4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/26/2012
Posts: 4
Studying topo maps?

I'm wondering what features are best to look for in topo maps, specifically for mulies...

I imagine that habitat particulars will vary by region, however, I'm just trying to get a general idea of where to start looking. For instance, if one is looking to hunt a wilderness area, it seems as if an area that is off trail a bit with some flat areas, maybe a seasonal spring, would suffice? 

But, how far off a trail does one look? I realize these are relative questions and highly dependent on an area/region, however, any main features to look for would be great.

I looked at the "GMU maps" however, I am more impressed with the Trails Illustrated maps. Any map preferences out there?

My planning is for a wilderness hunt.

Thanks for the help!

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
What season?

I guess it would depend on the season, but I generally avoid wilderness deer hunting.

Here's a couple of ideas for remote scouting:




I really like the Trails Illustrated Maps, those GMU maps kinda suck

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
You'll have no idea by just

You'll have no idea by just looking at a map as far a where to find mule deer.  For one thing you have no idea if a hillside is covered in trees or is rock bare.  Where the map shows water is dry as can be for most of the year.  The map is just a aide once you get there and put some miles on the old boots to see just what is really going on. 

Joined: 01/26/2012
Posts: 4
Exbio, thanks for the links.

Exbio, thanks for the links. Current planning is for archery season.

Critter, good points. I scouted a day last weekend, and had my map handy. Headed off the trail a tad (some snow), but I suppose just getting out and looking will help to piece things together eventually.

SGM's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 1147
Maps area a great tool but

Maps area a great tool but nothing replaces getting out and walking the area. Look for the basic info such as water, food, aspen groves and dark timber and start in that area. Taking your map with you is good as you can write notes on it to where you saw an unmarked spring, saw animals, a really nasty pile of downed trees etc. As for how far off the trail to go, well there is no simple straight answer. We all have seen tracks right on the trails so maybe the answer is 5 feet or 3 miles. Go as far as you feel comfortable and remember you are the one packing the critter out if you get one. Have you checked out the maps from the DOW on line? These are pretty good and are topo, aerial and streets. I have also found BLM maps to be good and reliable. Good luck.

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