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GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

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GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

Old 01-03-2004, 01:33 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

Compass rides in the bottom of a vest pocket.

GPS does all the work.

Use Topo! to print your maps and you can have your waypoints all printed on the map and you can put your hunting area right in the middle of the map instead up at the corner where 4 maps come togehter.

For elk hunting where you frequently travel miles both ways in the dark there is little comparison. If a blizzard occurs or your horizon is reduced to near zero there is also little comparison. GPS is better.

On mine there is ample warning the batteries are going low plus it will simply shut off before running out and losing the information. Our GPSs, Petzl Headlamps, minimags, and radios ALL run on the same AA batteries. We carry a full set of spares and batteries are NEVER a problem. You can change out the batteries and NOT lose the information.

Compasses are not impervious to damage, if you have ever had some of the liquid leak out to where the air bubble under the bezel is too large then you know what I mean. My boys and I each carry a GPS usually with only one on at a time. If one gets damaged (has never happened) then there is plenty of back up. I have dropped it on rocks and had the horse (shod) clip it with its foot and send it rolling with no problem except scratches -- takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I have also dropped it into water, picked it up, shook it off and continued on with no problem.

If you ever get an elk down if heavy cover in an unfamiliar area OR if you drop your back pack and sprint for an interception opportunity, then the GPS waypoint system is truly heartwarming as you will be able to return to thoses spots fearlessly.

Best part about GPS over "compass only" is when you get back from exploring an area you can down load your waypoints into the mapping software and see where you REALLY went instead of where you THOUGHT you went, an entertaining difference.

EKM
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Old 01-03-2004, 06:09 PM
  #22  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

[quote]ORIGINAL: ELKampMaster

Compass rides in the bottom of a vest pocket.

GPS does all the work.


Unless you leave it in camp??
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Old 01-03-2004, 06:15 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

Coastie,
Correctamundo!
Same problem if the compass is left behind!

Did that route twice using neither, then came that fateful trip.

Little Older and a Little Wiser,
EKM
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Old 01-03-2004, 11:12 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: WA
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

I use the GPS, compass and topo maps all together. I create maps of my area using maptech terrain navigator or topo usa, print them with UTM coordinates, pick likely spots and use the GPS to navigate to them. I use the compass to follow the bearing given by the GPS so I don't have to leave it turned on all the time. I've found the GPS very handy for marking downed game or my truck and returning in the dark. I've used a GPS for 5 years and never had a failure despite leaving it on my bumper twice and sending it tumbling. Extra batteries are lightweight. The maps are handy because the straight line path given by the GPS is usually impossible to follow in the woods. If you hunt the same area all the time, the need for electronics is reduced, but for new areas its a great asset.
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Old 01-04-2004, 06:30 AM
  #25  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

If you need a gadget whilst yer hunting, you ain't familiar with the country an' didn't do yer pre-season exploration (notice I didn't say scouting, cause I don't believe in scouting animals). Them GPS thangs are useless to somebody what knows the country. I'd be ashamed to pull one out of my pocket. Same with a compass, lessin' I'm searchin' for somethin' an' I know which way it is from where I'm at. Nothin' spoils a dude's confidence in his guide like seein' him whip out a compass, and rightfully so. Huntin' ain't time to be explorin'. Yer sposed to know the country so you can find yer game. When I go explorin', its warmer, an' I don't need no friggin' game.
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Old 01-04-2004, 08:01 AM
  #26  
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

Hi BeaverJack,

I'm assuming that unless you never hunt a different section of land.....that at some point in your "scouting" you had to set foot on that ground for a "first time"....at least once. And of course if you ever hunt out of state for the first time....you've haven't seen it before. And then of course there are those of us that yearn to get out and "explore" places we've never been before...on a regular basis. Not to mention boat trips, plane trips, and maybe even just an unexpected change in environment...that makes taking a known route impassable.....calling for a "new detour".

If you've been hunting the same country all your life....and don't know that section after the first several years...I'd tend to agree with you...you aren't likely to be helped much by any navigational aids. But many people regularly enjoy challenging themselves in new environments. And in these cases the enumerated navigational aids can be indispensable.

The "old timers" didn't have these devices available and usually managed without them. The best of them spent their lives living outdoors and knew wilderness lore like the back of their hands. (Many less experienced people fared less well....."Danner Party" perhaps being one of the more infamous.) Most of the people in the outdoors today....are lucky if they get a week or two dedicated to being outdoors. And many fewer still manage to get that two weeks "straight". So there is a very definite need for these tools.

Hey elknut1.....I never intended for any one to interpret my comments to mean that the GPS isn't the more precise and/or useful tool. Only that I don't entirely trust it well enough yet to be my "only" navigational tool. And that if "forced" to choose "only" one.....it would have to be the compass with topo map. Short of my breaking the compass (I have an M2 mil spec compass) which would be a feat in itself....it will always work (plus I have a smaller, less elaborate spare either on my wrist....or affixed to my clothing). But even if I lost it or broke it....I'd still have the topo. Could I lose them both? Yea...but if we start playing that scenario then we have to assume we would have lost the GPS and batteries. GPS are wonderful tools....but have not yet reached the point that they are as "bulletproof" as a good compass. Close maybe....but not quite. And the batteries are the real "achilles heel". You can carry spares, and should, but even a dozen batteries are not an infinite supply. And for the people most dependent upon a GPS, they are the same people that will leave the GPS "turned on" all the time. Thus even further reducing battery life.

