From the time humans started hunting for food, they have been improving technology to increase their chance of success. We each develop our own creed as to what works for us.
|A Garmin handheld GPS device and HuntingGPSMap chips by OnXMaps can give hunters a huge advantage in finding out-of-the-way public hunting lands, especially when there’s private land nearby that hunters must navigate around.|
As a general rule, if it increases the likelihood I will make a better shot, resulting in a quicker kill, I am going to look into it. That is not to be confused with the notion that I am a “long-bomber.” For me, hunting is about getting as close to an animal as I can. The closer I get, the better the animal’s senses are at detecting me. And thus, the greater the reward when I am successful.
But no technology can replace common sense. When I’m hunting on public lands out West, I look for the places other hunters don’t want to go. Where hunters like to go, elk don’t. It’s that simple.
I look at a map of a unit and the first thing I do is cross off all areas within a mile of a road or ATV trail. I look for sections of steep grades, maybe only 300’ of vertical that will cause hunters to avoid the benches on top of those steep slopes.
They say 90 percent of the elk are taken by 10 percent of the hunters. I’m not sure if that is true, but the hunters I see taking public land elk on a regular basis don’t rely on luck. They rely on hard work to get away from other hunters. They invest a lot of map time to find those places other hunters don’t want to go. And when they get there, they usually find elk.
Here are a few advanced technologies you might want to consider next time you are in the backcountry on your DIY hunt.
1. Google Earth must have been created by a hunter. It is by far the most useful tool for e-scouting.
2. GPS Mapping/Chips - I was slow to come around to the GPS idea. I was always a map-and-compass kind of guy. Yet, many places I hunt have a mix of public and private lands, so it is not always possible to tell how close you are to private lands with just a compass. A few years back I bought a handheld GPS device and started using the HuntingGPSMap chips by OnXMaps. It is hard to explain how much that changed my hunting and my strategy for tag applications. Those units I previously avoided due to private land are now at the top of my list. I use a Garmin Montanan GPS. I have every map chip from OnXMaps for every state I hunt. If you buy a chip from OnXMaps and use promo code – hunttalk14, you will get a free DVD of our TV show.
3. As much as I strive to get as close as possible before a shot, either rifle or archery, I have grown fond of another piece of technology; the rangefinder. Some may say rangefinders serve to increase shot distances. Maybe, but not in my case. For me, rangefinders serve the purpose of providing accurate ranges, increasing the likelihood that my shot will be true and improving the odds of a quick, humane kill. The vast backcountry where I hunt is not the place to be tracking poorly hit animals.
In the elk mountains, a true ballistic rangefinder is a must for the uphill/downhill shots I often face. My personal favorite is the American-made Leupold RX-1000i TBR rangefinder. It makes distance and elevation a certainty, not a guess and a hope. We owe it to the animals we hunt to do all we can to improve the accuracy of our shots, whether they be arrows or bullets.
Check out this article to see the 7 pieces of must-have hunting gear recommended for your next do-it-yourself public land big game hunt at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.