Electronic Scouting... try it - you will like it
The Cessna banked slowly over the farm land and swamps on lower South Carolina.
My brother was at the controls and it was the late 1970's... in my hand was a Canon 35mm camera and I was snapping away!
A week later, I had my prize in my hands... numerous aerial photographs of the hunting club.
I shared the photos with the members of the club and they were astonished - some remarked that they had hunted there 20 years and had no idea that the club looked like that!
This was an early attempt to gain information - that we can easily access now for free!
We have tons of technology today - why not take advantage of it?
Here are two sites that I use a lot, but there are numerous others that can be utilized:
I like the Acme site in particular because you can quickly toggle between the street, aerial, topo, terrain, etc... that is a great feature when you are looking for elevation changes, creek beds, hills, etc.
This type of "electronic pre-scouting" can prove invaluable if you are going on a hunt to a new area, scouting out a new hunt club or lease - or if you just want to get a better handle on the property you are already hunting.
Look for funnels, pinch points, agriculture fields, fencerows, creeks, cover edges - you name it... some of the imagery is so detailed, you can pick out individual trees!
You can calculate distance between points, save waypoints, get an idea of the acreage of fields, wood lots and even figure out the best route to a particular place on the map, ie: which road to park on to shorten the distance to a particular location on the map.
Armed with this information and a GPS, the sky is literally the limit! In fact, some of the new phones of today now have GPS capability - you may not even need a handheld GPS.
Try this technology out and see if it does not help you get an advanced idea of the lay of the land for a new property or hunting area - or just gain insight to land you already have access to.
I am going to Illinois for the first time ever this fall - I have attached an image of one of the areas that I will be hunting. Before I went there scouting in May, I entered all of the property boundaries (corners) in my GPS - when I got there, these were very helpful to let me know where I was on the property.
Note also that you can easily define the creek boundaries, small feeder creek on the north side, agricultural fields, etc.
One note - not every area looks the same when you get "boots on the ground"... some of the areas I scouted were exactly what I expected and some were not.. in the case of this map, it was not - the creek is very deep, with steep edges and very hard to cross - I point that out only to tell you that there is no substitute for first hand experience on the property!
Try it - you will like it!