Why Every Deer Hunter Should Carry a Handheld GPS
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Thread: Why Every Deer Hunter Should Carry a Handheld GPS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Why Every Deer Hunter Should Carry a Handheld GPS

    For the Western big game hunter, a handheld GPS with detailed mapping is an absolute necessity to navigate the steep terrain they face for elk, sheep, and at times even mule deer. But many whitetail hunters here in the Midwest, including those in the flat-lands of Kansas, sometimes overlook the benefits of using a handheld GPS for aiding them during their whitetail hunts. A GPS will keep track of where you are so you can enjoy the moment.

    A GPS quickly and precisely locate your position and maintain it even in heavy cover and deep canyons. Wireless capabilities give you the power to share way-points, tracks, routes and geocaches with other compatible devices with the press of a button. Our favorite way to use our handhelds for hunting whitetail is simply by using it as a tool to mark important way-points and using the GPS to navigate to treestands in the dark.

    With a handheld GPS, there's little need to light up the woods with a flashlight, and you won't give up your honey hole to other hunters by using bright orange markers or reflective pins. Often overlooked for deer hunting, handheld GPS units can be extremely helpful in the field.

    But not only that a handhelds are key for helping us decide which stand to hunt out of on any given day. For instance, if you have three stands up, each potentially better than the others depending on which way the wind is blowing, you can make notes on each individual way-point. If a particular stand is best when there is a north wind, take note of that. Let's face it, many of us are running on very little sleep when waking up at 3 AM to drive to our hunting spot and it's easy to forget details like that. Don't risk wasting a day in the woods or spooking that giant whitetail you've had your eyes on all year and make sure you've packed your handheld GPS.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2016
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    Western Pennsylvania
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    Well if that isn't a sales pitch, I don't know what is.
    "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

    -Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore

  3. #3
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    Dec 1969
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    central TX
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    Makes you wonder how hunters survived before GPS.

    Hand held GPS are great, there are plenty of smart-phone apps (that don't require cell signal) also (motionX, Hunt stand, etc)

    In my opinion, if you don't have a map & compass in the woods or on the water - you're not prepared
    Who's a good boy?

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Outer Mongolia
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    Roger that Jebber!

    A simple compass attached with a clip to the zipper of my coat while hunting in late September in Alaska saved our bacon!

    During a seven mile trek that started with a difficult incline that rose 3500' up to a plateau that was covered with indistinguishable tundra, by the time we reached the top, the fog rolled in followed by icy cold rain that turned to sleet. We were soaked through and exhausted. our destination was a small trappers cabin that sat on a small lake just off of the edge of the canyon below.

    On the climb down the day before, under a clear blue sky, I took several compass reading to familiarize myself with the local landmarks, which primarily consisted of the axis of the canyon and the river that ran through the bottom.

    We had a young, inexperienced guide who was a last minute replacement for the true professional we started the hunt with. He was pulled out of the field by an unexpected FAA inspection of his newly started helicopter business. The kid forgot the radios and tried to talk Valentina and me out of taking our packs with us, since we would be down and back in the same day! Yeah right!

    Two dead grizzly's later and 120 lbs of wet bear hide and skull on top of my pack, it took us six hours to climb up out of the canyon. First the fog and then the darkness set in. With no landmarks and unable to see much more than 10 yards, we slugged it out on the tundra alongside the edge of the canyon. At some point, we lost the edge following a trail that the guide was certain would take us to the cabin. Not so!

    Somehow we overshot the little lake and during the flight in, I had noted that the plateau stretched for miles and was dotted with a myriad of small lakes. We came up on what appeared to be the "little lake" only after circling it in the dark, NO CABIN! I knew right away that we had followed a game trail that lead across the open tundra.

    Not big on the idea of freezing to death, I told the kid that enough was enough. I should have done so earlier, but better late than never!

