How many LRHs use computer for scouting?

Discussion in 'Maps, GPS and Google Earth' started by GPSmaps, May 17, 2010.

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  1. GPSmaps

    GPSmaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Just curious as to how many people actually use your computer to scout different hunting areas.

    I use my GPS and Google Earth to help me better understand the layout of areas I hunt. First, I use a good old fashioned paper National Forest or BLM map to determine a few good areas of public land that I would like to scout. Then I will look at the roads and trails in the area to determine all the possible access points to that area. I am looking for an area that I think most guys wouldn't be able to get to on a day hunt - maybe it is deep in the mountains of the National Forest, or maybe it is right next to some private land at the base of a mountain. I am just looking for some place that most people wouldn't go (in my experience on public land, these areas of low pressure are where some good numbers of game can be found)

    Then I check out the satellite imagery of the area in Google Earth (GE) to find meadows, water sources, etc. Mark some waypoints of areas I might like to check out. Then I'll layout the path I would like to travel to access the area, either using GE or Garmin's MapSource (MS) with a topo map to help determine the easiest route. Send these tracks and waypoints to my GPS and I hit the hills.

    While I'm out I mark waypoints of rubs, water, good lookouts, etc. Log my track on my GPS. Maybe Geotag some photos of rubs and lookouts (Garmin Oregon 550 can mark a waypoint for each photo you take so you have an image to describe your waypoint rather than WLW2 or Rub13.

    Then I bring that all back to the computer and transfer tracks and waypoints using MapSource. Now I can view where I walked and the waypoints I marked on the topo map in MS. I also view those tracks and waypoints on the 3D satellite imagery in Google Earth.

    This really helps me get a feel for what was over the next ridge or what features might be around the corner. It can also give me insight as to how game are moving through the area. Now I have a really good feel for the geographic layout of the entire area, only having been there once.

    What normally would have taken 10 trips into the area to learn, can now be accomplished in 2, and knowing the terrain in an area can Make or Break a hunt - especially in the mountains

    I've taken archery or rifle elk each of the last 3 years on public land largely due to these scouting methods.

    Anybody use similar methods?
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  2. bigbuck

    bigbuck Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2009
    I use a similar method . But I do not have a hand held GPS YET . I just use google earth from my desk top to get a better ideah of the land contour. I to have noticed that the hardest places for anyone else to go usually produces some good hunting. but I have also used hunter pressure in Colorado becaus I knew that this areah was very popular to other hunters and that every time like clock work they will get pushed out of the lower back of the canyon and you guessed it that's were BigBuck will be setting HEE HEE . I've got one 5x5 Elk and 1 5x5 mulie in this same spot year after year and seen several more game . I really like using the terrain for my advantage.

    Good Thread!

  3. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    I'm not to the point of linking Google earth with my GPS yet but I have used Google earth to find some of my bet honey holes.

    I found a little patch of green in an area that is known for dence timber and boulders the size of your truck but you can glass elk coming in and out of this area, Goolge earth showed a huge springs and clearing in the middle of this crud, but I also spotted tailings piles from and old mine so I know there was a pack trail into the area some where so we went in one day just to look for blaze marks that would have marked the old pack trail and we found it and followed it right in to an unbelievable spot that know one get to and we can get in fast.

    I also print my wife a pic of the area we're hunting and give her Lat and Lon for the truck position.

    Awesome tools.
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I too use GE and ipaq w/gps + Desktop GIS mapping software.

    Hasn't gotten me any game yet but I haven't been lost either.

    It was quite revealing to measure the miles I walked during a specific hunt. I actually walked about 4X the miles I thought I had.:rolleyes:
  5. GPSmaps

    GPSmaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    It's easy to go from MapSource to Google Earth or vice versa. The key is to save as .GPX file. Same for many other programs too.

    There are other ways too.
  6. bcdeford

    bcdeford Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    I use google earth in combination with my EVO phone and a program called backcountry navigator. I first go through with google earth and topo overlays in order to pick out trails, waterholes, and feed areas. Then when I go out on foot to scout I will track all of my routes and refine all of my points on my phone. Once I have the refined points I can upload that back to google earth along with any photos or notes I had for the area. Nothing beats actually getting out there and seeing first hand but I cut way down on miles this way.
  7. Diamondback

    Diamondback Active Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    I use it all the time. Free and accurate to match a followup physical recon of the area. Just because it looks good on the map does not mean it is from the ground level. It is a tool and a way to build custom maps and waypoints to major terrain features / grid locations / lat / long to match ground recon. A map recon allows you to see the larger terrain environment for water resources / habitat / elevations / blocking terrain features and setting them up to use these to your advantage to follow up with later ground recons to proof it.

    You can right click and copy on google maps and paste them in on MSPAINT to make custom maps and annotate waypoints on terrain features, add a scale legend, etc to print out or take you or save and print at Walmart and blow the image up in size to have a nice custom inexpensive desk/wall map of areas in different view formats from satellite, terrain, topo of your hunting area. It also shows elevations for precise crosshair elevation readings on terrain features or whatnot you want to move them on to make terrain associations for your gps when you are on the ground recon and want a ballpark reading to that feature to see where you want to set in at or use the terrain to your advantage.

    Ice Lake Basin Topo Map

    topo map with crosshairs for gps co-ordinates and measuring distance

    example crosshairs on Clear Lake :
    Center: UTM Zone 13 254766E 4190220N (Clear Lake)
    Elevation at center: 11,975 feet (3,650 meters)
    Projection: NAD83/WGS84

    Copy and past the UTM data for a waypoint for Clear Lake or assign it a number
    on the map and at the bottom of the map you are building with MSPAINT annotate the data for the landmark / feature in a legend off the map. Yellow numbers usually work best over a green background.

    It takes very little time on constructing a base template map and then annotating the template how you wish for your own custom larger map for hunting / pack hunting / wall display / desktop large study overview planning routes / set in points / after proofing with ground recons.

    It is pretty nice to have tools online to manipulate to your advantage on planning future hunts / pack hunting trips, etc.
  8. extreme

    extreme Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2010
    I have used my garmin gps for years ..wont go hunting without it.