GPS for Hunting???


July 18, 2007, 12:16 PM
Hello all top of the morning to you. The reason for this thread is to get some feedback from more experienced people with GPS's. I am looking into purchasing a unit but to be honest there are so many I really don't even know where to be begin. There are simply to many choice's and it's some what confusing. I will be using this unit mainly for hunting with a few family hikes mixed in as well. I don't need a unit that will drive my truck for me, just one that is functional and fairly easy to use. This will be my first GPS so there will be a learning curve to overcome. Do all units except all topo programs or does each unit have its own programs for purchase. I would like to buy one topo program that would work for multiple units in case I expand my GPS collection in the future. So any info and advice that you could give to me would most appreciated. Good day to you all.

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July 18, 2007, 12:32 PM
But I am very interested in this topic myself


July 18, 2007, 12:33 PM
You are correct, there are quite a few GPS units out there to choose from.

For me, I chose the Garmin Rino series. It has internal memory for map storage, radio in case you need to call for help and the ability to locate other Rino users when you make contact with them.

I hunt in Southern Arizona where it is very easy to get turned around in the vast desert that looks the same. The other 2 guys I hunt with also have a Rino and it helps keep us in contact without losing one another.

Some states don't allow you to use communication devices during hunting so check your state's laws.

As for topo maps, there are several cd rom versions out there for purchase. Just about all of them work for any GPS.

Good luck on your search. Set a baseline on what you want to spend and go from there.

July 18, 2007, 12:54 PM
I use just a basic GPS unit. I do not wish to rely on batteries so I still carry a compass and a topo map of the area I am in. I use the GPS only to mark/confirm where camp is and to tell where I am when out in the field. Other than needing a grid point, it stays off and in my pack.

July 18, 2007, 01:06 PM
I had a basic eTrex, and I liked it.

I replaced it recently with an eTrex Vista Cx, mainly because it has color topo maps. This lets me take a topo map into the field with me, in my pocket.

I now have any scouting I've done marked precisely on topos, along with trails to get there.

A wonderful tool.

July 18, 2007, 01:43 PM
I have a new model Magellan 600 I hunt in south arizona also but we use the walkie talkies. Delorme has a really awesome new GPS coming out does satellite pictures TOO!! and much much more.

Get one with color its definetly worth it.

July 18, 2007, 01:48 PM
Now I don't scratch my head and wonder where exactly we DID find those quail...:D

Next on the list might be one that will locate my dog. They have that now, too. All it takes is an endless supply of disposable income.:p

July 18, 2007, 06:07 PM
I also have a Garmin eTrex Vista, and my buddy does, too. We used them this weekend. Didn't help us find any deer, but did keep me from getting lost.

Don't assume that you can use any topo product with any GPS. Garmins will only use Garmin products and they are only provide high resolution (24k:1) for National Parks. However, the lower resolution (100K:1), in conjunction with an actual paper topo map, is fine for my needs. The basemap that comes with the GPS isn't even a topo - just cities and major roads. However, I know that you can use the eTrex Vista as a car GPS (audible signals to turn in order to follow a specified route) by buying a Garmin topo cd - since my buddy was doing that this weekend. Not as nice as a dedicated car GPS (which have a bigger screen, bigger buttons, actual voice prompts), but not as expensive either, and still handy. Even with no map, the GPS will still accomplish the basic operations of tracking your route from a starting point and allowing you to follow that route almost exactly back, allowing you to mark waypoints and tell you their coordinates and which way they are, etc.

I decided in the eTrex because REI had them on sale a few weeks ago for 25% off - basically the best price I could find. Wait for a sale at REI or Cabela's if you can.

July 19, 2007, 12:22 AM
Yeah...The Garmin Meridian Gold sold at Wal-Mart and lots of stores and is a keeper. Carry spare batteries in the woods, especially if you buy a color display GPS. Talk about lost and found! They track to about 6 feet of the same spot if you're good. The leaves on the trees can mess with the signal, so dense, heavy forest is another topic.

July 19, 2007, 12:27 AM
+1 for Garmin Vista (its the silver one). They have great mapping capabilities and you can get it in a color screen. I love mine and decided to get a Garmin 60CS. It too has a color screen but sucks AA batteries in eight hours. I would stick with the Vista as its what I take when I go hiking :D

July 21, 2007, 12:29 PM
Here's a link with good info on GPS units, it may be somewhat outdated. I actually came across this URL awhile back here on THR.

July 21, 2007, 03:48 PM
I have had a Garman e-trex legend for a few years. I LOVE the thing while hunting. It is sort of low end for that but I find it more than adequate. Batteries last nearly forever and it tells you when they are getting low. It is very small and lightweight and easy to carry. MOST useful tool for the woods I have found other than a 4-wheeler for fetching game (such as deer) home. (Being old, fat and lazy, I have built a very small 'crane' for use on the back rack using a boat winch to load them up with. SURE saves the old back!)