    The sleet had turned to snow by now and it was COLD! I instructed the kid to walk 10' in front of me, while I monitored my compass with a flash-lite giving him right and left call outs to cut a path that lead to the canyon. Since I knew the axis of the canyon and river below, I told him screw the trappers cabin, we had to get down into the canyon where with a little luck, some degree of shelter and the fire starter kit in my pack, we would try to start a fire.

    An indication of exactly how far we were off course, we walked for almost an hour when with absolute dumb-ass "Luck of the Irish" we accidentally stumbled right into the cabin!

    By that time, the kid was vomiting and showing all of the classic signs of hypothermia. Without the compass, we'd have ALL died out there from exposure. Mind you, this was pre-GPS days.

    Even without a map, a compass and a series of landmarks can save your bacon!

    Warmest regards,

    JPS

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Mississippi Delta
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    I have full faith in a good compass, was taught not to doubt a long time ago. and JPS, a good fog can make it difficult for anyone, throws of your senses.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebber View Post
    Makes you wonder how hunters survived before GPS. Hand held GPS are great, there are plenty of smart-phone apps (that don't require cell signal) also (motionX, Hunt stand, etc) In my opinion, if you don't have a map & compass in the woods or on the water - you're not prepared
    Yes it does make me thing how hunter survived without gps, i will appreciate any insight you might have

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    73

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    Roger that Jebber! A simple compass attached with a clip to the zipper of my coat while hunting in late September in Alaska saved our bacon! During a seven mile trek that started with a difficult incline that rose 3500' up to a plateau that was covered with indistinguishable tundra, by the time we reached the top, the fog rolled in followed by icy cold rain that turned to sleet. We were soaked through and exhausted. our destination was a small trappers cabin that sat on a small lake just off of the edge of the canyon below. On the climb down the day before, under a clear blue sky, I took several compass reading to familiarize myself with the local landmarks, which primarily consisted of the axis of the canyon and the river that ran through the bottom. We had a young, inexperienced guide who was a last minute replacement for the true professional we started the hunt with. He was pulled out of the field by an unexpected FAA inspection of his newly started helicopter business. The kid forgot the radios and tried to talk Valentina and me out of taking our packs with us, since we would be down and back in the same day! Yeah right! Two dead grizzly's later and 120 lbs of wet bear hide and skull on top of my pack, it took us six hours to climb up out of the canyon. First the fog and then the darkness set in. With no landmarks and unable to see much more than 10 yards, we slugged it out on the tundra alongside the edge of the canyon. At some point, we lost the edge following a trail that the guide was certain would take us to the cabin. Not so! Somehow we overshot the little lake and during the flight in, I had noted that the plateau stretched for miles and was dotted with a myriad of small lakes. We came up on what appeared to be the "little lake" only after circling it in the dark, NO CABIN! I knew right away that we had followed a game trail that lead across the open tundra. Not big on the idea of freezing to death, I told the kid that enough was enough. I should have done so earlier, but better late than never! The sleet had turned to snow by now and it was COLD! I instructed the kid to walk 10' in front of me, while I monitored my compass with a flash-lite giving him right and left call outs to cut a path that lead to the canyon. Since I knew the axis of the canyon and river below, I told him screw the trappers cabin, we had to get down into the canyon where with a little luck, some degree of shelter and the fire starter kit in my pack, we would try to start a fire. An indication of exactly how far we were off course, we walked for almost an hour when with absolute dumb-ass "Luck of the Irish" we accidentally stumbled right into the cabin! By that time, the kid was vomiting and showing all of the classic signs of hypothermia. Without the compass, we'd have ALL died out there from exposure. Mind you, this was pre-GPS days. Even without a map, a compass and a series of landmarks can save your bacon! Warmest regards, JPS
    that's seems like one hell of an adventure you guys gad.

  9. #8
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    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by falm16 View Post
    I have full faith in a good compass, was taught not to doubt a long time ago. and JPS, a good fog can make it difficult for anyone, throws of your senses.
    i dont think gog changes anything, even with a forest with thick fog. the north is till the north and the south is still the south. every hunter knows to mark the trees atleast.

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