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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

Hi,
I want to get off the beaten path and hunt the big boys this year. I live adjacent to the George washington national forest and it is huge and mostly unaccessible to vehicles. So I want to hike fairly deep into a place that has limited accessibility but I don't want to just go into it blindly.

My question is once I find a couple of isolated areas, is there anything I can see on a topo map that would tell me which one would be a better deer spot? Any elevation that is better than others?

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Joined: 01/13/2004
Posts: 39
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

What I've seen in that type of terrain is that deer will funnel around the ends of long steep ridges or through a saddle away from the end. A confluence of ridges would be another funnel. They also seemed to funnel around the swampy low areas you get at the higher elevations.

That stuff is kinda true everywhere, actually.

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Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 635
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

Have you been in the area before? If not, get as much data as you possibly can. I use topozone and google hybrid maps. Keep in mind, they are outdated. I've gone to fish ponds that existed seven years ago, but today are converting into a field. (Ending cycle of a beaver pond). As urbaneruralite stated, look for "funnels". By using the google map and topo map together, you can identify swamps and clear cuts easy enough. Swamps on the satellite appear to look like a cut out in the forest filled with bushes. (Not too descriptive, but you'll be able to indentify them). These swampy areas will be a great place to start your search. Pinpoint the swamp on your topo, and look for gradual terrain (or funnels) that will allow a relative ease for travel. This terrain will probably be wet and thick with brush. You may find that this terrain leads you into areas with oaks or beech trees on it's edges (or someother food source). This would defininetly be a good place to scout and set up. I have also noticed that any real steep hillside that drops into or very near to a swamp's edge is a good place to look. I have found alot of runs this way, and have observed deer using these to get out fast if they are startled. Hope this helps in some way.

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

When you say funnels you mean just places where they have easy access through the rough terrain, correct? What is so attractive about a swamp to a deer? How is this a funnel?

Also, can anybody explain this statement by urbaneruralite:

"What I've seen in that type of terrain is that deer will funnel around the ends of long steep ridges or through a saddle away from the end. A confluence of ridges would be another funnel." I'm sure it is a good explanation but I'm having trouble picturing the types of places he's describing. Thanks!

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Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 635
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

I've used the term funnel, corridor, moderate route. The term is used not to describe an actual "funnel" through the brush as you would see it in the 3D plain, but rather the terrain movement as you would see it looking down on a map. ( I'm not sure where the rest of the world got the term, but it is a term I had adopted in the military. By creating or looking for obstacles, steep terrain, and waterbodies, you could get an idea of where your enemy (prey in the hunting sense) would most likely "FUNNEL" through the land. Thus enabling you to make an educated guess as to where to set an ambush. ) By studying the topo map, you will see small flat stretches (like miniature valleys sort of speak) that pass between hillsides. This 'moderate' incline or decline in land is what is called a funnel. It is terrain that is "most likely" to be traveled, as it would naturally funnel it's traveler from one point to the next. Is this always the case? No.

Swamps allow for thick cover to move around in, and are visited less by outsiders. This probably gives a sense of security. You might notice that a long swamp may move through several acres that offer good food sources along it's edges. I would consider that prime, as an animal could move under the cover of the swamp to these natural food sources, and disappear back into the swamp if it senses danger.

I hope this helped a little.

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Joined: 01/13/2004
Posts: 39
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

A funnel is a topographic feature that constricts paths to "funnel" deer through a small area. Think of a road along a long ridge that has a dip in it. You are at constant elevation then it drops and goes back up, all the while running down the spine of the ridge. That spot is easier to cross than the higher points on the ridge. Similarly, the end of the ridge will be easier to cross; its like half a dip or saddle.

If deer are moving length-wise on the ridge on the side hills, it is easier to move from one ridge to the other where the ridges and thus the side hills converge rather than leaving one ridge, going through the bottom and climbing back up to the original elevation.

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

got it. thanks!

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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Joined: 11/07/2007
Posts: 24
locating a good starting area to hunt by using maps

another important factor to consider with funnels (which may have been mentioned above and I missed it) is cover. Deer won't necessarily take the easiest or quickest route. They will almost always seek the routes that are both convenient and provide plenty of cover.

This may be a little less of an issue (the cover) with the area you are speaking of since the hunting pressure is likely to be low. [/u]

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