Map reading and scouting

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Map reading and scouting

Postby ehavs » Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:23 am

Hey all,
I am a bit new to this wonderful sport and am learning quite a bit from this forum however I was hoping if anyone can provide their thoughts on reading topo maps and coming up with a game plan based off of them.  Perhaps provide a glimpse into what you look for on a map and then how you go about game planning your scouting and hunting based off of what you see? 
Any thoughts on this will be a huge help...

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RE: Map reading and scouting

Postby DeanoZ » Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:31 am

Would recommend the book "Mapping Trophy Bucks" by Brad herndon, he tooks extensively about using Topo's as the starting point.  I started doing that and based on my experience he has been dead on.  Essentially your looking for terrain features that deer are more likely to habitat or that will funnel or channel deer in a likely area, and position yourself within those areas.  Too much to cover in a single post here but his book does a great job of explaining it in detail.

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RE: Map reading and scouting

Postby VAHunter » Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:27 am

"Mapping Trophy BUcks," is definetly the best resource on this topic.  For a quick and easy, try this link out....

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RE: Map reading and scouting

Postby shaman » Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:10 am

Mapping Trophy Bucks  would be a good start.

Google "usaphotomaps" and download that free program from JDMCOX software-- free topo and aerial maps.

I use an old Garmin Etrex. It interfaces with USA Photomaps.  I start looking for funnels,  points, saddles, shelves and edges-- the usual stuff, and then I go scout the ground extensively.  Somewhere in this, I start finding tracks, and I work from those to find beds at one end of the track and food sources on the other.

In 30 - some years of reading topos, I can tell you this: 
1)  Topos, aerials, etc. will give you great places to start
2)  Until you put feet on the ground, you will not have the whole story
3)  Until you have spoor to examine, you won't have squat.
4)  The remote sensing  (maps, photos) have never directly produced a big buck for me, but it does put me onto the first good set of tracks that eventually lead to something.

The absolute worst time to begin scouting is in late summer and early Fall. All the signs from late Fall of last year are long-gone.  The absolute best time to scout is  right after season ends and into the Winter.  I've gone done more blind alleys chasing summer sign than I care to count.  However, after the last shot is fired, I can go back and see the error in my ways and adjust. How this Winter sign relates to maps and photos is key.

The other bit of gold I find from remote sensing is how it helps me extrapolate. If I see deer at Point A, I should be able to find structures that are similar to Point A elsewhere on the property and they may be productive.  These become the targets of futher scouting.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer

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RE: Map reading and scouting

Postby DeerCamp » Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:51 am

Mapping Trophy Bucks is a great book. I really enjoyed it. A site that I like is you can really zoom in on the trails. Good Luck to ya!
"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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