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Topo Maps

Old 03-25-2003, 08:59 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Nittany Lion Country
Posts: 94
Default Topo Maps

I was wondering if anyone knows of a video or a book on reading topo maps. I' m planning my first Elk hunting trip to Colorado this fall. I' ll be hunting the Collbran area, area 421 during the muzzleloader season. A friend that lives in the area will be hunting the bow season prior to my arrival, but I' m trying to learn as much as possible before hand. Hunting always comes down to the same thing, those who are willing to do what others aren' t, reap the biggest rewards. I have the general things down, but was looking for more percise information. I was also wondering what people think about Abe&Son' s calls. Seems like this guy really supports his product with making himself excessible. I' m on my third book and don' t know how many videos I' ve viewed, any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Hale87 is offline  
Old 03-25-2003, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: meridian idaho USA
Posts: 429
Default RE: Topo Maps

Do yourself a favor.
Order a Hubbard Scientific raised relief map of the region you are going to be hunting. They cost appx. $15.
I recommend this for any hunters going on an hunt in unfamiliar country.

They are raised 3D relief maps and they are like looking at the region from a plane. Awesome scouting tool and for getting the lay of the land, you can actually see what it looks like. I like to find spots on the map that look like likely spots and then go to the map atlas and look for access points. If the area has to much access, I keep looking.
Then take your topo and look for those small flat spots with creeks on the N or NE slope where elk love to hang out.

Most basic lesson on topos is lines close together means steep. The farther the lines are apart the flatter the country.

IMO Abe and Sons calls are as good as you are going to find. Very natural sound and easy to use.
noway is offline  
Old 03-25-2003, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Posts: 1,964
Default RE: Topo Maps

Welcome to the board and welcome to Colorado for your first elk hunt!

Hopefully your friend who will be wrapping up archery will be able to " guide" you a little bit for your first elk hunt. It would be nice if you can arrive at least a couple days early so you can either scout on your own or he can show you around. I' m assuming you can find a book on orienteering at any Boy Scout supply store, so I' m going to stray from your question just a little bit -- but boy does this ever fit right in.

Consider picking up a lower to middle of the road GPS ($90-150). Having the highways and all the McDonalds loaded " on chip" isn' t really worth the $300-400 for elk hunting. If you learn how to use your GPS it will make you fearless in your navigation and since most good elk hunters end up hiking in the dark at both ends of the day -- in really BIG country -- it makes for a good feeling.

Now regarding maps and navigation consider for $99 National Geographics Topo! program (whole state of Colorado). These computer maps are of the same quality as the 7.5 minute Government and Trails Illustrated maps. The wonderful thing about these maps is that they are SHADED so you can almost see 3D!

If you get the data cable (for between the computer and your GPS) you can mark waypoints on the computer program and down load them into your GPS and then upon arrival at a place you have never been before you can navigate to and from trail heads, forks in drainages, high points, springs, etc as well as being able to easily identify local land marks. Plus it will print out great maps (especially B&W laser) that you can encase in plastic that will have these waypoints printed right on the map.

Even if your friend is going to " guide" you it is valuable to know where it is that you have been taken (in the dark). Drop in a way point every quarter mile as you hike in and out or while you hunt and later you can upload the info into your computer and see where you REALLY went versus where you THOUGHT you went. You will love it as it goes a long way toward helping you avoid one of the newcomer' s biggest concerns -- getting lost.

One caveat though, DO take a compass AND DO practice at home PLENTY!

Side note: I' d never heard of Collbran before. Went to my TOPO! program typed it in under " find" and I see you are just east of Grand Junction, Near Grand Mesa National Forest not far from the " wine country" of Palesade. If you are sore and tired consider going to soak in the hot springs at Glenwood Springs! It would only take minutes to mark Collbran with a way point, download the way point into my GPS, step out the front door, lock on, and have a heading and distance to Collbran. If its good enough for our boys in Iraq, then its good enough for me.

Good Luck,

Never Go Under Gunned,
ELKampMaster is offline  
Old 03-25-2003, 09:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Chester Pa USA
Posts: 39
Default RE: Topo Maps

Gps don' t go hunting or fishing with out it , worst thing to ever happen to the backwoods brutes, I bought my 1st about 7 years ago gave it to a friend, inhertited a Garmin GPS III, picked up a new 1 on Ebay for $100 , Magellan Gps330 .
Once you get use to it , you won' t know how you did without. we look at the maps at night , discuss where we were that day and plan on where we will be the next . I still carry a map and compass(2 sometimes i don' t believe 1, pre gps days) , just in case it fails ,and extra batteries.
Having both a Gps and topo maps you can learn to use both rather quickly , get a local map and a Gps and practice where you live.
I prefer the magellan , it seems a little easier to use , and the antenna on the Garmin doesn' t seem to be real sturdy , hate to break it off and then need it.

Good Luck
DelcoJim is offline  
Old 03-30-2003, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 78
Default RE: Topo Maps

The mapping programs are great to have. Especially if they support a GPS. If you take a GPS and learn how to use it you won' t be afraid of getting lost and then you can just go hunting. Its great.
There' s also a couple of good websites out there that will give you some great topo and aerial photography for most of the country (they have topos for all of it and photos for most). You can toggle between the different views. This will get you close to where you want to go and you can pan different directions and zoom in for more detail:
Hope this helps. I use it a lot to show me how much cover there is in a place I' ve never hunted. You can also buy photo' s and maps from the site.
Good luck and have fun,
willhunt4food is offline  
Old 03-30-2003, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Posts: 1,964
Default RE: Topo Maps


Thank you for the great, great, great tip!
Topo Maps are great but they DON' T show BLACK TIMBER which is key to making things work. This adds a new layer of meaning to my Topo! maps.

I' d thought about going into the Federal Government Agricultural Service (like USDS) and purchasing aerial photos OR hiring a pilot to take me an a two hour mapping/joy ride trip around our area. I' m thinking you' ve saved me having to do either one! Thanks -- too cool.

Never Go Undergunned,
ELKampMaster is offline  
Old 03-31-2003, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 78
Default RE: Topo Maps

Glad to be able to help. The aerial' s aren' t the best in the world and some are better than others but for the free resource that it provides its a pretty good deal.
Makes arm chair scouting a little easier. The big game cd from colorado DOW is a fairly helpful resource as well...
willhunt4food is offline  
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