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Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

By Len Backus

My hunting friend and LRH member, Troy Adams, put me on to the use of Google Earth for hunt planning several years ago. I have used Google Earth quite a bit since then. But it wasnít until I learned of GPS based BLM maps that Google Earth became such an incredible planning tool for hunting planning out west. Google Earth has always been a good planning tool to study topography and cropland, as well as tree and brush cover. Now using the GPS based BLM maps, property ownership boundaries can easily be overlaid onto a Google Earth view, making the whole process much more effective.

Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

During the 2009 Wyoming deer season I came across a hunter on public land north of Gillette as both of us were taking a break in the late morning. I remarked on how it was tough to know just where some of the jogging public land boundaries were on the piece that he and I were hunting. He said it wasnít too bad since he had started using a BLM type GPS map that was installed on his unit. As soon as he showed it to me I knew I had to have one of these maps.

Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

Armed with my new GPS based BLM map during a late season doe hunt the very next month in northeast Wyoming, I had a hunter challenge me while I was clearly on state hunting land. He thought I was on his buddy's private land that he had been hunting for 6 years. I pulled out my paper BLM map and showed him how my GPS based BLM map matched my paper BLM map. Pointing at a fence line about 100 yards away I said "would you agree that my GPS shows us standing about that same 100 yards away from the public/private border?Ē. He relaxed his stern look and agreed. Had it not been for my GPS based BLM map Iím sure a pretty ugly debate would have ensued.

Now I never look over my shoulder, wondering if I am about to be challenged by an irate landowner for inadvertently trespassing on private land. But beyond that advantage, the GPS based BLM maps with landowner status on them also provide a big advantage in hunt planning when combined with the use of Google Earth.

Google Earth is free downloadable software that provides an aerial view along with elevation data. You can manipulate it to display 3D topographic views and then rotate the view. You can also adjust the perspective of the view from total birdís eye view to one where you are looking at the 3D view from a lower angle Ė into the hillside or down a draw. If the draw runs diagonally across the screen, by rotating the view you can be looking right down the draw Ė in 3D.

Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

There is a measuring tool that I use often in planning to determine the distance across and down the draws. A favorite setup for me on a first-light morning hunt would be at the top of a hill or mountain looking down and across a draw. With Google Earth, it is easy to see how long shots would be. If the distance on Google Earth is a mile or more with no cover available for a stalk, maybe that draw isnít a spot I want to hike to at first light.

Google Earth And GPS Based BLM Maps For Hunt Planning

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