Handheld GPS for Deer Season?


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Olympus
October 27, 2013, 06:16 PM
I'm thinking I should look into investing in a average cost handheld GPS for deer season. I never needed one before because our group hunted on the same piece of private property for 25 years and we all knew the terrain and where everyone else hunted. Last year we lost the ability to use the land through a sale to a new owner who had their own friends and family that wanted to hunt our ground. So we were forced to hunt on public ground in some national forest area. Last year was our first time and we really had no idea where to go. Our group is really the only people remotely close so we haven't had to worry about other hunters. The problem is that I don't know the terrain. I don't know where everyone else is hunting. And I'd like to be able to scout a little and mark some points for possible stands as well as spots that our other hunters use as their own so I know where to stay away from.

I'm thinking that a handheld GPS would be the best thing. I have a Samsung Note 2 smartphone, but I don't get service where we hunt so I'm thinking it's pointless to try to find some kind of GPS app for the phone. And I need maps that aren't used for street navigation. I'd really like to stay below $300, but I need something that is easy to use and user friendly. Touch screen would be a bonus. I'm also not above purchasing used from eBay or somewhere else. On my radar currently is the Garmin Dakota 20 and the Oregon 450, but I really have no idea if either choice is what I should get. I've tried reading reviews on each and Googling for reviews, but it seems everything I read on other forums is related to "geocaching" and hiking. Nothing in reference to use in a hunting environment. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

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jmr40
October 27, 2013, 07:26 PM
Have the Oregon 450. I like it a lot. I tried to get by with one of the cheaper E-trex models for a few years but it just didn't work for hunting. Using the phone isn't bad, and in some situations works even better but the biggest disadvantage is battery drain. You'll run a phone dead fairly quick and unless you have a solar charger are out of luck. My GPS will go thorugh cheap batteries pretty fast too, but I can always carry spares and change them.

The phone units are not extremely accurate either. I volunteer with a local Search and Rescue team and it is not uncommon for the guys trying to use their phones to be off 200-300 feet compared to the real GPS units. For some stuff that is close enough, but not for what we need.

avs11054
October 27, 2013, 09:23 PM
I second the Oregon Garmin models. And you can buy the map packs that are amazing. The models are a little pricey, especially if you buy the map pack, but they are well worth the price. The map that I had showed a water hole that was not on google maps. marked it as a way point and hiked 1.5 miles in pitch black, and it took me right to the water hold.

newfalguy101
October 27, 2013, 09:32 PM
In reality, geocaching and hiking is pretty much the same as a "hunting" environment, in either case, you are using the GPS as a guide.

Captcurt
October 28, 2013, 09:20 AM
A GPS always goes to woods with me. Not so much for guidance but for plotting deer movement. I once found a line of scrapes on some property that I wasn't familiar with. By putting each as a waypoint I was able to plot them on a topology printed off of Maptech. Two trails led to a saddle on the end of the ridge. Opening day of blackpowder season I had 4 bucks come thru the saddle and shot a big 8 pt while he stood in a scrape. And this is just one instance. They are handy for marking downed game too. I shot a 7 pt in the middle of nowhere and used my GPS to guide me back to retrieve it on my ATV.

Patocazador
October 28, 2013, 10:49 AM
A GPS is a fantastic tool. I have an older Garmin that has one problem, it only holds 1000 waypoints. Mine are full and I have to delete one in order to save another.

Olympus
October 28, 2013, 11:07 AM
I've been reading that the newer GPS apps don't run on cell towers so they will still work when my phone has no service. I'm wondering if I should spend $5-$10 on a GPS app for my phone instead of $200ish for a handheld.

brainwake
October 28, 2013, 11:13 AM
I gotta say it....an iPhone is a really good GPS tool. It has the photo, video, and sharing ability and can tie the photos to the maps. Yes it does drain the battery more, so if you going on a multi-day trip you would need a charging source....but for just a GPS for the day...it's a really good tool.

