Saturday, 30 June 2018

Keeping Track of Sign and Hunts

When I first started hunting in 2014, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join a well established group of hunters who took me to their whitetail spot.  On that trip my now father in law showed me a series of paper maps with circles, X's, and lines on them.  These maps, and the notations on them, represented years of accumulated knowledge about where he found sign and where people had achieved success.  From the information contained on these maps my father in law was able to recommend that I spend time in the spot where I eventually managed to get my first white tailed deer.  

During that trip, and several after that, I up using my Garmin etrex GPS to mark all the locations where I managed to find sign as well as all the spots where I had seen deer.  Whe I bought the GPS I also bought the BC Backroad Mapbooks micro SD card for it so it shows the vast majority of the logging roads which is very nice.   When I bought that GPS, I paid around $250 for it and the maps cost another $160.  A pricey little piece of kit, but well worth it.  It runs on two AA batteries.  The only negative comment about it that you have to zoom in quite far before the logging roads become visible. Using the Garmin etrex to plan the next day's hunt is really difficult because you have to be so zoomed in to see anything.  It is really only good for tracking where you have been and way points.



After getting home from that 2014 hunt I started looking a lot at Google Maps and Google Earth.  I remembered years ago making a map for some friends to tell them how to find a campsite using Google Maps.  After a little investigation I found that it is really easy to do through My Maps using Google Maps.  The My Maps tool in Google maps even allows you to use hunting icons like a deer, wolf, bear, moose, etc. as well as tents and a shooter symbol.  Once I found these icons I transferred all my information from the Garmin GPS to a map I titled Hunting on My Maps.


Over the following few years I added a lot of information to my hunting map.  It has a limited number of layers so I limited it to types of game.  I also put the date and a little comment next to every point.  One of the cool things you can do is download it as a .kmz file and import the data into Google Earth.

Hunt Buddy Icon
Recently I heard about the app called Hunt Buddy.  I downloaded it onto my iPhone and used it last hunting season.  Overall, I really like how it helps you keep the regulations close at hand.  On my last day out scouting I used it to mark the location of sign and game sightings for the first time.  You have to pay for the topographical maps, but they are about 10% the price of the BC Backroad Mapbooks micro SD card. There are a lot fewer icons than on Google Maps, but there are enough to mark sign and game locations.

Example of mapping with Hunt Buddy
One nice thing you can do is download your My Map from Google Maps into Hunt Buddy, so that all of the accumulated info that I have from all the years and sources is now downloaded onto my phone.  You can also download the maps ahead of time so when you are in the bush you have full topographical maps on our phone.  It worked really well on my last hunt.  From the accumulated data you can really start to see the commonalities between where sign is found and where you can achieve success. 


No comments:

Post a comment