You’re scouting already ... right? If you’re not, I don’t even want to hear about it. If you are, congrats! You’re well on your way to a successful season, and if you want to make your scouting even more valuable, consider adding an important battery-operated gadget to your gear.
The device I’m referring to is your GPS. Many of you have GPS units, but you may only be using them to keep from getting lost during the hunting season. The rest of the time it sits right next to your handheld radios and your hunting camera waiting for the season to roll. Consider using your GPS for scouting.
GPS units can benefit and boost your scouting efficiency in several ways. Use these tips and you may find that your GPS will not only keep you from getting lost this coming fall, but it might just help you pinpoint a buck or bull in the process.
1. Note where you’re seeing game. You can mark locations where you’ve consistently been seeing big game feeding, watering and bedding. Animals follow patterns and will often return to these comfort zones.
2. Mark stand or ambush locations. Certain funnels, pinch points, edges and travel corridors stand out from other terrain. Keep a careful note of these locations, even specific trees for treestands, and you’ll be able to move quickly and easily to new sites if hotspots fizzle.
3. Track a route for the shortest and least obtrusive access route to your hunting site. Whether you take a front door, a backdoor or a cliff-hanging route to your hunting location, track it on your GPS so you can find it again and again, daylight or dark.
4. Mark camping locations for remote camps or backpacking ventures. Some areas offer better campsites including those near trailheads, water and in flat locales. Keep track of them with GPS waypoints.
5. Access locations to pack out game. Once you find success you still have to get the animal to your vehicle. Whether you note an old ATV trail or a trail leading to a highway 2,000 feet below, mark it for game extraction.
6. Keep track of adjoining landowner boundaries including public. This one is important to prevent from trespassing, but also to take advantage of the “grass-is-greener” effect. Game often stays on boundaries, but cross from time to time. Catch them when they are on your side of the fence.
The best program I’ve found for my Garmin Oregon GPS is from Hunting GPS Maps. Whether you download or purchase an SD card, you’ll have all the information for boundaries and landowner status to keep you in the hunt and out of trouble.
That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure there are some creative Hunting Club members with even more scouting uses for their GPS units. Let’s hear from you.