You’ve probably bought apps and calendars that promised to predict when white-tailed deer would move. Some are gadgets and some are quite precise. Spartan Forge is a new app that uses artificial intelligence to predict the movement of white tails, and its founder claims it was 65% accurate in predicting the movements of wild white tails in a collared deer study.

Bill Thompson created Spartan Forge after 20 years of experience using predictive AI software as an Army Intelligence Warrant Officer. In the military, he used AI to track and predict movement or exploit trends of high value targets for military operations. Today he has focused on his passion for deer hunting.

According to Thompson, both bow hunters and battlefield commanders are tasked with solving a targeting problem. Spartan Forge uses targeting methods proven during the latter part of the Global War on Terror to equip bow hunters with everything they need to solve targeting issues they encounter in the field.

“My goal with Spartan Forge from the start has been to automate the intelligence gathering cycle for the hunter and make it as easy as possible,” said Thompson. “Not to remove the need for Scouting, but to make Scouting smart. “

How AI predicts the Whitetail movement

Spartan Forge uses data from several collared deer studies conducted by state agencies in different regions of the United States and associates it with local variables such as weather forecast, wind speed and direction, pressure barometric, humidity, sunrise / sunset and moon over / under factor. The AI ​​algorithm interprets all of these factors to predict what the deer in your area will do.

“We trained the AI ​​to recognize deer movement patterns based on your predictions,” Thompson said. “It will help hunters plan where to hunt and any tactics that might work best for the conditions.”

“Find, fix, finish” is the special ops targeting model, and Thompson applied the same mantra to Spartan Forge.

The AI ​​built into the Spartan Forge algorithm is more sophisticated than similar products, explains Thompson. Unlike other apps that use predictability models based on a limited sample size, Spartan Forge relies on what it says is more than 2,000 collective years of collared deer studies to predict movement trends.

“When a deer wears a collar for a year, that equates to a year of data,” Thompson said. “When you have all of our data in a timeline, that’s over 2,000 years. “

The result of all of this data is an AI that tells you the likelihood of deer moving and whether deer will generally stay near the litter or move further outside of their core area. According to Thompson, collared deer data feeds deer predictability models based on predictions and environmental factors in your area. Spartan Forge provides motion data ranging from the central area to the full range.

“On the day of the central area movement, you basically have to hunt specific beds,” Thompson said. “On the other hand, deer cover a lot more ground during shooting hours on a day of large-scale movement.”

Spartan Forge drills even deeper than movement and predicts how patterned deer will be in your area considering weather conditions on a scale from normal to very abnormal.

“The machine looks for model data and makes projections for your area so you can figure out how to hunt,” Thompson said. “He predicts it very well, so hunters have all the tools at their disposal to make the best decision they can before heading into the woods.”

Of course, no app, artificial intelligence, or algorithm can fully predict the behavior of a wild white-tailed deer. Variables that the app can’t take into account (like hunting pressure, for example) often have a bigger impact on deer movement in a specific area than the weather in a region. And it’s a good thing. From a fair hunting point of view, we never want to use technology to such an extent that we will take away the hunt itself. But that’s not really what Thompson’s app does. It is simply a matter of predicting the general activity of deer, not the movement of specific creatures.

Satellite imagery on demand

Quality satellite imagery is an essential function of any mapping application. Spartan Forge uses leaf and leaf images that allow users to zoom in on an area while still maintaining an incredibly detailed picture of the property. The details are so good that users can see individual tree branches on potential trees where they might want to hang a stand. Currently, 40 percent of the United States is covered at this level of detail, but Thompson plans to add additional coverage soon.

If you want to improve the satellite imagery supplied as standard, Spartan Forge will soon offer users the option to purchase additional custom maps on demand. All on-demand images are synchronized with the sun, which means the sun’s position is directly behind the angle of the satellite camera which captures the image of your favorite hunting location. The result is a satellite image with minimal shadows cast by trees, terrain, or other landscape features.

Spartan Forge offers a variety of features and charting options. Spartan Forge

“Sun-synchronized imagery makes every path, clearing or dead end extremely visible to the hunter,” said Thompson. “Even the best images in the world lose detail when out of sync with the sun. “

For an additional cost, users who wish to add additional on-demand satellite imagery can specify their preferred date and choose between sheet-on or sheet-off.

Like other apps in the market, users can register offline maps to use when cellular service is not an option. Unlike its competitors, Spartan Forge also creates a 10-day weather forecast and motion forecast aggregate so hunters can always take advantage of their information when connectivity is limited.

“You get a lot more than just an offline map,” said Thompson. “You will get extensive forecasts, hourly wind and precipitation odds, maps, property data and everything you need for your hunt.”

Land ownership and data sharing

Like other apps, Spartan Forge allows users to differentiate between public and private land boundaries. People who hunt on private land with permission can organize the properties to which they have access. Spartan Forge sends a push notification to the user with updated owner information if ownership changes.

Spartan Forge will soon update and integrate the new Blue Force Tracker tool to allow users to share data and waypoints in real time. If you share a hunting property with a few friends, you can draw a polygon around the property and grant access to your hunting friends. This opens the door to real-time location sharing and waypoint sharing.

“It’s like an automatic update feature for you and your hunting companion. The person drawing the polygon is assumed to be the “owner” of the spot, which allows them to restrict certain waypoints, ”said Thompson. “You will still be able to see the location of other users and even receive push notifications every time they enter the property. “

Eventually, Spartan Forge will offer a free version of the Blue Force Tracker tool to landowners. Thompson hopes this feature will reduce anxiety for landowners by letting them know the exact location of the people they are granting access to to hunt their property.

The result

I have been using the Spartan Forge app for about a week now. I start planning my deer hunts by checking the weather forecast for basic variables like wind speed and direction and temperature. Next, I reference the motion and pattern predictions and apply the projected information to my cartographic location. Much of my hunting is on public land, and I rarely hunt in the same location more than once, so aerial image reading is essential for planning my hunts.

Recently, I hunted a new property for the first time. Spartan Forge predicted core area movement and very abnormal patterns. Keeping in mind the prevailing direction of the north winds, I walked deep into the property to a long ridge that stretched east to west. I suspected that the males would lie on tip and stretch their legs in the final hours of the hunt as they grazed on fresh acorns and scrapes. The detailed aerial imagery helped me locate a transition from open walnut wood to an isolated pocket of white oaks. Since I hadn’t inspected the property prior to the hunt, I relied entirely on imagery to locate what I was hoping was a killer tree. Depending on the abnormal motion pattern projected by the app, I made some soft growls about 45 minutes before the light from the shot dimmed. Shortly after, a strong eight-pointed male emerged from the leeward point of the ridge, which confirmed my suspicion that males were lying nearby. The male made his way to the top-pin distance and offered several opportunities. Although I did not let go of an arrow, the meeting gave me a little more confidence in the application. It is a resource that I will refer to every hunt in the future.