When you hit the field this fall it’s more important than ever to know your location, and that’s not always easy. Sure, some lands may be fenced, surveyed and marked with easy-to-read signage, but most are not. Cranky landowners and litigious attorneys create an environment that could be costly to your bank account if you accidentally trespass. Even if you don’t trespass, you don’t want to get lost. And what about your hunch that a parcel of public land might be larger than you first believed?
Here’s my strategy for staying on the proper side of the fence and trekking farther into new territories without trespassing. First, outfit yourself with a paper map of the region you plan on hunting. You can purchase maps from the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, or your state, county and even private distributors that specialize in maps for hunting and off-road recreation. DeLorme is a prime example of a company specializing in gazetteer maps for most states.
I’ll be honest: I rely on a GPS more than I should, but I do so because mine is loaded with a great program from Hunting GPS Maps. This innovative resource includes land ownership—specifically public ownership information—for most states and, in many cases, has the names of the people holding the deed listed right on the screen. I can use my GPS to not only guide me to a boundary, but I can also find who owns the land for future phone calls to secure hunting permission.
And I always carry a compass. Maps might tear, GPS batteries can die, but a compass should always point you in the right direction.
My strategy is three-pronged: a map, a GPS and a compass. Combined together, the trio keeps me on good hunting ground and in the good graces of landowners.
OK, back to my writing to see if I can navigate through the English language.