The dictionary defines an advantage as something that is a beneficial factor, and as Hunters and Outdoorsman we are always looking for some tool or knowledge that can give us an edge. Sometimes the advantage is not so much over those animals we are hoping to harvest, but over other hunters competing on limited resources. This is especially important when one is hunting on public land. I recently had the opportunity to try a product that not only was instrumental in a successful Antelope hunt near Gillette, Wyoming, but it more than liekly saved me from a substantial fine for trespassing as well! The good folks at HuntingGPSMaps.com provided just such a product.
Hunting GPS Maps provides a chip that goes easily in most Garmin gps devices that have color screens and expandable memory, in my case the Garmin Montana 650t hand held gps. This bit of technology not only allowed me to determine which areas were public or private land, but it helped me find smaller parcels of public land which hunters without this chip would never have known about. It was on one of these smaller, lesser-known blocks of state land that we harvested a beautiful Wyoming Pronghorn Antelope.
During one of our morning hunts, my buddy and I noticed a cloud of dust and flashing colored lights coming towards us on an old dirt road. Within minutes we saw the officers leading 2 other hunters towards their vehicle. It seems that not all land is created equal, and much public land is not a perfect square! Our Hunting GPS Maps chip kept us from making a fatal error; it accurately showed us where we where in relation to private land that may have had an irregular shape. The other guys were not so lucky and more than likely paid a hefty fine for trespassing on the land that we had considered hunting before purchasing the chip. I actually think that the cost of the fine would have more than surpassed the cost of the chip…and my GPS!
The Hunting GPS Chip can also assist you prior to your hunt as it can give you a better understanding of not only which land is public and private, but allow you to find newer or easier access points to that land. You need only plug the chip into a computer or card reader to view the maps and create a plan of action for your hunt. After the hunt you can also plug the chip in and view any waypoints you logged, which are invaluable for future reference and scouting.
Just like the guy with the British accent trying to sell you something on late night Television I get to say, “But wait! We’re not done!” Along with additional features such as topographical maps, trails, roads and much, much more the folks at HuntingGpsMaps.com also added property owner’s names and property boundaries. This came in very handy one morning as we had met a father and son sitting in their car by the side of the road staring at about a dozen Antelope about a ¼ mile into private land. The little boy, who was about 14 years old looked like he was getting sadder by the minute. Now here is a very cool feature of this product, I saw the land owners name and matched it with a sheet provided by the local hunter’s information center that had the phone numbers of land owners who will allow hunter’s to trespass in order to hunt for a fee. We outlined a route for them to take on their paper map, and having done our good deed for the day, we continued our quest to hunt only public land. There are occasional updates which are great as land can change hands frequently.
Now I’m not completely saying that this bit of technology is going to take the place of a professional Guide or outfitter, after all, you still need to know how the animals move, where they want to go and other crucial factors, but the people at HuntingGPSmaps.com have definitely made it easier for the average Joe to get out on his own a bit and learn on the fly. This year I’ll be back in Wyoming for Antelope, perhaps Montana for Elk, or any number of species that I never attempted because I didn’t know where to hunt on my own. If you are the kind of guy that just wants to get out there but can only afford to hunt public land, this is an invaluable tool. If you have permission to hunt private land you can easily see the boundaries and perhaps keep away from the border with public land. I used that method to sit and wait for the masses hunting Osceola Turkey in Florida to push a flock of birds into the private ranch I had access to. Do it yourself hunts are just one of the many reasons this chip is so useful, but there is something also to be said for just plain old knowing exactly where you are and where you shouldn’t be!