Three Ways to Effectively Utilize Compass Mode for More Success in the Field

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From Josh Kirchner:

When it comes to technology, progression is imminent. Just when I think things can’t get any better, they do, and the new Compass Mode (read about how it works in this FAQ) from onX Hunt is a shining example of that. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of putting this to the test in real-world hunting scenarios. In doing so, a few standouts have emerged to me in terms of calculated ways to use Compass Mode that will no doubt help you fill your tag.

Bedded Buck

The first big benefit I found with Compass Mode was while on an archery deer hunt in the high country of Colorado. Generally, this game is played by bedding bucks down early, then slipping in closer for a shot later in the day. The tricky part with doing that is when you get over there, everything looks different than it did back at the glassing spot. So, it’s really easy to get mixed up. This is where Compass Mode comes in.

Man archery hunting with bow and iPhone with onX Hunt.

Back at the glassing point, I was able to accurately mark where the deer was bedded by using Compass Mode. First, I ranged the deer. From there I opened Compass Mode and clicked on the rangefinder button. This allowed me to set the range to what I ranged the deer at. The GPS directional feature is on during this time, so your blue indicator will be facing wherever you are facing. Compass Mode then allowed me to drop a pin. Are you tracking? I now had a pin at the exact range from my position to where the deer was bedded. It’s nothing short of a game-changer.

Navigating to Glassing Point From Afar

Man pointing while hunting, and indicating distance on onX Hunt App.

On a recent bear hunt, we watched a sizable boar sauntering his way through a densely brushed canyon. I could see in the distance the glassing point we’d need to get to, and possibly shoot from. The problem though was it was going to involve a pretty lengthy loop through oftentimes dog hair thick brush with limited visibility. Again, we reached for Compass Mode.

Explore compass Mode in onX hunt

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From our position, I ranged the outcropping we had been eyeing. With Compass Mode open and pointing in the direction of the said outcropping, I simply entered the range and dropped the pin like I did with the bedded buck. So, when we did make the loop and bust through all of that brush, we knew where we were going.

Man looking at onX Hunt App while hunting in the field.

This same strategy could be applied to a far-off tree that you wanted to set a stand in as well. Again, the point here is that once you get over to that tree or outcropping you’ve been eyeing, things are going to look different. Compass Mode helps save both time and energy in that arena.

Marking Where an Animal Was Shot

Man marking where an animal was shot while hunting and using the onX Hunt App.

Fast forward a bit and I was fortunate to shoot a great bear that fed on acorns down beneath us. The country that this bear ran into is nothing short of a maze. Especially when you get down into the canyon. Having some sort of marker would be really useful here and we could snag that marker from Compass Mode.

Man with a bear he shot while hunting.

This is a real common situation for a hunter in general, but even more common for a rifle hunter specifically. Shooting a critter from across a canyon and then navigating over to the exact spot where they were standing is no easy task, especially solo. By using Compass Mode, a hunter can range right where the animal was standing and input it to get a Waypoint. If the animal dropped in its tracks, you’ll have a pin for that. And if they run, you’ll have a pin of where to start looking for blood.

Closing Thoughts

Navigating your way to successful hunting is all about making the best-educated decisions that you can. Compass Mode adds another layer to that education and the result is a more efficient hunter. Practical tools with multiple uses are hard to come by. This is what I’d call a “no-brainer” and I can assure you that Compass Mode will be getting its fair share of game time from me this season and in years to come.

Josh Kirchner

Josh Kirchner is the author of the book Becoming a Backpack Hunter, as well as the voice behind the brand Dialed in Hunter. Through informative articles and eye-catching/uplifting films, he hopes to inspire other hunters to chase and achieve their goals. Josh is a passionate hunter who has been hunting with his family since he was a small boy. When he is not chasing elk, deer, bear, and javelina through the diverse Arizona terrain, he is spending time with his wife, daughter, herding dog, and mischievous cat.