The opening at our farm is tomorrow. To say my nights have been sleepless is an understatement. Visions of all the offseason work coming together like a movie script keep me awake at night and my anticipation is only matched by a child’s intrinsic joy on Christmas eve. While lying in bed my wife tells me good night before turning off the light, and I respond with, “I love deer season” (true story).
Like any good whitetail addict, during this time of year I typically lie in bed analyzing every facet of the upcoming opening day. I mentally run through the various stand locations on the property, the deer movement I’ve identified on camera (in addition to historical knowledge of the property), and consider how the predicted wind for the weekend may impact my options. I crave as much information and knowledge as I can possibly acquire about the woods I intend to hunt and the characteristics of the whitetail I pursue. The quantity of information that can be gathered with today’s technology is incredible; just game cams alone provide a wealth of information. More often that not, navigating the trash and the treasure leads to more confusion instead of decisive decision making. That being said, this year I’ve decided to employ a tool to help me make sense of all my information and ultimately cut down on the guess work—and hopefully allow for some sleep. I’m a bit of a closet technology nerd and when I can combine technology and hunting, I’m in whitetail heaven. To help me organize my information, this year I’m using a HuntSoft account. HuntSoft is an online software-based platform that takes your game camera pictures and extracts all the data from the day an image was taken. You can also enter information manually like sightings, kill locations, cam and stand locations, etc. This program then takes all the uploaded information and provides reports outlining trends taking place on your property. It’ll let you know if that bruiser you have on camera moves most often during a north wind, which time of day he’s most often on his feet, or if a specific moon phase prompts his movement. This tool really just organizes your information in a digestible and meaningful way that can be most useful in planning a hunt. You can view a tutorial video below here to see how to get started. I’m currently using the free version as a test run.
I understand this tool may not be for everyone and is not a replacement for a hunter’s woods smarts. This type of tool only provides hunters with additional information and enhances what they already know. If the tool is telling you it’s a good day for a certain stand location based on that day’s wind, you still have to have a truthful approach. There must be an entry and exit plan for that location, knowledge about which direction the deer will move to effectively play the wind, and confidence that deer will pass that stand with that day’s conditions. It’s not a magic elixir, but I’ve certainly found it to be helpful in planning and understanding the dynamics of our farm.
I’m currently at the beginning stages of using this tool. Below I’ll share with you some screens from my profile.
I’ve outlined our property and have my camera and stand locations all plotted on the map.
The game log screen is where you upload your camera images or input a deer on hoof sighting, a kill location, etc. To the right you can filter your images using several criteria.
Once uploaded you can tag each image, allowing you to filter later.
Once you have your images and data uploaded, you can begin to pull reports detailing movement by hour, movement by wind direction or movement by moon phase.
There are multiple companies offering similar products, however I find HuntSoft to be the most user friendly and like the level of reporting it provides. Here are a few other options: Deer Lab, and Big Game Logic.
As hunters, we’re always looking for some type of advantage, and this software is one of mine. This tool may not be for everyone, but can be a helpful tool in planning and organizing your approach this season and could be part of the reason you have your moment of truth from the stand.