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Anyone good at reading topo?

Old 06-07-2013, 06:06 AM
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Spike
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Default Anyone good at reading topo?

I have a new area to hunt 2 hours away. It's a ridge and I'm used to hunting fields so I'm lost. I have a pic of topo but don't know what I'm looking at. Can someone point me in the right direction on where to look for stand locations? It's far away and any time I can save would be awesome. Thank you
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:38 AM
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I’m no expert on this, but here’s what I’m seeing—I write this as if you’ve never seen a topo map. Skip down to the last paragraph if you know the basics:


Notice the two creeks running north-south. Look to the one on the east and just west of it is a brown line. That’s an elevation line. Just to the east of that is another with “1100” marked on it. That’s 1100 ft. above sea level. There’s also another line marked 1200 for that elevation. The other lines are the increments in between. The closer they are, the steeper a slope. The farther away, the flatter it is.

You’ll notice the lines often form shapes like this: < or >. They may face any direction. Those are ravines and gullies. If you go to east of the intersection of the two black lines, you’ll see one. The ravine runs eastward down toward the eastern creek. Notice on the other side of the “crosshair,” they run the other direction, though they aren’t pronounced.

Along the vertical crosshair, you’ll see a couple of circles and one enclosed, weird shaped figure. The “15” actually touches a long arm of it. These are high points. On other pieces of ground, they can be depressions. You just have to figure that out based on elevation markings.


What excites me about this map is that on either side of the ridge is a ravine and they come close together right about the center of the “cross hairs. One runs east toward a creek, the other west toward another creek. North and south are two high points, one of which is green (woods), and the other is white (meadow or crops). The lower ground in between is a saddle, a natural travel route. Deer traveling across the ridge will likely use it to use it to get up and down the slopes of the ridge, and perhaps to graze that open field. I bet you’ll find good trail there at the very least. I’d also figure they’d bed high and move down to feed in the bottoms.

Last edited by Father Forkhorn; 06-07-2013 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:48 AM
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Great explanation Forkhorn.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:40 AM
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Spike
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Thank you. That helps. So basically where that little crosshairs is I should start my scouting u think?
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:44 AM
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Aerial photo. Not really a meadow maybe just thinner woods
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:06 PM
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Jackpot!!!

In the aerial photo, note the power line or pipeline that’s cut NW-SE. Find a trail that intersects it and set up down wind. There may be more than one trail so set up down wind of as many as you can, including the best looking one. Set up so you can give yourself a good shot and see up and down the length of that cut.

A cut like that is golden. Deer will often stop right at the edge and look around before crossing, maybe even browse a bit as there’s often new growth to nibble. Have more than one set up for morning, evening and different winds. It looks like roads go close to either end, so accessing it in the dark would be possible.

The ponds may be important, especially in a dry year. Also, some of the surrounding fields may hold crops that are food sources. Try to figure that out ahead of time. Set up on the trails leading into them, closer to the food in the evening, and closer to the bedding areas in the morning.

Another other thing jumps out at me. One is the area that I thought was a meadow. The reddish foliage (picture taken in the fall?) suggests a different species of tree/shrubs than the rest of the area—which would be logical if it was once grass. And has started to revert to forest. I wouldn’t be surprised if its sumac or maple. Deer eat both. Definitely worth checking out if you have time.
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:59 AM
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Spike
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Awesome thanks a lot. That power line actually has a nice shelf towards top of ridge I noticed when I was there last. Maybe that would be a good location?
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:21 AM
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You might be good right where your marker is...close to water and off the power/pipeline clearing. Id walk down the pipeline see where some deer highways are and go in 20-30yds with a shooting lane.

also topo maps the closer the lines the steeper the hill.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:00 AM
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Spike
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That marker is actually where the cabin is. My in laws live there year round. But deer do cross driveway to get to pond though. Haha
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:02 AM
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I've walked the power line and its hard to believe but no used trails I could really see. I'd think they cross though because its a large tract of woods on other side of it as well. I'm gonna put a couple cameras there to see what's shakin
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