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Maps & Compass

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Field Tester, Apr 22, 2014.

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  1. Field Tester

    Field Tester Member

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    Hello All,

    I was curious where some of you acquire your maps when you out into the wilderness. What type of maps do you use? Satellite, Topo, etc...? How about scale? Is there something certain you look for?

    Do most areas have one spot where you can generally find this? Land Management, Ranger Station, the Internet?

    Also, what kind and type of compass do you like to use? Any brand you prefer? Is size important?

    I have no problems using electronics, but I always prefer to have the old trusted and proven compass and map handy. Electronics can so easily break, have their batteries go dead, be hacked, or have natural occurring interferences.
     
  2. Daveboone

    Daveboone Member

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    USGS online, or a good sporting good shop that carries the usgs maps.
    For me, no replacement.
     
  3. Daveboone

    Daveboone Member

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    Sorry, forgot to mention compass...
    for map use, my 40 year old Silva Polaris is fine. If I am just out wandering the woods, I am happy with one of the ball shaped pin on compasses, with a small cased liquid filled in my pocket for backup. On Ebay, there are a lot of very good quality compasses available nowadays.
     
  4. emb

    emb Member

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    USGS maps on line too. Any quality orienteering compass. Mine is a Silva. I also use an older military style compass. Before I go into an unfamiliar area, I'll review sats, etc to get to know the lay of the land and identify possible hunting areas. That does not include the maps on my phone from Cabellas, and my GPS. I also have several map programs that I got from Magellan to use with my GPS. You can never have too many maps.

    When the electronics fail, and they do, nothing beats a simple compass. I had gone into an area using my GPS. At night when I left, I turned on the GPS. Nada. Crashed. Due west for a couple of miles took me back to the trail. Never leave the road without a compass.
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    USGS 7.5 Min Topo maps, 1:24,000 are the standard, even if they are old tech. The National Geographic maps are not bad for a good area map but nothing beats a USGS map for specific area detail.

    The USGS maps are set up to use at least UTM and Lat Long but none of that does you any good if you can't plot or derive points. Check out maptools.com for a complete list of plotting tools. I use UTM as it is the fastest and easiest in the field.

    Also know your declination and projection. If you plot a course on the map know how to transfer the direction, in degrees, to your compass.

    And spend the money for a good compass. Like any other precision instrument you get what you pay for. I have a Brunton, made by Silva at the time, compass that is one degree accurate.

    If you have any other questions feel free to pm me. I used to teach this stuff...
     
  6. Bexar

    Bexar Member

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    How do you locate the North Star and tell time by using the Sun and stars?
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Good advice indeed.
     
  9. another pake

    another pake Member

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    Min ne sota, ya
    I love working with and carrying paper maps. Old school I guess, but IMO nothing beats knowing how to use a topo. Eventually you'll develop an "Awareness" of where you are, not unlike Situational Awareness that we all preach to others when talking about self defense strategies. I happen to use a Siva Ranger, but there are other good compass models. It doesn't matter how good a compass is if you're not at ease using it and nothing helps that like time in the field practicing.

    As for maps, I use several sources. USGS, 7- 1/2 minute series are very good. They can be had on-line and even custom printed for you if you want to create one seamless map from two where the borders overlap. In Canada, Her Majesty, the Queen owns the map rights but they willingly distribute them through on-line, retail and government sites. The Canadian topos are usually 1:50000 with a 1000 meter UTM grid and are very easy to learn to use as far as identifying distance on a route or determining your location, etc. I love using the Canadian topos.

    Over time I have amassed a large quantity of map sheets, but I don't usually take them afield. They are just too big and most are not waterproof. For field work or trips I lay out my intended area of use, then reprint them on ledger sized Tyvek map paper. Then I Mark them up as needed and use them for working copies, preserving the paper originals. When the trip is done I have a pretty good momento started, usually including notes from trip participants such as, "saw the bears here", or "great vista", or you get the idea. Also try to include a picture reprint or two and a list of all the trip participants on this sheet. I keep all of those clipped together and have them hanging in my man cave as artwork. That way I get to relive a lot of great memories whenever I want.
     
  10. der Teufel

    der Teufel Member

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    As a boy scout, we always used the Silva type liquid filled compasses. In the Army, we used a lensatic compass. When I left the Army I bought a lensatic compass at a surplus store, but I've since decided I really like the Silva type better. You can lay them on a map and see through the clear plastic base, the ruler on the edge makes for accurate distance estimates, and they're as rugged as anything.
     
  11. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    i am a fan of the mytopo service. their source is the same USGS maps, but they will print any resolution or size map, on waterproof paper. and if your point of interest is right on the border of two 7.5 min maps, you can center it and just get one map from mytopo.com. costs about $30 for a map shipped. pretty dang spiffy huh?
     
  12. brainwake

    brainwake Member

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    I use an iphone app call TopoMaps....that is just my gadget and it works well. If you can just pull up your gadget and see exactly where you are on your topo map, it just makes life easier.

    I will almost certainly bring a paper USGS maps and a compass as well. I tend to use the paper if I can feel confident about my current location, but I will usually double check on the phone...then shut it off to save battery. I usually either order a map from the local ranger office, or I will print it off of the computer and store in a water proof map holder.
     
