How to Scout for Deer Using Topographic Maps

Topographic Map

When it comes to deer hunting, getting yourself some great hunting equipment like spotting scope and hunting spotlight is not good enough. You have to learn the very task of finding deer. It can be hard in itself, and something that takes up a considerable amount of time. There are numerous ways in which this process can be made easier and more streamlined, and one of these is with the use of topographic maps.

What Is A Topographic Map?

Topographic maps are detailed outlines of the terrain through which one is traversing. These maps are generally well detailed and contain all the information that one would need to discern a particular part of the land. These maps are designed to include everything that would be deemed as notable when on the earth’s surface. In general, topographic maps tend to cover the following:

Man Made Structures

Topographic maps generally have a number of details relating to the man-made structures within a specific area. For example, topographic maps contain the geographic outline of buildings, roads, railways and important places. This also includes the man-made boundaries that have been set up that distinguish places and state lines.

Water Bodies

No map would be complete without a proper denotation of the water bodies in an area and the same applies to topographic maps. These maps generally have an outline of lakes, streams, rivers and even coastal beds.

Natural Formations

One of the biggest reasons why people tend to use topographic maps is because it showcases the natural formations that are often missed on regular maps. Things like mountains, cliffs, and valleys are generally marked on this kind of map.

Vegetation and Terrain

Understanding the terrain is important when passing through any kind of area, and topographic maps can tell you the kind of land and boundaries that you are traversing through. For example, topographic maps can let you know whether you are passing through rocky or grassy land, making you more prepared for the travel.

In addition, a topographic map will always have a key at one of the corners of the map. This is a tool that enables the reader to understand the symbols used to denote different areas and locations on the map. Because a topographic map is still only a 2D representation of an area, it may not be the most accurate and may not outline every detail. However, these maps are still more accurate in terms of the landscape when compared to regular maps.

Understanding the Shapes

Topographic maps generally denote different kinds of terrain with the help of different shapes. Different areas will have different kinds of shapes that explain the area of a region, and understanding these is important.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools online that can help you understand the different shapes and what they mean. If you want to know just the basics, familiarize yourself with what a cliff, gulley, ridge, peak, bowl, and saddle look like.

Scouting For Deer Using Topographic Maps

If you are planning to bring in some big buck during the coming hunting season, knowing how to work with a topographic map is incredibly important. This is especially helpful if you are scouting an area for the first time and make the best use of the time you have to work with.

Scouting on Open Terrain

If you are looking for deer on flat terrain, a topographic map can be one of the best things that you carry along with you. This is something that can help you figure out the best spots that the deer are more likely to be in.

Start out by first looking into the inside corners of the map. If you take a close look at your map, you will notice that some of the terrain forms an L shaped pattern. This generally indicates small pockets of cover that are likely to have a good amount of deer in them.

Water bodies in this terrain make for great hunting spots, especially if located in the inner areas of the map. Animals usually come often to water bodies, making this the perfect place to catch your prey. Swampy land is also one of the prime spots that deer tend to traverse into, and can be incredibly beneficial when trying to narrow down on your prey.

Areas that have dams around the water bodies also tend to be prime spots for hunters to catch deer in. These dams can be even better if they have a funnel-like formation around it since that tends to make the deer feel safer, thereby drawing in larger numbers.

Scouting on The Hills

Hilly and mountainous areas aren’t the most preferred by hunters and are generally skipped out even if they might have a higher number of deer. Many hunters tend to shy away from traversing into this region for two main reasons – one is the area that needs to be covered and the other being the kind of terrain that one has to traverse through. Both these can seem daunting at first, but topographic maps are incredibly useful in these situations.

One of the first parts of the hilly area that you should be looking into is the saddle. A saddle is a part of the land that forms of the lowest point of the ridgeline This is a favorable area to hunt in because of the wind direction that is experienced here.

When it comes to this kind of terrain, another good spot to look at is the piece of land created at the end of a stream or river. This piece of land is usually a plain or pasture and is a place that deer often come to for food or water. Because this can be harder to reach, a topographic map can prove to be useful here by outlining the parts that you can actually traverse through.

There is no doubt that topographic maps can prove to be incredibly useful when trying to carry out any kind of hunting activity, and using these can give you an incredibly successful hunt.