Hunting Fit, it’s all about preparation, right? You bet!! But don’t think that preparation is all physical. There is also the research required to put you in a position to be successful on your hunts. Besides draw odds and tag applications you need to know the physical location you plan to hunt like the back of your hand. You must know the public and private boundaries, saddle locations, benches, but you also should know what the area looks like from the air. That way you’ll know if what appears to be a meadow, really is a meadow. Enter OnXmaps.
What Is OnXmaps?
What the team at OnXmaps has done is put all the tools you once had to piece mail together into one very thorough and fantastic mapping program. In the past (before the internet) you would have to order multiple paper maps to even get an idea of what any given area was going to look like. You would have to get a topo map, areal map, State Lands map, Federal Lands map, etc. They try and correlate them to one another. With the advent of the internet getting those maps and customizing them got a little easier but I still wasn’t able to get everything I needed into a single source. That’s exactly what OnXmaps did. They compiled all those maps in one so the searching and correlating is already done.
For this review I looked at the Elite Membership which gives you access to all 50 states. They offer single state options, which I have used in the past, but not many of us stick to one state with all this amazing country has to offer us. The great part for me having access to maps of multiple states is I can use it here in Illinois where I live, research Colorado where I’m going this Fall, I can see who still owns land where I grew up in Indiana and if they would let me slip in some time, check public grounds in Michigan for when I visit the inlaws, and look at Texas where I’m getting ready to relocate too. As you can see on a personal level having such a tool for multiple states is almost priceless when compared to all the work I would have to do to gather that much info for that many places.
Mapping Capabilities (Basemap and Layers)
As I’ve stated previously OnXmaps puts numerous different types of maps and information into one easy to use program. How it does this is through multiple “layers” that you can turn on and off to show (or remove) the various information. So you go in and choose your “base map” which includes:
- World Imagery, Topo & Trails, Imagery + Topo, Aerial Imagery, Topo (USGS), World Topo, USA Topo Maps, Streets Maps, and a few others.
Once you’ve established your base map (which I tend to use the Imagery + Topo) you will then choose from the one, two, or all of the following “layers”:
- Private Parcels, Government Lands, Possible Access Lands, GMU’s, Walk in Access, Hunt Zones, Public Hunt Areas, and many, many more depending on your selected states.
The information for each layer you choose will then be automatically transposed onto your basemap. It is absolutely fantastic!
To give you a little more detail on the layers, they will allow you to obtain the following information:
- Private land ownership – names and property boundaries.
- Public land – color coded areas and labels let you know where and what type of public lands are available.
- Roads & Trails – types, names, and numbers.
- PAL’s – Possible Access Lands.
- Hunting Zones.
- Points of interest – camping wilderness areas, boat and fishing access, etc.
- Water – creeks, rivers, lakes, etc
You can add and subtract the various layers as they do or don’t interest you.
At Home or with You In the Field
OnXmaps works both on your phone and computer. You can either bring it up on the big screen or view through your smart phone. Also, you can sinc info such as the waypoints and tracks you documented on your phone to your computer at home for your viewing pleasure. Another thing you’ll be pleased to know is that you can save maps to your phone so they will still be available to use even when you don’t have cell service.
I used OnXmaps two years ago in preparation for a DIY, public land, backpack hunt in CO. I found it to be very valuable in identifying key topographical features as well as nearby private land we needed to stay off of. It also identified the roadways we would use to access the public lands and water sources. Fast forward to the Elite Membership and I can already see where continuous improvements have been made. Looking back to that hunt two years ago we found some old trails that were not marked on any maps we could find at the time. This year OnXmaps had them shown. Also, last time I just got the state of CO map but now that I have been looking at multiple states I see that each state is a little different and it’s all captured in the program. I was able to find local property owners that I can now contact to attempt to gain permission to closer to home. For that matter I even looked up my own properties just to see if I existed. I was there!
Truthfully, I probably just scratched the surface identifying all the capabilities and uses of the OnXmaps program. However, from a cost and time standpoint it will certainly simply your life as you search your next hunting spot. Or for that matter identify some areas in your backyard you have been overlooking. I would highly recommend taking a strong look at OnXmaps right now as you prepare for this fall.
Disclaimer: I received the Elite Membership at no cost for an honest and fair review. What I have told you is from my own personal experience with the Elite Membership and the CO membership I paid for two years ago. I find it very valuable and a bargain for what it brings to the table.