By Mark Kenyon
Last week, as many of you have already heard, I interviewed veteran deer hunter and outdoor writer Steve Bartylla on The Wired To Hunt Podcast about the idea of patterning deer. It was an absolute info packed interview, but one of the most profound things that Steve hammered home was this. Always ask why. When you have a sighting of a buck moving out of that swamp. Why? When you see that deer cross the creek on the South side of the property. Why? When you get a trail camera picture on a food plot at the center of your property. Why?
Too often we take a look at a piece of whitetail data, that being a sighting, sign or a photo, and then get excited about it, but dismiss it again without having actually asked the important question of why. Every sighting or photo is important data, a piece of the whitetail puzzle, that if we look at it carefully and analyze it, can lead to better success in the woods.
Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
All that said, this idea of actually using all of your data and analyzing the pieces of the puzzle sounds great, but it’s easier said than done. Take for example a week of hunting in early October. Let’s say you hunted three evenings, and saw 14 deer over the course of those three hunts. Most of us would have enjoyed those experiences, but never really been able to track those or learn much from them.
But what if you could better understand the why. What was the wind direction during those encounters? What was the moon phase? What other factors lined up just perfectly on those evenings to allow for those sightings?
You can manually track some of this information and a hunting journal is a great tool to use for this. But there are limits to the effectiveness of paper, pen and human analysis. Sure you can compile your observations in nice neat rows, but can you truly analyze the collective data once you have it? Not easily. And this is where a new tool I’m excited about comes in.
This new tool is HuntSoft.
HuntSoft is a web based system that allows you to track all the various pieces of data and observations you collect during the season in one place, attach that data to a specific location on your property, and then analyze that data as a whole using some serious analytics.
I very rarely post about specific products on Wired To Hunt, but this is one product/tool that I honestly see being so unique and helpful that I just needed to share it.
I’m particularly excited about HuntSoft because it was built for the serious whitetail hunter, using consultation from some of the top whitetail minds around, such as the Whitetail Properties team, Tony Hansen (writer for Realtree, Outdoor Life, Antler Geeks, etc), some of the top whitetail biologists in the field and even myself! Over the past 6-9 months I’ve had the chance to talk to the people actually designing HuntSoft, and test the tool, recommend features that would help me as a hunter, share pain points, and ask for other tools and reports that I would use as a serious whitetail nut. The result now is a whitetail “analytics” tool unlike anything I’ve seen to date and something that is going to help me tremendously this season.
Over the coming weeks I’m going to be pulling together some short videos showcasing exactly how I’m using HuntSoft to track and analyze data on my properties, but today I thought I’d share just a few highlights of what HuntSoft can do.
Here’s a few quick highlights of what you can do with HuntSoft today:
– Map out your property with stand sites, camera locations, etc and then see current conditions at those locations such as temperature, wind, barometer, sunrise/sunset, etc
– Log game sightings, kills and trail camera photos. This can be currently done on the website, and the mobile app will be launching very soon – allowing you to log a sighting in less than 10 seconds with just a couple quick button taps.
– Based on the location and date/time of those sightings or photos, HuntSoft pulls in advanced weather and moon phase data for those specific pieces of data
– You can then create buck profiles and tag various sightings or photos, so that later you can filter your data for a specific buck and then even filter further by a stand site or camera
– Once you have sightings logged or trail camera photos uploaded the really interesting stuff starts, as you can use HuntSoft’s reporting system. These reports take a look at all the data you have input into the system (photos, sightings, kills) and matches those up against the conditions at the time and then aggregates this all to uncover some incredible insights. Reports included will analyze how deer activity varied based on factors such as moon phase, changes in barometric pressure, temperature or change in temperature, wind direction, time of day and much more.
– Here’s an example of how this might work. Let’s say you have sighted a buck you call “Bones” three times from the “Oak Tree Stand” and you’ve got pictures of him on four different cameras. You can pull a report and filter it to only look at data for “Bones”, to see what wind direction he moves through your area the most at, or how his activity varies based on moon phase, or maybe to see if he moves the most with rising or falling barometric pressure. Or for another example, maybe you’ve been logging sightings and photos all season, but it seems that your sightings on this property are very sporadic and you don’t know why. Well, you can pull up your property dashboard and see that, for example, 80% of your sightings are coming on days when the temperature dropped more than 10% from the day before. Or maybe the majority of your sightings on this property are occurring with a SW wind. Now that you know this, you can better plan to be in the woods on the days with the right conditions, and avoid those times that have clearly not been good for activity. The options are plenty and the insights can completely change how you hunt.
– Here are a few sample images of some of the reports and dashboards you’ll see in HuntSoft
As you can see, there are some really powerful things you can do with HuntSoft and more improvements and features are being added throughout the coming months. As you can probably tell, I’m really excited about this tool, and can’t wait to put it into action this Fall. If you too would like to better understand the “why” behind your sightings, trail camera photos, and kills I’d highly recommend you check out HuntSoft at the link below.
And as a special bonus for Wired To Hunt readers, if you use promo code HSW2H (starting on 9/11/14), you’ll get a free month of any package you choose! Take a minute and give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a whole world of new insight to gain.