But like I said in an earlier post...for those that travel off road for vast distances like Alaska and some other western states.....some ATV's are now being equipped with GPS "built in the system". So the issue of battery life may well be "less and less of an issue".

In the final analysis....any one that regularly spends time outdoors (further than the back forty).....or any one traveling to destinations unknown, have everything to gain by knowing how to use both GPS, and map and compass. (And I think that is how it will remain until we have chips implanted in our bodies that are powered by body heat and capable of instantly downloading "maps" into a receiving device!)

That last sentence will start a "whole new thread of debate"!
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:49 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

AK,
Humans are already more "borg" like (StarTrek) than they may to care to admit:

Optics enhance vision, embedded microchips allow basic vision, hearing aids enhance hearing, radios enhance communication, gps overwhelmingly enhances navigation, orthopedic surgery builds/rebuilds skeletons, plastic surgery implants correct natures mistakes (one of my favorites ) and this here internet forum/chat room is a crude beginning of the "hive mind" and your being able to connect to the "collective".

That which is now "mounted" on the outside may well work its way to the "inside" over the next 100 years.

EKM
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Old 01-04-2004, 10:00 AM
  #28  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

BJ

I've noticed some of your comments in the past indicate you hunt very open terrain and probably it's a place you've hunted most your born days. Well I too hunt this same area now for 13 years, I feel I know it pretty good. But by god most the time you can't see out worth a dang. If you hit an elk in this country and he's down there's a very good chance you ain't going to return to it without some sort of aid. I mean it's that thick and twisted with small steep fingers running every direction, no main draws or creeks here. I've left several bugles and articles of clothing over the years and am still yet to find them. And I've hunted this area 13yrs. Now I'm not stupid, but it seriously is that tough to find a spot you'd like to come back to, you won't do it without flagging or using a GPS. I don't use them for just getting into or out of the woods, but if I had to, I wouldn't let pride get in the way of good sense. Come over and hunt a weekend where I do, or just tag along, it'll make a believer out of you real quick. This is big roadless country, we cover 2 to 7 miles each way everyday, and yes we take an elk now and then, and it's sure nice to be able to go back and find them without flagging.
Better yet maybe I should head over your way and hunt some of that open country where apparently it's a lot easier to negotiate. No horses though! elknut1


akbound

I see where you're coming from, and you make some good points. I'm just not one to concern myself with trivial things like what if I forget it or lose it, etc. elknut1
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Old 01-04-2004, 10:39 AM
  #29  
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

Hey elknut1,

Pllluuuueeeaaasssseee.....invite me!!! I'd love to go elk hunting with ya! And if we decide we "might not find our way back to it"....let's just set up camp right there until we eat the whole dang thing! I'm about "done with" finding my way back to "civilization"!

Seriously though....I have unfortunately forgotten things before.....(seem to be doing it even more often lately).....so I make lists before I travel anymore. I just believe in redundancy in systems. Especially in something as important as navigation. I personally think the GPS is the biggest improvement in navigation in the last three or four centuries. It has made precision in navigation possible that wasn't even dreamed of before, (for all the reasons you've mentioned). And it improves all the time. (I just have this slight mistrust of anything that runs on batteries.....as my "only" system.) But I absolutely agree with you on its incredible utility...and again as I said earlier....would never choose to go without one!

My comments regarding choosing the map and compass....are only in regard to "keeping in the spirit" of the original question. If only one could be available. For all the tasks that the GPS does extremely well....none in essence are "more important" than enabling you to "find your way out". And for that "most critical" of all navigational tasks...your "tools" should be as fool proof as possible. Recovering your downed animal becomes unimportant....if you can't first find your way out!

So in summation....I think we both agree that the GPS is a far more capable tool than a compass. Or even a compass with a topo map. I think we both agree we'd never choose to "head out" without a GPS and spare batteries. I think we are in agreement that having the skills to use navigational tools are important. And I'd venture a guess that we both agree that having a topo map and compass along would go a long way towards insuring that we have "covered our bases" in case of unseen contingencies. So...in essence we are in agreement!

Dave

P.S. And I agree with you that I have seen terrain "so tough" that it is nearly impossible to find your way back to an exact spot in a timely manner...except by mere accident.
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:43 PM
  #30  
Typical Buck
 
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Default RE: GPS or Compass, which do you prefer?

I'm glad you brung up ol' timers an' their ability to live without gadgets. Seems to me, folks are losing lots of skills that used to be part of a hunters set of skills. Not jus' dead reckoning and finding their way in unfamiliar places, but also stalkin' skills, survival skills, shooting skills. You name it. We're replacing the traditional part of hunting with techno crap, making it a lesser endeavor in the process. Tell me, who can really take pride in a trophy gained with such gadgetry? No thanks, I'll keep relyin' on my injun nose an' my open sights. I ain't never been more an' "bewildered" in new country, dark timber or badlands. Hell, if I was to git too temporarily bewildered, I'd jus' look at it as a chance to catch up on my fishin' while I ponder whether I really wanna go anywhere else at all.
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