Using Maps

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Sam Menard
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby Sam Menard » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:13 am

I consider topographical maps and aerial (satellite) photographs critical tools in my scouting arsenal. Topographic maps show elevations and drainages that may not appear clearly in photographs. On the other hand, up to date photography can give you an indication of the type of vegetation growing in the area as well as showing any forest openings.

I hunt big woods on public land vs. agricultural private land, so my useage of these tools may differ from you. Essentially this is what I do when trying to locate a hunting area:
1) I use both tools to narrow down an area that should hold deer. I prefer large stands of timber adjacent to openings e.g. cutovers, clearings, fields, etc. The stands of timber provide the necessary cover, while the openings will supply food.
2) Using coloring pencils, I disect the general area into areas that are useful to deer and those areas that won't hold deer e.g swamps.
3) Next, I identify possible funnels, saddles, pinch points and other travel corridors between food sources or between areas of cover. Cover doesn't necessarily mean bedding areas.
4) Once I get an understanding of the lay of the land and how deer might be using each component, I start looking for ambush locations.
5) At this point, I should know where the deer bed, where they feed, and how they get from one place to another. I've also come up with a plan on how to take advantage of the topography to intercept the deer.
6) With all that knowledge, it's time to hit the woods and ground-truth what I've learned. Although it's almost impossible to anticipate everything on the ground, map scouting makes hunting easier. I also find it challenging and a lot of fun.

Good luck.
Sam
"The true hunter counts his achievements in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport."

Dr. Saxton Pope

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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby SHKYBoonie » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:01 pm

ORIGINAL: scotman

I overlayed both maps in photoshop to give you a better idea. The black lines is were I would look for travel corridors.

 
This is exactly what I was going to suggest. I always overlay the two because some of the topo maps are quite old and may show timber/field that isn't there any more. There is no scouting tool better than the two combined so you can see the whole picture.
 
Shaman said it best, deer are like us in the fact that they will chose the path of least resistance unless they are escaping danger. Look for the places where the topo lines are farther apart and lead to food sources. Many of the creek lines will have over grown areas that deer will use for cover and in Winter, they may use the Southern facing slopes to bed throughout the day for warmth and protection from cold North winds.

wack
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby wack » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:11 pm

You've got to be really careful with these new maps, 2nd week of last bow season I was looking at Google Earth satellite image of the hunting ground I was at the day before. The day before I saw a nice shooter buck at about 40 yards and I backed out unnoticed. I found the exact spot on the map, could see the tree I needed to be in, and with the help of the mornings weather report, had my rout planned perfectly. I got so exited I jumped out of my chair and herniated a disk in my lower back. In 1 split second my season ended. $13,000 worth of medical bills, I'm telling ya these new maps are dangerous and should come with a warning label. lol
American by birth, hunter by choice.

Powell1120
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby Powell1120 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:20 pm

Shaman, I must say I like the way that you describe how to break down the property, it sounds extremely effective. Even though I have hunted this property before I am definately going to go back and cover it in the pattern you described. I am sure that I can apply this method to another property that I hunt.

Swamp Life, the predictions that you made just from looking at the maps are really good. I do have to ask what makes you say that the east dot would be an evening stand? Your are dead on with this, the deer come up the west side of the high fence and out around the end of the timber and into the field.

lt sounds to me that topo maps can really help with locating travel coridors, and good photographs can help locate feeding areas and the cover, I can say that from here out I am going to take your guy's input and tactics and use them in the rest of my hunting life. The way that you guys could look at the maps and pick out spots that are true to life good stand sights. If you guys have any other suggestions or tips for interpreting maps or even just good ideas to pick properties apart to get the most out of them, I am all ears!

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shaman
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby shaman » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:04 am

I like Swamplife's predictions for stand sites. If I'd had to put dots on a map, I probably would have put them in similar spots.  In fact, I'd thought about going that route, but didn't.  Part of it was I didn't have the time yesterday to download the pic, and part of it is that I've been wrong enough over the years that I tend to be conservative.  I also come out of a time when deer were not all that plentiful, and the theory of where deer should be was often clouded by the fact that there just weren't enough deer around to hunt.

