Using a Topographical Map While Hunting

When hand-held GPS (global positioning system) devices hit the market, some hunters literally dropped their topographical maps and compasses into trash cans.

Topographical Maps are Usually Color-Coded: Green for Land, Blue for Water, Brown for Landforms, etc.

If you have decided to follow their lead, perhaps you should read further!

Topographical Maps

These unique maps are helpful to folks who travel cross-country not using roads — such as hunters!

Many of these maps are available from the US Geological Survey (1-800-USA-MAPS).

Note in the photo above, the contour lines show elevation.  The map will tell you how much elevation each line is indicating (such as, 40 feet of elevation between lines).

Contour lines do not cross.  As the mapped area gets steeper, the contour lines get closer together.  Thus, if you are hunting, you may want to avoid a very steep area.

Hunters Using Topographical Maps

When hunters use their animal knowledge coupled with their topographical maps, they are dramatically increasing their chances of a successful hunt.

If you are hunting elk, you know that they prefer to inhabit a high bench on a north slope — away from trails and traffic.

Looking on your topographical map, you would seek areas with widely spaced contour lines (gentle slopes) with high elevations.

If you find blue lines threading through the area (water, stream, etc.), this is even better!  You know that elk like water.

The beauty of one of these maps is that it shows the entire area, generally further than your eye can see.  The map and a compass are particularly useful during foggy conditions or where the terrain is difficult.

If you are searching for whitetail in a forested area, the map will show man-made trails that may help you get to the area under question.  The map will tell you were the higher and lower elevations of the forest are.

The more info you know — going into a hunting situation — the better the hunting session.  Remember, your prey knows all the nooks and crannies of the land.

Since he already knows — it is your business to find out — so you can  anticipate your prey.


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 12:50 am  Comments Off on Using a Topographical Map While Hunting  
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