Research Hunting Access & Road Status With onX Hunt

Discovering the best driving route to your hunting grounds is nearly as important as finding your way once you’re hoofing it in the backcountry. The onX Hunt App and Hunt Chip include a nationwide map of highways, roads, streets, back-roads, forest service roads, two-tracks and dirt roads to help you locate the best routes and access points.

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onX’s road data is gathered from a variety of federal, state and county databases that generally classify roads by surface type. The onX Hunt App, Web Map and Hunt Chip display this information clearly so you know what kind of road surface to expect. However, the last thing you want is to run into a “No Trespassing” sign or a closed gate and get turned around partway to your destination, so make sure to research road closures along your route before heading out.

USFS Motor Vehicle Roads & Trails

The United States Forest Service manages 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, including over 167,000 miles of roads and trails. While much of the land managed by the USFS is prime for hunting, it is generally not well-developed and many of the roads and trails can be difficult for certain types of vehicles. A detailed classification system has been developed by the USFS that restricts the use of some vehicles on specific roads at different times of the year. All this information is available in the onX Hunt App and Web Map by turning on the Motor Vehicle Roads & Trails Layer in the Trails & Rec folder. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) are also accessible in the onX Offroad App.

US Forest Service (USFS) Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM)

Public Vs. Private Roads

It can be difficult to establish whether or not a road is public or private, and no comprehensive, reliable database exists for easy reference. Additionally, regulations can differ from state to state, county to county and even from one property to another. Some private properties may have right-of-way agreements or easements allowing public use of a road whereas others do not. Usually, this is up to the owner of the property, and the only way to know before getting there is to contact the local government or the landowner directly.

Fenceline and hunter

Check all portions of your planned route, looking for areas that may be blocked at certain times of year, or roads that go through private property and may be closed. That way, you won’t find yourself detouring for hundreds of miles around a locked gate or impassable snowdrift. The best route to your destination is not necessarily the shortest, it’s the one that’s been thoroughly researched and scouted.

Written by Ryan Curtis