For bow hunters who use their smart phone with a mapping and GPS app, here are a couple tips to get the most out of your phone.
As a general observation, the smart phone GPS technology seems to be much more reliable than older (emphasis on older) GPS units. Smart phone GPS’s seem to perform in heavy timber and steep ravines where a signal would go dead on a GPS unit. The downside to the smart phone GPS is short battery life, but there are remedies for this.
By switching your phone to “airplane mode”, it allows one to turn off cellular reception and data usage while continuing to use the phone’s apps, such as your GPS and mapping app. A lot of battery juice is used when the phone searches for signals. With airplane mode turned “on”, one can use the smart phone GPS all day, continuously, and still have ample battery life at the end of the day.
Another option is a portable battery charger. Some units are as small as a tube of lipstick and can fully recharge your phone depending on the phone’s make and model. A portable battery charger is “filled” by plugging it into your outlet, computer, or car outlet.
Of course, one could also carry a fully charged extra phone battery, but if your phone is in a weatherproof, shockproof case like an Otterbox or a Griffith case, a portable battery charger is much more convenient.
A word of warning though, electronics in the wilderness are a luxury and not full-proof. One should always have a compass and paper map as back-up in case batteries go dead, or electronics get jarred or wet.