Deer Diary

This also scores high in the application-naming department. Hunters can record details of a hunt, including location, weather, photos and other notes. Hunters can also “check-in” at their favorite deer stand — much like Foursquare. The app synchronizes with a companion website:


Leafsnap allows the user to snap a picture of a leaf and submit it online for identification. The user also can develop his or her library of images for comparison.

The app uses visual recognition software to distinguish between tree species using photographs of the leaves taken by smart phone users.

Pictures are compared to a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Sibley eGuide

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America goes where the original Sibley guide could not — with you. Bird artist David Sibley’s exhaustively complete field guide is considered the pinnacle of identification guides, but its size and weight make it impractical in the field. That’s why Sibley later broke it into smaller east and west volumes.

No matter. Now you can take the whole thing with you on your phone.

The app is pricey at $29.99 in the iTunes store. The book retails for $10 more, although it can be found at a price comparable to or below the app price.

Ducks Unlimited Migration Reports

This includes reports of waterfowl activity submitted by users. DU says 10,000 migration and hunting reports are submitted and mapped each year. The migration map also is available online at DU’s website:

RiverGuide for Kayakers

This app offers information on water levels and flow rates of rivers and streams all over the United States. Tap the region (Midwest, for example), and then the state (Illinois) to get a list of that ranges from the Apple River near Hanover to the Vermillion River near Danville. The Sangamon River, Salt Creek, Spoon River, Vermillion River and Illinois River are included. Arrows show if conditions are favorable and if water levels are rising or falling.

Quik Calls

Quik Calls includes recordings of 35 common game bird, game animal, predator and prey calls. Learn to recognize the calls or reproduce them yourself.


This app offers 100 calls and background information of interest to hunters. Did you know that only the females of most dabbling ducks quack? Tap the play button to learn the calls. Tap twice to learn more about the birds and animals that make them.

By downloading a second app, the calls can be played back remotely by another iPhone or iPod.

Coyote Calls

Includes distress calls of several types of prey animals.


iSolunar updates the often-relied-upon Solunar tables for the smart phone. Hunters and anglers use Solunar tables to determine the most productive hours to hunt and fish. The tables are based on the times the moon and sun rise and set. They also take into account the phases of the moon, tides and eclipses.

Outdoorsman and writer John Alden Knight developed the idea in the 1930s based on his observations made in the field over many years.

Just enter your current location to get the Solunar table for your area.


FlyBench can step you through the process of tying your own flies, courtesy of Fly Fisherman magazine. Experienced anglers who like to add their own touches have the option of adding personal notes to go along with the “recipe” included for each pattern.

Knots 3D

This app can help even the most helpless Scouting washout tie a proper knot in a variety of situations. Tap on the type of knot preferred, and an animation plays. The two ends of the line or rope are colored blue and red so it is easy to see how the knot is tied.

Weekend anglers and boaters need not worry about forgetting knots again.

Pro Knot

A simpler version with step-by-step illustrations instead of animation.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Apps in this article appear to be for the iPhone.  There are also some good outdoor Apps for the Droid phones.  Time2Hunt is a good app that provides info on the best times to hunt.  It also has sunrise/sunset times.
Wild Game Hunting Call is a good sound app with sounds for deer, turkey, elk and predators.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/20 at 07:20 AM

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