My feeling is that topo and aerial data are a great aid. They tell you a lot of what you need to know.  However, they do not give you the whole picture. It aids scouting, but cannot replace it.  I also agree that on featureless flat ground, a topo and aerial may be as useless as tits on a boar hog.  I hunted a tree farm years ago that had two contour lines on the whole 40 acres.

I went through this same process when I bought my 200 acre farm.  Topozone.com had just started up, and I could get both the satellite and the topo image for free. Pouring over these at night and on my lunch hours, I started putting dots on the map as places of interest.  After scouting a couple of weekends, I was ready to place stands.  I put out a half dozen stands and had one pay off.  I added another just before the Rifle Opener and got a payoff from it as well.  2 of 7 makes a nice batting average, but it also means 5 locations did not pay off.  What I found was that some locations were dead wrong, and I've never figured out why they did not pay off.  They all had sign. They all had good concealment.

The next year I moved a couple of stands, and added a couple of locations, and it went like that for a couple of years until I have what I have now.  I'm still making changes, but I have a core of stand locations that give me good coverage, good variety, and good flexibility. The plan for 2009 bears hardly any resemblance to the one in 2001.

Maps and photos will give you some great data, but there's more too it.  As a for instance, I love getting hold of old topo maps.  They show old features that may not show up on the newer versions.  If you haven't scouted the place, you won't know they're there.  If you scout the place and find the feature, you may not understand its significance. Roads and buildings come and go.  Ponds fill up.  Orchards disappear off the map.  They're still there as far as the deer are concerned.  In fact,  deer can be influenced by features that fell off the map over a human generation ago.  If you want an absolute deer-freaking gold mine, find a road that shows up on the 1948 topo and is gone in the 1984 revision.  Believe it or not, I've watched one piece of asphalt country road revert back totally over 50 years. It was still recognizable pavement when I was born.

Photos are the same way.  Example:  if you see a pasture in the 1997 aerial and it is now woods according to the 2004 Google satellite image. You've probably found a fresh thicket of deer bedding habitat that still has tall grass mixed in with the young trees.  I happen to know this, because yours truly is starting to see his wildlife biologist's habitat how-to'sshow up on Google Earth. It ain't the Great Wall of China, but you can see my home-brew DIY mini-QDM from space.
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SwampLife
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby SwampLife » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:21 am

ORIGINAL: Powell1120

Swamp Life, the predictions that you made just from looking at the maps are really good. I do have to ask what makes you say that the east dot would be an evening stand? Your are dead on with this, the deer come up the west side of the high fence and out around the end of the timber and into the field.


very cool to hear.

this property you shared actually lays out very very similar to two properties i hunt in PA. so from hunting those same woods for the last 5-10 years and comparing how the deer use those properties to aerial and topo maps, i got a general idea of how they like to use certain terrain, cover and geographical characteristics.

the reason for the east dot being evening is because you will just be blowing the deer out of the crop field (unless it is standing corn, then just walking slow and quiet you should be safe)before light on your way in, in the morning. to hunt this area in the morning you would need to enter it somehow from the south(which i dont know if that is possible for you), but by entering this area from the south you run the risk of leaving your scent where the deer may be looking to bed, thats why i think hunting that spot in the morning will be putting too much pressure on your deer.

Since you asked for any other tips, (you may be well aware of this) from looking at the topo you would definitely want to pay attention to thermals on that property. They can quickly help or hinder a hunt.

DeanoZ
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby DeanoZ » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:23 pm

ORIGINAL: scotman

I overlayed both maps in photoshop to give you a better idea. The black lines is were I would look for travel corridors.

Image


Wow thats really neat...never thought to do that...can you walk me through the process on how you do it in Photshop?

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scotman
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby scotman » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:43 pm

I sure can I will pm you when I create a new post on it. Don't want to get the OP post off topic too much.
"The deerskin rug on our study floor, the buck's head over the fireplace, what are these after all but the keys which have unlocked enchanted doors, and granted us not only health and vigor, but a fresh and fairer vision of existence" -Paul. Brandreth

DeanoZ
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby DeanoZ » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:05 am

ORIGINAL: scotman

I sure can I will pm you when I create a new post on it. Don't want to get the OP post off topic too much.


Thank you sir!

Powell1120
 
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RE: Using Maps

Postby Powell1120 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:04 pm

that would be good to know how to do, Think you can share that process with me as well?

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