January 05, 2015
It might be hard to believe for most Millennials, but there was a time when satellites didn't circle the Earth providing detailed aerial imagery to help us get around. Gone are the days when spilling coffee on your already tattered paper map could ruin your hunt.
Nowadays, technology rules the roost and hunters that can master the latest innovations get there first and kill more often. Whether you're chasing blacktail deer on a remote Alaskan island or Cape buffalo on the Caprivi Strip, with an outfitter or DIY, there should be no guesswork when it comes to your direction. To wit, here's some gear that will rev up your dream adventure anywhere in the world.
Fenix 3 Outdoor | GPS Tracking Watch
Wearable tech is all the rage. If you've seen innovations like Google Glass or the cadre of smart watches on the market, you know the future is already here.
Hikers, bikers, backpackers, and such have been using this stuff for years. It's about time hunters catch up. The next generation of outdoorsmen will grow up in an age where the entire world is navigable through a tiny screen on their wrist.
Don't be the last one to cash in on this trend, pick up the Fenix 3 from Garmin
. Just like the Montana GPS unit, this little wonder provides navigation and tracking functionalities as well as trip information to keep you rolling in the right direction when you've got your eyes fixed on a distant bedded buck.
Built-in sensors keep you up to date on every data point you'll need to track him down and kill him. Keep an eye on weather changes, elevation, and your headings on the large LCD display with LED backlight. From there you can create different routes using up to 1,000 waypoints, geocaches, and GPS breadcrumbs. Use the TracBack function to hit up old routes and share them wirelessly using Bluetooth. While you're exploring the massive menu on the Fenix 3, don't forget the altimeter, barometer, temperature gauge, and compass.
Pair it with all your devices and it'll be the portal through which you navigate on your next hunt. Oh, and it tells time too. What a novel concept.
Garmin | Montana 650T GPS
As the smartest PH in Africa once said, 'There's no excuse for getting lost. ' Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks to Garmin's Montana 650T
, every hunter should always be on track, all the time.
But, let's face it; relying completely on this technology to keep you in the right spot (and alive) can be a pretty scary proposition. Batteries die. Screens break. Check Murphy's Law for details. While you'll never totally eliminate this fact, you can give yourself a huge piece of mind with the rugged, built-to-take-a-beating Montana 650T.
The geniuses at Garmin built in a four-inch color touchscreen with TOPO U.S. 100K maps, BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, turn-by-turn driving directions, and the ability to load the aforementioned detailed hunting maps from OnX.
Mount the bulky Montana 650t in your truck or on your ATV, stash it in your pack, but don't leave it behind. It can communicate with a ton of different Garmin devices (keep reading) and will be the hub for all your adventure paths and data.
Most veteran hunters already know all this, but consider this a hard reminder that this is one piece of tech us off-the-griders can't do without.
Garmin | Virb Elite Action Camera
The portable, mountable action camera market is booming right now. While there is no shortage of companies offering hard-to-break options for the adventure-minded, the Garmin Virb Elite
is different. This true 1080p HD machine features Wi-Fi, GPS capabilities, an accelerometer, and barometric altimeter.
Mount it on your rifle or bow (Garmin offers special options for both) and you've got a low-profile, hands-free video camera that has data stamping and GPS-based smart recording profiles that can be set to automatically record your shots and turn off when you're back in camp.
To step your game up further, the Virb Elite uses ANT+ wireless connectivity so you can use a compatible Garmin device as a remote control. Which means you can start and stop the camera mounted on your partner's rifle, only recording when you need to — when finger is placed on trigger. If that's not enough, ANT+ also has external sensors that pair with a wireless temperature sensor (Tempe) or heart rate monitor that can be displayed on your video. It's time everyone could see just how fast your blood was pumping when that giant buck or bull finally showed himself.
Pack this on your next adventure along with the Montana 605T GPS and you've got a duo of get-there devices that will make Lewis and Clark look like a couple of wusses. Take the time to master the programs and features of the Virb Elite, and you'll be able to capture every adventure in HD. That's one step closer to becoming a true tech-age hunter.
We have used OnX mapping software
in conjunction with Garmin GPS units for several years now and it is a literally a game changer for hunting the West. In fact, unless you are hunting one piece of property you know intimately (read in: your family's property) it is damn near a necessity for most public land adventures today. This is the one piece of gear we stress every hunter should buy. The concept is revolutionary: The software seamlessly overlays property, as well as GMU (in applicable cases) boundaries over the normal TOPO display.
Not only can you scout public parcels and game units digitally, it enables you to know exactly where you are in relation to the property line or unit boundary. In addition to this necessary feature, you can scout from your computer, mark waypoints, and transfer the data to your device.
As much as we like the OnX chips for Garmin (sold per state), this year we tried the iPhone App (an Android version is also available). The large screen on the iPhone is crystal clear and the navigation between layers is intuitive. Best of all, if you travel to an area with little to no cell service, maps can be cached ahead of time so you always have them at hand.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.