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  1. #1
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    Map Reading Question

    I'm trying to pick a couple back-up units for a Wyoming antelope application. Of course, most units that there's a reasonable chance of drawing as a second or third choice have limited public access. So, I am trying to identify accessible public land in such units using a Wyoming Gazetteer and some of the sample maps companies that sell maps put on line (not the best resolution). I see plenty of public land, but often it's accessible only by what shows on these maps as a small, broken line (a line of dashes).
    Are these roads public? Do these maps show private roads? If so, how do you tell? Is it safe to assume a named road is public? Would I be better able to identify public roads with a map chip for my GPS?

  2. #2
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    The Gazetteer is not a very good source to ID "open" public roads in WY. Strictly guessing, I think the broken line roads are likely 2-tracks, for the most part are open when on public land (but getting to them is the catch 22). If you do not have permission through the private property then you are SOL.

    Go ahead and invest in the BLM and Forest Service maps, since you are planning for this year it might be a little to late to gt them ordered and mailed.

    If you have a GPS chip and can view it on a computer software, like basecamp, then it can give you a little more detail.

    Most named county roads are open, but the tricky part is determining where they end or turn into private.

    All I can tell you is when in doubt call the local BLM office or chamber. In all honesty if I were you I would locate public land tracs off of easily ID main roads and plan to hike in from there then when you get out there do a quick drive around to see what other roads are open.

    One thing is for sure, there is nothing easy about this part of the planning. Its all trial and error, just hope you dont get a ticket like a bunch of people did a few years ago in 23 when there GPS chip said one road was open when it was actually a private road (which when I was there it had a sign up, so common sense and error on the safe side saved me a ticket).

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  4. #3
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    I agree with AT, make sure there is a county road you can access the public land from and plan to walk from there. Most roads with a name or number should be public roads but its really hard to know for sure without going there or talking to someone that knows the area. The dashes are most likely 2 track roads. If they connect to a public road on public land you should be able to drive on them until they cross public land atleast. If they connect on private land most likely you wont be able to use them. The preview maps on mytopo work pretty well and if you order a map from mytopo you should have it in less then a week.

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  6. #4
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    +1 for what AT Hiker said.
    I can also add that the last couple of times I ordered Blm maps I had em in a week so if you get right after em ......

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  8. #5
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    Thank you all, it's almost harder trying to pick out a decent back up unit than a first choice (lot more info out there on better units). MyTopo is the webpage I've been using along with the Gazetteer. Hate to spend a lot buying maps for backup units before the draw, but you gotta do what you gotta do, lol. I've been looking at units east and south-east of the Bighorns, and it looks like there's at least a decent sized piece of public that's accessible in most of them, and, like AT suggests, a drive around after I'm out there might reveal some more. I'll make a few phone calls too. Thanks again.

  9. #6
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    If you are going to order BLM maps I would order them from plic map center http://www.plicmapcenter.org/. You should have them in a week or less from them too. I get blm maps unless the unit is split onto several different blm maps, then I get the map from mytopo so its all on 1 map. Mytopo maps are made from blm maps but they are centered on the unit you want.

  10. #7
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    If it's not marked as a solid red line with a state highway, county highway number, or BLM numbered designation that runs entirely through public land, you'll need to be more than cautious because just looking at one of those maps that everyone is talking about when they also run through private lands can be very deceiving and get you into trouble. The Garmin GPS chips DO NOT designate what roads are legal to drive on, just the property ownership along those roads themselves. The best way to minimize problems is to contact folks in the County Seat for the county where the unit you want to hunt is located and ask them for a list and/or map of all the public taxpayer maintained roads and if you have any questions after you get that, then contact them again to ask a specific question about a certain spot. I'm not aware of any BLM, unit, or county map you can buy from any place on the internet that has all the public marked roads on it.

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  12. #8
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    From what I gather, MM, AT and TopGun are pretty much correct. I will say that previewing maps on mytopo does show two track yellow "dashed" raods that have BLM #'s on them. At least the area I have been looking at does. You'll want to peview the "hybrid topo/photo" option.

    I order my maps directly from the BLM office and they get here within a week. $4 a pop. They specifically told me that any road with a number on their maps is accessible. But I'll believe it when I see it.

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  14. #9
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    Thanks to everyone who responded.

    This may seem like a stupid question, but, is there such a thing as a private road on public land? I was looking at some BLM land south of Edgerton off Wy 259, and when I go to street view on Google Maps, there appears to be a small white sign at the start of many of the dirt roads running off 259. I can read "caution" across the top, but can't make out the rest. Is this anything to be concerned about?

  15. #10
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    There are roads that go back and forth through public and private that are private roads or not open to the public anyways and some will be closed when they come to private land. Sometimes roads that leave a public road on public land but then cross private will be closed at the private land. Generally roads you cant use are marked by the landowner.

 

 

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