  13. Field Tester

    Field Tester Member

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    Robert,

    Thank you very much for your offer, I will most definitely will be taking you up on it. I know how to find Polaris, it's surprising pretty easy even in the light polluted San Diego sky. BTW, how cool was the eclipse/Blood Moon and Mars this past week! Not to mention the meteor shower tonight. I got some excellent pictures through a telescope. It wasn't easy keeping a steady hand and keeping the light in the aperture just right, but the patience was worth it, the pictures came out amazing!

    I've always wanted to learn how to read maps. I'd also love to be able to transfer that information over into hunting. I've also heard the Farmers Almanac is a great source of information for finding deer. But I guess that's for another thread.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Maps: USGS. Compass: Taylor GYDAWL (manu. late 40s to early 50s).
     
  15. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    As a Boy Scout leader, I have taught map and compass for years. To me the best compass is a Silva Ranger. It has a clear base for map use and can also function as a lensatic type.
    I like the idea of printing maps on Tyvek paper, great idea! I have a couple of topo map programs that I use to print USGS topos.
     
  16. Bix

    Bix Member

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    Huge fan of mytopo.com - gives you a ton of options that I haven't seen anywhere else.
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    As a former cartographer I have the set up to do topo maps for pretty much everywhere in the western US at any scale one could desire with just about any data on them.
     
  18. emb

    emb Member

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    The phone apps do work, but I have been places where there is no service at all. By the time I choose a hunting area, I know which map or maps I need. I put one map each in a ziplock. You can fold it to look at the area you're interested in or plan to hunt. They are great aids to determine promising hunting areas and sites.
     
  19. Blue Duck

    Blue Duck Member

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    Silva Ranger compass +1
     
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I'm an old compass-and-pace-count Infantryman (I co-authored the Infantry School's Orienteering Handbook.)

    I use Delorme Topo USA for general coverage, and state-specific 3D TopoQuads. That way, I can print out whatever maps I need. I like to print out adjoining sheets and tape them together, then put them on contact Acetate, usually two sets, back-to-back.

    With Delorme, you can choose the scale of your printouts. The traditional Infantry scale is 1:25,000, but I find for large areas, 1:50,000 is more manageable.

    Nowadays, a good GPS is really all you need, but there are times when a topo map is invaluable. For example, I like to hunt Hardscrabble Mountain in Eagle County, Colorado. I have someone drive me to the top, and hunt down. There are only a few practicable routes down, and the tiny screen on the GPS won't tell you which ones are best -- without a topo map, you can find your self on a slope that you can't negotiate, and without enough time to climb back up before dark.
     
  21. Mr Jjohanson

    Mr Jjohanson Member

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    USGS topo's Im in Oregon, been lost thru the trees...

    besides the Newer and more current (GPS's) technology, TOPOS by USGS
    and also, (my Opinion, some Private, and some USFS, which you get thru the ranger stations) are all very qualifying to use when out in Wildlands.

    there are basically two types of great compasses, these are Prismatic, and Lensatic. a prismatic i believe is the one you lay flat on your map and point
    in the direction, youd think your trail, and party would like to go. ( this one is usually really inexpensive and light, Plastic, and only has 1-2 moving parts-
    $${but always definitely worth the investment,, sure fire insurance, infact it
    is generally considered one of the 14 essentials)

    a Lensatic, is Line Of Sight, but can be laid upon the map, and also used for
    scale, when you hold the wire sight up, in front of you and take your LOS angles, its always critical to remember that if ever bushwacking, youll cross
    tons of Ravines, creeks , logs Innumerous, and hills/Mts, etc (you get the idea) [ the Military in many past years had very ingenously trained all members to use the good 'old school', Lensatics, and Topos.] which
    i agree with, as well as Boy Scouts Intl., and wilderness adventure training companies],
    please note; Anyhoo, how does it feel to get lost in the forest for the Trees?

    disclaimer, some in our rafting Parties ( which is just like Hunting ), use waterproof GPS's and track our boating expeditions, Mile by mile; considering that some rivers present new
    territory as you go, with Many hazards and changes from Year to yr. and , who, wouldnt want to have a SPOT/911 signal device, to sent out an SOS in
    the event of an emergency, we carry one, and several party members should
    know how to use it, as Well.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I recommend protractor compasses by Silva and Suunto. These are simply a rectangle of clear plastic with the compass capsule embedded. To use them, place the compass on the map, with the edge of the plastic along the line you want to travel (from A to B) and twist the bezel of the compass capsule until the lines in the base of the capsule are parallel to the North-South grid lines.

    Hold the compass at waist level, pointing forward, and rotate your body until the north-seeking arrow points to North on the bezel. That's your azimuth.

    It's simple, accurate and fool-proof.
     
  23. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Same here. Just don't put them in your back pocket........:banghead:
     
  24. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I like a belt pouch -- you can get them at any backpacking store. They will hold a compass, flashlight, source of fire, spare ammo, and so on.
     
  25. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Silva Ranger and GI lensatic compasses and USGS & Forestry maps.

    "The Map Store"
    Ranger stations and Forestry visitors centers.
     
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