I use the app called Topo maps. It's not real fancy, but it allows you to download the topographical maps in high def...and shows you where you're at on it....you can add waypoints and all of that. It doesn't track your paths quite like the way I want...but it is great for knowing exactly where your at on the map. Oh and it does not need cell service to work.

gonefishin1
October 28, 2013, 12:07 PM
i use the app my tracks on my galaxy s4. it works good for a free app. you can overlay your tracks to google earth. the only problem is sometimes it will tell me the trail is 30 ft from where it really is. it works without cell signal too.

Olympus
October 28, 2013, 12:45 PM
The apps that seem to get the best reviews are Backcountry Navigator and Trimble Hunt.

Olympus
October 28, 2013, 04:12 PM
I downloaded the Backcountry Navigator app and did some preliminary scouting based on the topo maps and aerial imagery. The woods are thick so I'll have to do some better scouting in person, but my experience is that deer seem to travel up and down those shallow saddles from the low area by the dry creek bed up towards the road.

Any other recommendations on potential stand spots would be appreciated. 190551190552

brainwake
October 28, 2013, 04:19 PM
look for those rubs and trails....then find a view about 30 or 40 yards off and mind the wind. I tend to set up on the north side looking south...but that is because the wind is normally from the south in OK. But it always helps to have alternatives. So I always have a north wind spot in mind too.

Patocazador
October 28, 2013, 04:44 PM
That flat by the creek south of stand 3 looks like the place I'd try first. Any agriculture around there?

Olympus
October 28, 2013, 05:26 PM
That flat by the creek south of stand 3 looks like the place I'd try first. Any agriculture around there?

I thought any that too. I was trying to position at the end of those fingers so I could see the flat creek bottom and also up the saddle. There is no agriculture in the area. It's hilly and not suitable for farming.

Here is a larger aerial.
190556

LemmyCaution
October 28, 2013, 08:33 PM
I use Motion-X GPS on my iPhone. One can download a few types of maps to the device, after which one does not need cell service for the GPS to work. Referencing against the boundary pins of my property, the GPS guided me to within 3 meters of the pin when plotted as a way point, so I'm comfortable with the accuracy, which is on a par with military GPS. The app uses something called 'accelerometrics assisted GPS' to improve on the 10 meter accuracy of civilian GPS.

Lennyjoe
October 28, 2013, 08:43 PM
I normally use a Garmin Rino when out hunting. It's nice to have the radio just in case. Be cautious though, using a radio with other hunters may get you in trouble. Some states allow it, others don't so check your state laws before venturing down that path.

I just picked up a Casio Commando 4gLTE Verizon phone that has some good apps on it and am going to give that a try this year.

Keb
October 28, 2013, 08:59 PM
There is an article called "GPS you always carry" on Chuck Hawks website.

Right now the Play Store has one paid app $10 called GAIAGPS, the Google Maps, and one I like called "Custom Maps" ( 1&2 work iphone)

The first lets you pre download maps for offline, especially Topos.

Google maps has an option to store maps offline, either Satellite , road, or contour. Free

Custom Maps is free and it can use any scanned map or a PHOTO of a map.

I store the Colorado and Utah BLM's near me, and Moab-Canyonlands. San Raphael Swell too.

I have found some Utah ATV maps in jpeg format. And I photographed the Colorado Game Units map then geo-indexed it. You load Google maps underneath in a transparent view...one map under the other, then select some common points before you go out. These become permanent, and the Custom Map is geo-indexed.


Lastly, for a small fee, Maverick Pro is neat. You load the app, select the map type or source ( Bing Sat usually for me ) then trace a route in a zoom level you want. Then it is automatically saved for offline. But the GPS when turned on, shows where you are for all of these. Most will create cookie-crumb trails. Or allow waypoints.

Storm27m
October 31, 2013, 11:23 AM
Another vote for Backcountry Navigator or Trimble GPS Hunt. I currently use Trimble because they use Bing aerials which are better than the aerials that Backcountry uses (in my area anyways).

splattergun
October 31, 2013, 08:58 PM
GPS is a great tool, but you should also consider some satellite earth views of the neighborhood and also USGS maps to study before you go.

my tuppence

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