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  1. #1
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    How to research from afar

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to best write this so not to appear to be looking for the often sought after “honey hole” or GPS coordinates….so here goes.

    I still consider myself relatively new to Western hunting. I’ve hunted elk a couples times in Colorado on a limited tag hunt with a muzzleloader. Always the same location and we plan to go back this fall. Bad part is we can only draw every other or every third year. Truth is I don’t even remember how we settled on this area almost 10 years ago now, but it is a nice honey hole that we stumbled into. Sometimes I’d rather be lucky than good!

    As I am getting older and am trying to find more areas to hunt out west (at this time I am also applying for PP’s in Wyoming) I find myself struggling to compile data to determine what unit and then where within a given unit I want to hunt for a particular species (elk, deer, antelope).

    I by no means am a trophy hunter, am strictly DIY, and I am more trying to use my research to find a location(s) to hunt where I may be able to go every year so I may better get to know an area through boot leather on the ground and find decent animals through determination, hard work, and hopefully a little luck. While possibly building PP’s for the future to go into a “higher” quality area.

    Currently, I use Google earth to stare at aerial photos and I also try to use ArcGIS or other similar online sites for topographical maps. For Colorado I have found the NDIS program to be nice to compare both aerial and topographical maps and it gives vegetation and animal migration and range patterns. I am reviewing the MRS section of Eastmans' which is great to give hunt odds, rates of success, etc. I also am reviewing forums, such as, this one to gain any insight or tips on how to find these animals from afar. For my (sort of) more immediate Colorado high country mule deer hunt that I’ll plan to draw for in 2015 or 2016 I’ve started talking to local Biologists in the couple areas that we have narrowed our list to.

    Problem is I suspect that I have gaps in my research. I’m unfamiliar with what might be public or private land in a given unit. I don’t always know the vegetation or what a particular animal might be feeding on in a given area. I also struggle finding maps that may show the pertinent information I desire. Hiking trails, BLM area, forest areas, roads, etc.

    Would anyone care to share info on tools you use to research from afar or the system you use when researching a new area?

    Wow I feel like I just wrote a short novel.

  2. #2
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    I have been hunting Wyoming for about 15 years. Always DIY hunts. I have found the maps from the US Forest service to be very valuable. Also obtaining hunting maps for your gps with private and public boundaries in color will be helpful. Garmins Montana seems to have the largest screen for ease of viewing. The game wardens in Wyoming use them, and will show you your position in relation to the boundaries. Takes the guess work out of it. I hope is information helps.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Blaze For This Useful Post:

    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

  4. #3
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    Get the Forest Service and/or BLM maps for your desired area. They'll show you ownership status, roads, trails, campgrounds, etc. and combine that with the research you already have going.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to libidilatimmy For This Useful Post:

    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

  6. #4
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    As far as Wyoming is concerned, I use antelope hunting to scout other areas for deer and elk. I usually plan on spending more time there than I need for hunting goats and do some scouting. Save a little time and $$$ to do some research while I'm already there.
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

  7. #5
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    One of the first places I look is mytopo.com. The preview maps will give you a good idea of the landownership in each unit. Access is always one of my biggest concerns on any hunt I am researching. IMO alot of it comes down to access and how long you are willing to wait to draw a tag and generally the better the access the more points it will take. This is especially true with WY antelope but generally applies to most others as well. Next I look at herd counts, harvest stats, success rates ect. Success rates can be somewhat misleading in areas with lots of private land since most of the animals could of been harvested on private land. Many areas that can be hunted every year or drawn 2nd choice will have access issues, low animal numbers or both.

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    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

  9. #6
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    Anybody able to post a link to the forest service maps or BLM maps or is it just a quick google search?

  10. #7
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    I've looked at mytopo before. I didn't know they show public land and private land boundaries. I'll have to check them out again.

  11. #8
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    http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs...vide/maps.html

    This link has some free downloads, however the quality isn't that good. You'd need to purchase the 1:100,000 for more detail, poke around on the BLM Wyoming site and you can order them there.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/shoshone/maps-pubs

    This link will get you started on the Forest Service maps for the state.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to libidilatimmy For This Useful Post:

    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

  13. #9
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    Mike Eastman's new elk book has a terrific chapter on how best to do exactly what you are asking about. Even guys that have done a lot of research will learn something. http://www.eastmans.com/shop/books/elk/

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    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

  15. #10
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    I order BLM and forest service maps here http://www.plicmapcenter.org/ Seems to be alot easier and you get them alot faster going through them. Here is the link to mytopo. You can look up any gmu on it. http://www.mytopo.com/products/hunt-area-maps.cfm

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Musket Man For This Useful Post:

    Work2hunt (12-12-2013)

 

 

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