Using Google to Pre-Scout Public Hunting Lands
Kevin Felts 10.30.19
When it comes to maps, people typically turn to Google Earth or Google Maps. It seems the days of having a physical paper map are long gone, even though some of us prefer them over an electronic map.
Why use Google Earth to pre-scout an area? Well, there are several reasons such as terrain, logging roads, creeks, and nearby houses. My personal reason for using Google Earth is to see how remote an area is.
For example, in my area, motorized vehicles are prohibited on public hunting lands. Even if there is a dirt road that goes through the area, chances are that road is reserved for United States Forest Service (USFS) use only. Those private roads will typically have a USFS a road number, such as USFS 153. If we cannot drive the USFS roads, how do we know where they go? This is where Google Earth and Google Maps come into play.
Rather than spending a lot of time scouting the area for creeks, elevations, etc, pull up Google Earth and Google Maps. Google Earth shows creeks and streams better than Google Maps. Then again, Google Maps has a route and distance tool.
While scouting public hunting along the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas, I found nice remote area. This is a difficult place to reach, even by boat. You have a follow a narrow slough that is shallow and filled with submerged logs. Once I reached the spot, how far was it from the main river channel? Using Google Earth the distance was an estimated 1/2 mile. Chances are if someone comes in from the main river they are not going to walk 1/2 mile inland. That 1/2 mile was at the narrowest spot where the river makes a turn.
With all of this information in hand, I know that chances are slim that I will run into another hunter.
- Find public hunting lands in your area.
- Use Google Earth and Google Maps to find USFS roads, pipelines, highlines, etc.
- Look for waterways (creeks, streams) and elevations.
- Find a place on the map that looks interesting.
- Finally, boat or drive to the area and scout the land.
I would like to hear from the readers. How many use electronic maps to look at an area before heading out?