Tips for "map" scouting

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Tips for "map" scouting

Postby AlleganBowhunter » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:54 pm

Please share your tips for locating those hot spots on aerials, topos, etc.

I have been messing around with Google Earth tonight and its awesome (if you have highspeed, my experience in the past with dialup was not pretty).  I also download USGS topos in pdf form from the Michigan DNR website for free. 

I am novice at map scouting so I just look for spots that "look" good... whatever that means.  [;)]

What are others using for their long distance scouting?
Aim for the center of the target... the center of an aspirin is the same size as the center of a basketball. The difference is mental.

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RE: Tips for "map" scouting

Postby shaman » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:22 am

Here are some landforms that are easily seen from topos and aerials that I have had good luck with in remote scouting:

Constrictions: In crossing a field, deer will pick the narrowest part
Penninsulas:  In entering a field, deer will gather in a penninsula of cover
Corners:  Deer seem to like tight little corners to enter fields
Fencelines:  Deer will travel 10-20 yards in, and parallel to, a fence line  that overlooks a field.  They will also travel  along a brushy fence line to get from one side of a pasture to another.

Contours:  If you are wondering how deer are traveling from point A to point B, you can usually follow a path that has the minimum slope. Deer are lazy, they'll angle up a hill instead of going straight up.

Erosion Gullies:  On the side of a ridge or hill, deer must cross small erosion gullies.  A) because these gullies frequently contain the best browse, because they have the best water available. B) because the woods are usually more open at the gully. The trick is to follow the gully along its course and find where the deer are crossing.  On a topo, there may be just a hint of this structure-- I'm not talking a blue line, running down the hill just a crimp in the contours that suggest a gully might be there.

Saddles:  If there is a drop in elevation along the top of a ridge, the deer are probably using it.  It's usually the easiest way to get from one side of the ridge to the other.

Shelves:  If the hillside has a spot that flattens out a bit, deer will exploit it.

Finger Ridges:  If you have a wooded finger ridge, the deer often cross at the base of the ridge.  If they've been lazy (see Contours) eventually they follow the hollow to the top and then cross over to the other side.

Back in 2001, we acquired our current property just before season started.  I had very little time to scout.  In fact archery season had already started.  I sat down with the Topo and Aerial and started marking it up.  I got deer the first season, but the red dots I placed on that map in 2001 are still pretty much the best places to find deer. 
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Cut N Run
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RE: Tips for "map" scouting

Postby Cut N Run » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:47 am

I look for steep bluffs, because there is usually a creek at the bottom with a crossing on the down-current side.  It is even better if the bluff is positioned so you can take advantage of seasonal winds.  Most of the time deer are not going to walk up the face of the bluff. Often, they will cross from one side of that creek to the other at the easiest point to do so. Knowing that, if you can position your stand to watch that crossing or the lower side across the creek from the bluff, it can help notch your tags.  Two of my better bucks have come from two different bluffs.
I also use pond dams the same way.
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Ohio farms
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RE: Tips for "map" scouting

Postby Ohio farms » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:17 am

Check out ( click on maps.  In places, it has better resolution than Google

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RE: Tips for "map" scouting

Postby DeerCamp » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:53 am

If I were you I would buy the book "Mapping Trophy Bucks, Using Topographic Maps to Find Deer" By Brad Herndon. He goes into detail on how to find those hot spots. I own the book and Ive read it a few times, its very good and put together very well. It will give you all sorts of good tips.
"If I pull the hammer and shoot this young buck, he's dead. But if I pass on him, the next hunter might not shoot so straight."

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