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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

Hello all,
I had an epiphany this past gun season when I talked to a guy who pulled up with a monster buck in the back of his truck. I was showing everybody the biggest deer that I had ever killed at that time and it looked like a baby compared to this huge, old buck. I asked him where he got it and he said the local state forest. I was blown away by that! I mentioned that it sounded strange to me that he would kill such a large deer in a national forest where everybody and their brother hunts every year. He then stated that hunters are too lazy to go to the place where he shot that deer. He said he even saw one that was bigger than that the same day.

Therein came my epiphany. I always hunt in areas that are full of 4 wheeler trails and deer don't live to be too old in these well traveled areas. The national forests don't allow four wheeler traffic and most of it is just miles of land that is open only to foot traffic.

That being said, I want to hike way back into the places where most men are too lazy to go and hunt to find the really big bucks! Yes But I really don't know how to do it. I know there are many maps available on the internet but I don't know where to start.

Here is my main question.....Which maps, tools etc. do I need to find the most remote places (away from roads, houses, trails) in national/state forests (George Washington national and kanawha state forest) and where do I find this information? Also, is there a book published that deals with this topic in a step by step manner?

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Moderator
Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

Welcome to BGH.
If you know how to use Google Maps and Satellite Imagery you can start there. There are a so many govenment topo maps etc available free on the Internet.
First though, The State and County you wish to hunt in would be of great assistance as some local goverments may also provide good info free, as it is cheaper in the long run than the overwelming cost of a long search
Then we can point you in the right direction,(hopefully) Think Think Think

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

I've seen some pics of the bucks that come out of George Washington NF....
I guess your in Va? I think one of our members (I havent seen him in awhile) is near the Roanoke area.

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

I currently live in Charlottesville, Va which is adjacent to the George Washington National forest and shenadoah national forest. I also have a lifetime license in WV and grew up near the kanawha state forest, which is where the guy i spoke about killed the big buck.

I would like to see some of those pics of deer from George washington NF.

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Moderator
Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

Here's a link I found that may be of interest to you. Although not free, there are several options available for your consideration.

http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/virginia.shtml

MJ
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Location: Goose Creek, SC
Joined: 04/05/2006
Posts: 23
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

GPS devices are very easy to use and program for whatever purpose you want. Whether to preprogram a prescribed route or to keep track of your route in by automatically recording you position every 30 seconds or so. An indespensable tool when going deep into the woods in search of that elusive monster.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 357
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

All you need is some good topo maps and a GPS, extra batteries and a back-up compass. I started hunting the same way that gentlmen hunts and he is right.....big bucks are not usually wondering around areas everyone else is hunting....why would they hang out in those areas when they can drop back,.....way back and never see a human? I use a GPS and topo maps and take notes and mark waypoints......Probably the first thing you should do once you get some maps is sit down and find out where you want to go and why you want to go there......then start scouting your way back and take notes and mark points on your GPS and see what you can find! I get my custom topo maps from mytopo.com or topozone.com.....you can get free ones on the internet but I pay for nice large ones that are waterproof etc. Good luck!!! Thumbs up

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Location: MA
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 31
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

Here are a couple of things that I do that help me that may help you as well.

Because I fish and hunt so much I have become so attached to a GPS. Woods or water I never leave home without it. The one thing to remember is don't make it your primary source of navigation because if you loose it in the woods and you don't know how to use a compass and topo map well..you might as well cary a tent with you in case you have to spend the night.

I hunt in the deeps woods of Maine every year and I like others like to get away from the crowds. That's one of the reasons I hunt where I do. Before the season starts I am studying topo maps and satelite imagery of the area I'm hunting to help in the scouting process. I don't have the luxury of pre-scouting so I try to do as much as I can before I start the year.

I use a product called Delorme Topo USA. It's an awesome product. This is another tool for you. This allows you to study the area in different views such as 3D. The other nice feature is you can transfer tracks and waypoints from one to another. Many times I have found areas in the woods that I wanted to mark so that I could return to the spot but also it allows me to transfer the point to my laptop so when I get back to camp at night I can study the surrounding area and also see where that wayoint is located in relation to some of the other points or tracks I have already marked.

After years of hunting the same area and transferring information from laptop to GPS and vice versa your able to analyze your information and try to piece together the puzzle. It's pretty neat to look back over the years and realize how much you were able to figure the area out.

Between satelite imagery, topo maps and PC software you should be able to find the remote areas you want to hunt.

Hope this helps.

Joe

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 357
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

That software defintiely seems like a great tool I'm going to have to look into that! Thanks for the info! Thumbs up

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

goto the natl forest ranger station of the particvluar forest you are wondering about. Or even call them. buy a map of that natl forest. The map will show where the roads and trails are. you than can go and buy the topos or use delorme to look at the details of the area. What you are asking is not rocket science but you do need to know how to read a map. Most hunters don't go more than a half mile from the road or trail. good luck.

tim

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
How to use maps, gps, etc. to find remote hunting lands

Do topo maps record distance "as a crow flies". If so, then 1 mile on a map rarely ever a mile. It would seem that in highly mountainous regions that a mile on the map could be as much as two miles if there are a lot of elevation changes. Is that right?

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