Are you searching about how to read topo maps for deer hunting? If you are a hunter, you must know that deer are not easy to hunt.
Deer hunting can be challenging if you are doing it just as a sport, but if one has the patience, courage, grit, and equipment like deer hunting binoculars, it’ll be well within reach.
Knowing how to read topo maps is the first step to being a better deer hunter. The perfect gadget, gear, or skill is not enough for deer hunting. You should also know how to read topographic maps to be skilled at deer hunting.
You must be thinking about what a topo map is. Or you may already know topo maps. If you ever happen to hunt with any pro hunter, they must have used a topo map, but you were not aware of its use at that time. For using topo maps for deer hunting, let’s first tell you what a topo map or topographic map is.
Topo Maps & Contour Lines for Deer Hunting
A map representing Earth’s surface is known as a topo map. The topographic map is a map that analogizes the 3D space of Earth into a 2D representation.
A topo map shows the precise and errorless illustration of artificial and natural features on the earth such as roads, elevations, rivers, lakes, hills, valleys, geographical names, etc.
Topo maps use contour lines. These contour lines also represent terrain features. Walking along a contour line keeps you safe, and you will not drop off your path.
Importance of Reading a Topo Map for Deer Hunting
Why are topo maps useful during deer hunting? What are tips for deer hunting? How can you hunt deer successfully by using a topo map? Reading topo maps during deer hunting is dominant as the hunter gets a three-dimensional view of the landscape using a topo map.
Hunters can illustrate elevation changes by using a topo map for deer hunting, and thus they can locate peaks, valleys, slopes, etc. Topo maps can help you find areas for hiding or scouting. Topo map helps you find wooded areas so you can hide and be safe there while waiting for the deer to show up.
You can also find the fields, meadows, pasturelands, and heavy-leaved areas where the deer can mostly be found. While you have a topo map, you would know where to stand, where to be, what to expect, what to avoid, and how to be safe.
Reading a topo map may not be relatively easy. But now, let’s get straight to learning using a topographic map. While searching for a deer, the hunter may already know copious methods, tricks, and systems to captivate a deer towards them. Whereas a few try to get them using a topo map.
The reason is that a topographic map for deer hunting is complicated, most hunters haven’t tried searching for a deer through this modus operandi. Learning to read a topo map is not as difficult as many think. However, it can provide a hunter with many benefits.
Now, as you know what a topo map is and its importance for deer hunting, it is time for you to learn how to use it.
Rules of Topo Map for Deer Hunting
The information you gathered from a topo map can be increased if you follow a few easy rules of the topographic map. This information will also guide you to interpret the features of any landscape.
1. Contour Lines do not Cross Eachother on Topo Maps
In a topo map, contour lines neither cross each other nor divide. They don’t intersect each other because they show different elevations. And thus, it is impossible to have more than one elevation at the exact location. Contour lines do not split.
2. Measurement of Steepness of Slope on Topographic Maps
In the case of contour lines, the closeness of the contour lines shows the steepest terrain or slop. The slope remains constant if the space between the contour lines stays the same and has no changes.
However, the slope may also vary with the change in distance between the lines. If we subtract the lowest elevation from the highest, we can find how steep the slope is.
3. Direction in which Stream is Flowing
We know that water flows from the higher surface toward the lower surface. Similarly, the river flows downhill perpendicular to the contour line above it in topography.
The “V” shape contour line always points the uphill. With its help, the ground can determine the elevation to which the water will flow.
4. Spacing of Contours on Topo Maps
Close contours often indicate a steep slope. Contour lines never end at some random point instead, they form irregular circles. A cliff is indicated when two or more contour lines merge.
You can also approximate the stream gradient if you count the number of contours crossing a segment of a stream.
5. Concentric Circles on Topographic Maps
In a topographic map, hills, hilltops, and depressions are designated by concentric circles. If the contour lines are in closed loops, it is indicated as a hill. If the loops are more minor, then there is a higher elevation, and if the loops are more significant, there is a downhill.
6. Elevation between Contour Lines
The elevation between two contour lines is always less than the value of the higher contour line. Above sea level, elevation refers to height in feet or meters.
Features of Topo Maps for Deer Hunting
Different maps show different features such as roads, buildings, water, cities, parks, and many other locations. However, topographic maps show elevations, contour lines, forests, woods, various boundary lines, and power transmission lines.
Topo maps not only give you locations and directions, but once you get hands-on reading them, they will make you visualize 3D terrain from a flat piece of paper.
Mechanism of Reading Topo Maps for Deer Hunting
Topo maps use these three mechanisms to describe the terrains:
1. How to Read Contour Lines on Topo Maps
Contour lines make a topographic map unique, so knowing how to read them can make your deer hunting awesome and easier. You can get a good sense of what a terrain looks like by looking at how the contour lines spread out and come together.
The slope is mellow if the contour lines are not close enough, which means the slope is steep. The map user must learn to visualize the shape of the ground and surface by using contour lines.
If the contour lines form small circles, it shows a peak at that area.
There are also some thick lines known as the “INDEX LINES.”In a topo map, every fifth contour line is thicker than the others and is called an index line. An elevation is written at some point on every Index line.
The contour interval is shown in feet. Suppose your map has written a 40ft contour interval, which means that each contour line is 40ft away vertically from the following contour line on the hill.
2. How to Understand Scale on Topo Maps
The topographic map usually shows the distance details by their scale. The scale for each map is written in the upper right corner or sometimes below the map. For example, if your map shows a scale of 1” = 15,000”, that means that 1inch on the map would be 15,000 feet in reality. In simple words, if, according to your map, you are 1 inch away from our destination, that means you are still 15,000 feet away.
A map showing a small area with more details usually has a large scale, while a large area with few details has a small scale. There’s also another scale showing a relative distance of a mile or a kilometer on a topographic map through which you can figure out how far the peak is.
3. How to Read the Symbols & Colours on Topo Map
The legend of a topographic map is prepared to understand the whole map and help the reader. It is a kind of user guide where various symbols, lines, and colors are defined which are used on the map.
The idea is that there is dense vegetation in reality, where there is a darker color on the map. The colors get lighter as you come to the peaks because of the forest thinning out there. The blue lines show the rivers and lakes.
Some Points to Ponder – Topo Maps for Deer Hunting
Along with these symbols, other essential pieces of information on your topographic map can sometimes be on the reverse side. These include the details about the contour lines and the latest date of the map revision. After having all this knowledge, you are now ready to visualize your whole hunting trip before starting.
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