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#6242797 - 03/01/12 10:54 PM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: 340mag]
1minute Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 15206
Loc: Burns/Hines, Oregon, USA
Yes. But I have not purchased a paper one for years. With a little surfing and some time, one can typically download or acquire the DRG's (digital raster graphics) for his entire state at no cost. Then there's plenty of free software out there for viewing and everything is georeferenced. Save the desired coordinates and download them to one's GPS unit.


Edited by 1minute (03/02/12 10:08 AM)
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#6243017 - 03/02/12 04:46 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: 1minute]
smokepole Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/30/06
Posts: 12178
Loc: Colorado
Personally, I wouldn't use 'em, I'd just make it a point to stay close to the road.
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#6243027 - 03/02/12 04:50 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: 1minute]
Rock Chuck Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 25207
Loc: Filer, ID
You can open any topo map in the US at http://store.usgs.gov. It will open in PDF format so you can do anything you like with it.
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#6243053 - 03/02/12 05:01 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: Rock Chuck]
BrentD Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 11730
Loc: MN, WI, IL, MI, KS, GA, AZ, IA
I'm fortunate to have a entire wing (albeit small) of a university library filled with nothing but maps. That includes just about every USGS topo map ever made. It is a great resource. It also has the USFS/BLM maps which I like better, and many other types of maps.

I use this a lot for hunting. However, I'm not entirely sure that they are essential. They do help with finding access points and, more importantly, areas with very few access points. But they don't actually say "Elk here". Only to the extent that they reasonably depict forest and open parks and other habitat are they really all that useful. Google Earth is better, and more up to date for many of these sorts of features.

The two (maps and Google) used together, are far better than either alone.

There is a website (mytopo.com?) that allows you to put together a custom map of just the areas you are interested in. That saves you from having to carry the whole map library for a small area that always occurs at the junction of multiple maps. Very handy and very quick. I highly recommend them.
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#6243116 - 03/02/12 05:28 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: BrentD]
Rock Chuck Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 25207
Loc: Filer, ID
Some years ago I bought Nat. Geographics Topo! program for Idaho. It has the entire set of USGS topo maps for the state. Since then a number of mapping sites have come online but I still find the Topo! maps to be most useful. I just print out the areas I think I'll need on ordinary 8.5x11 paper. It's not waterproof and needs to be kept in a ziplock bag, but it's quick and easy.
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TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

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#6243129 - 03/02/12 05:37 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: 340mag]
redfoxx Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/21/12
Posts: 536
Loc: TEXAS
I do, have had to learn how to do majority of pre-scouting remotely as a NR to any western mountain state. Topo maps are a major part of that pre-hunt scouting.
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#6243164 - 03/02/12 05:49 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: redfoxx]
Alamosa Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 1759
Loc: Southern Colorado
I like being able to bring up a USGS topo on my PC, zoom to where I want, mark a point, then download those points to my GPS.
I can print a map including my points if I want.

After a hunt I'll upload points collected in the field from the GPS to my PC database.

Over time that database of landmarks, kills, sightings, has become the most valuable component.

I keep a hard file of USGS, BLM, Nat'l Forest, in camp - mostly for the bennefit of the others in camp.

One more odd thing that has been helpfull. I post a plastic 3D relief map on the wall of my RV. Nothing else really compares to having a small scale model of the terrain.

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#6243179 - 03/02/12 05:53 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: 340mag]
Rancho_Loco Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 16847
Loc: MONTANA
Originally Posted By: 340mag
that hunters are generally highly adverse to... following a railroad right of way thru private land into BLM lands beyond


There's usually a reason for that.. smirk
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#6243264 - 03/02/12 06:20 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: Alamosa]
Maverick940 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 1970
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Alamosa
Originally Posted By: 340mag
how many guys actually use topo maps to locate roads,camp sites. water sources, natural terrain choke points and potential hunter access and potential game movement and escape routes.
as I got more experience I found that a few hours of carefully using resources like terrain maps, google earth, and forest service road maps, county property boundary info, BLM maps and other resources allowed me to predict reasonably well the likely game movements as big game in many of the rougher canyon country , could be accurately predicted to leave most of the easily accessed areas near public roads and camp sites, and retreat into areas with far less hunt pressure, now at first we thought that always meant as far from roads as possible but we eventually learned thru trial and error that hunters are generally highly adverse to climbing steep terrain or crossing deeper streams requiring wading, or following a railroad right of way thru private land into BLM lands beyond and having maps and property boundrys and a GPS were valid tools to gain access to some of the better hunt areas

I'm pretty sure that is the longest sentence I have ever seen.


Agreed. It's like West African sentence composition, or something.

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#6243300 - 03/02/12 06:30 AM Re: how many guys actually use topo maps to locate.. [Re: Rancho_Loco]
CP Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Wapiti Way, MT
Railroad right-of –ways are private property, and since 9/11, just walking along the tracks can lead to some difficult conversations with the authorities. CP.

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