July 23, 2007, 08:56 AM
The most important factor in my mind is not to over-buy. There are a lot of features on high end GPS that most of us would never use (even if we knew how). Think about what your requirements are; do you need a detailed map, do you need a built in radio (great feature but to be of real value you need two or more), or is just knowing your exact location, where you've been, and the ability to mark points of interest sufficient. Generally speaking the more features you get, the harder your gps will be to use. I prefer less complexity and use a very basic model Garmin. I like Garmin over Magellan and others for useability reasons, I'm sure others disagree. I refer to my GPS when I'm hunting on a regular basis, but I really have it with me so I can get home if I'm lost, or tell somebody where I am if I get hurt. Under both of those scenarios I want tool that is easy to use.

July 23, 2007, 08:39 PM
I see a lot of Garmin eTrexs are owned by THR members (incl. myself). It's OK at best and very inexpensive but it only good if you go to the spot first and record the waypoint so you can get back to that spot. It's OK for making a 'trail' on the way in so you can get out.
I fly with a very large but portable Lowrance color 2000c and it's wonderful except it eats batteries (so I plug it in to the cig. lighter) and certainly not portable enough for hiking/hunting.
I am facinated by Bushnell's new GPS. You can download and overlay aerials on top of your mapping!! Once you see this you'll never wnat to go back to regular mapping again. It's like looking at a photo taken from up in the sky. No - It IS looking at a photo! They have two models out, the Onix 200 B&W and the Onix 400 color w/ XM satellite radio capability which can give your instant weather. A B&W for around $350 (list) $180+/- street and a new color for about $500 (list) - still too new for any great discounts. The black & white is real good but I'l bet that the color is great.

July 23, 2007, 10:38 PM
or try to anyhow.

I used the Garmin ETrex. I mark where I leave the truck and go from there. You have the option to leave a 'bread crumb trail' and walk back in that direction. I've used it in a blizzard while on my ATV and I got back to camp - just in time to change my underwear :what:

There are no frills to this - but it works just fine. I will upgrade someday, but for now, it's there to mark watering holes, places where I stash my tree stands and stuff, where I've seen elk and deer, bedding areas, etc...

I think you can pick them up new for around 80-90.

The Rhino's would be nice - but since most of these hand held radios are line of site only - they are worthless to talk with each other. I guess they would be okay to find the other person - but what if that person is moving - how do you communicate?

Steve in PA
July 24, 2007, 12:24 AM
For hunting, one of the basic GPS units is right up your alley. I recommend garmin, as they wrote the book on GPS.

I started with the basic Etrex Legend (blue) and I still have it. However, I moved on up to the GPS60CSx unit and love it. It costs more and has more features, but I use it for hunting, geocaching and driving.

July 26, 2007, 11:05 PM
GPS is an awesome tool for finding you're way around the woods. Just remember to use it to supplement, not replace a map and compass. I have done plenty of extended hikes in back country areas and it will frequently loose the signal in dense vegetation.

July 26, 2007, 11:53 PM
I've had a Magellan SporTrak Map for a few years now. All I really use it for is marking my car or trailhead when I wander off the beaten path. It saves my a#% about twice a year when I get lost in the grouse coverts of Northern Minnesota.

Previous post said to be careful not to pay for things you won't use. I would second that. Mine is several years old, and I haven't used half of its capabilities. The packaging on mine came with a disclaimer: It only works up to 951 mph, and it only works up to 30,000 ft. above sea level. So I can't use it as a speedometer in my F-18. In a car it actually does work as a speedometer.

August 4, 2007, 12:00 PM
Since I have the gene that won't let me admit that I tend to get lost but frequently return to camp sometime between sunset and breakfast... I finally broke down and purchased a GPS. I have been using the Rino 130 and have found the extra features to be of value.

The weather radio is great at letting me know if I need to put the rainfly on my tent.

I like the polling feature. It makes it easier to keep tabs on your hunting partner without needing to use the radio.

The radio is better and has more channels than the typical radio shack version that most guys have so I don't have to listen to 14 other conversations... I rarely use the radio while hunting... it detracts from the experience.

When game is down it helps to determine the shortest route back to the rig and if your partners have rinos they can locate you without having to go find them first.

During scouting trips we use it for rangefinding if there is an ambush site we think is good. I've also used it to find property corners and borders which can keep you from hunting land that is off limits or wandering into Canada... :eek:;)

It does a good job of mapping the route. I don't have the Garmin software but I'm able to manually imput the data on other mapping software. I've used it on mountain bike rides and the Trip Odometer read the same as the Cyclometer.

The altimeter feature is nice too for pinpointing your location on a map. It needs to be reset often but I've found it to be helpful and interesting to see how far you've climbed.

Upon returning to camp we review how far we've gone and review with the map. We plan the next day's hunt based on what we've found.

While I still need a map with it, my compass has become a rarely used backup tool.

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