How to Use the onX Hunt App to Hunt Whitetail | Part 2: Getting Permission, Boundary Edges and Deer Drives

October 9, 2019 | Hunt

Find out how the onX Hunt App can help you get landowner permission, make the most of boundary edges and find overlooked areas of public land.

In Part 1 of “How to Use the onX Hunt App to Hunt Whitetails” we talked about food plots, tree stand placement and entrance / exit strategies. In this second installment, we cover the best ways to get landowner permissions (names go a long way in establishing a friendly relationship), possible access, hunting boundary edges, urban bowhunting and deer drives.

Landowner names and boundaries

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Getting Permission

Gaining landowner permission may be most obvious use of onX Hunt. We have the most accurate and up to date property ownership available on the market, making it easier than ever to contact landowners to request hunting access.

the onX Hunt App is designed to help hunters determine public and private land boundaries and displays landowner information.

When you see a stud buck cross the road in front of you, onX makes it incredibly easy to send the landowner a letter, stop by and knock on the door or even look up landowner information in the Whitepages. The onX Hunt App also provides useful information such as acreage of the property and management unit information, making it easy to do your homework.

Finding Overlooked Areas of Public Land

Thousands of acres of unmarked public lands exist all over the country. Many of these small tracts of land appear to be nothing more than some random private property, but with onX you can easily turn up overlooked tracts of public land and turn them into your secret hunting spot.

Use the onX Hunt App to find overlooked areas of public land when hunting whitetail deer.

This small, 7-acre piece of land is completely surrounded by some of the Midwest’s most fertile crop lands in the Missouri River Valley and has produced more than one stud buck. It’s not always about getting on a big tract of public trying to get away from people, but finding the smallest tracts that nobody else will even know exist.

Hunting Boundary Edges

It’s no secret that private property boundary edges are a productive place to kill a mature buck off public land. These boundary edges often border the best food sources; during most of the year (and especially the rut) mature bucks are going to be where does are: near food.

With that said, if you can find a tract of public land that has limited accessibility, requires hiking to access a good area or—even better —a combination of the two that will weed out the crowds, that land will often still provide the cover and bedding habitat those mature bucks require. Knowing the boundary edge will allow you to hunt legally on the right side of the fence but provide the opportunity to harvest a buck that spends the majority of his time on private land.

The onX Hunt App can be used to hunt boundary edges of private and public land when hunting whitetail deer.

As you can see with the area shown above, the walk in is going to keep the vast majority of hunters out. This allows you to hunt a mature buck using this wildlife area even though he spends the majority of his time on the adjacent private lands.

Urban bowhunting

You may be surprised how many areas are open to urban bowhunting. Many urban areas have spacious state parks and similar lands that fall well within city limits. With the ever-common occurrence of animal/vehicle collisions, deer eating homeowners’ gardens and the like, many of these lands allow weapon-restricted hunting. Hunters may have to get on the phone with a few individuals from the local government to gain permission, but often these areas hold truly giant deer.

Use the onX Hunt App to find areas for urban bowhunting during whitetail season.

This area, for example, is not open the entirety of this state’s bow season but has produced more than one good buck taken with archery equipment. It is inevitable some sits will be thwarted by recreationalists but get in early, take a long lunch from work, sit late and you just may be able to harvest the buck of a lifetime within your city limits.

Waypoints placed on an onX Hunt map can show the best places to hunt whitetail deer.

Possible Access

These are lands that may be accessible as open to the public, but typically require a closer look or even a phone call to confirm regulations. The onX Hunt App has a layer specifically designed for lands that may or may not be open to hunting—the Possible Access Layer. By locating these properties through the app, you can then confirm with your local hunting authority if those are legally accessible lands. The difficulty of finding these lands without onX Hunt, combined with the additional step of ensuring you can legally access them, keeps many folks out and you just may be left with your own little (legal) honey hole.

Some land may only be accessible to hunt whitetail via waterways, which can be found using the onX Hunt App.

Access via Waterways

Sometimes gaining access be as easy as using a little creativity on how you approach an area. (Note not all states have laws that allow access through waterways.) The piece of public land shown above is entirely landlocked by private lands but with a creek running right through it, access is still possible via kayak, canoe or raft. If you are willing to get up earlier and stay out later, you may end up with a secluded area to hunt by simply putting a little more effort in than the average hunter. If you want proof of how well this works, go check out The Hunting Public on how they use this tactic successfully.

Access Easements

Easements into landlocked public lands are not overly common, but they do exist. But without the aid of onX, it may be nearly impossible to find them.

Access easements can be found and marked with the onX Hunt App, allowing for productive whitetail deer hunting during the season.

This particular easement comes off a highway into a massive wildlife management area. The other access points to the wildlife management area are miles away, leaving this area nearly inaccessible. This unmarked, small easement has led to multiple undisturbed hunts in one of the most heavily hunted portions of Wisconsin, in turn leading to well-stocked freezers.

It’s not always necessary to knock on doors to find a low-pressure, quality hunting area; you may just need to pour over onX Hunt for a few hours to find your next go-to stand location.

Man climbing into a tree stand with a bow to bowhunt whitetail deer.

Deer Drives

With the use of the Hunt App, coordinating deer drives is no longer a mess of wondering where your buddies are and why they haven’t met you at “the big tree” yet. Anyone that has done a deer drive has inevitably felt slightly on edge, unsafe and perplexed why they haven’t seen their buddies in 30 minutes. Using onX to lay out routes when doing kicks, pushes and full-on drives gets everyone on the same page, making the process far more safe and likely more successful.

Use the onX Hunt App for a deer drive, ensuring you know where your fellow hunters are, and where property boundaries may cause deer to turn.

As you can see with this image, taking five minutes to draw out a plan can keep everyone on the same page and ensure safety. With a prevailing north wind during rifle season, this drive allows the walkers to still hunt through the woods with potential to get a shot off. If the deer busts out of the cover before then, the animal will likely get to the edge of the woodlot and then be forced to travel a fence line offering safe shots for the posted hunters.

Sharing Markups

When your buddy rolls in at midnight on Friday, sharing that new stand location is easier than ever with onX. Simply text them the Markup (a Waypoint, Line, Shape or Track) and it will automatically send a link to the recipient. All the Markup content is included in the share (name, notes, color and more), allowing you to easily share notes and locations with buddies in the field.

Sharing works by sending a simple link to someone. Even if they don’t have a current onX Hunt App account, once they click the link they’ll be prompted to log-in to their account (or create one) and then the Markup will populate on their onX map.

Sharing Markups provides the safety of always having somebody know where you intended to be. In the unexpected circumstance you don’t return home on time, someone knows where to look for you.

If your hunting camp is anything like many of ours, there is always somebody hanging a new stand or moving one to a slightly more favorable location.

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Saved Maps

With Offline Maps, you can access saved maps from anywhere and easily locate yourself in the field. The GPS in your mobile device works perfectly offline, even when the network is nonexistent. So prepare your maps beforehand, save them as Offline Maps on your phone and rest assured that even if you lose cellular service, you’ll know where you hid that tree stand, hung that trail cam or parked the truck.

Here at onX, we want to ensure our time in the field is as productive as possible. Hunting, hiking or scouting, we use our app daily and work to ensure it’s a tool you don’t want to leave home without. With an office filled with passionate hunters and outdoor folks, we’re here to help make your experience in the field the best possible. Now get out there and put in the work.

Deer in a field.


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Header Image: Wyatt Cole