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isitseasonyet?
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Basic navigation

Unread postby isitseasonyet? » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:17 pm

So getting in and out of the woods can sometimes be a challenge, and I believe all of us have gotten turned around a time or two.

I usually navigate public areas using my gps, that way I can easily find my way out in the dark. This weekend my gps died and I realized that I lack some basic navigation skills. I feel comfortable in the woods, but this easily could have gone wrong. When there is daylight I can typically see landmarks and navigate that way, or even a bright moonlit night I can still see some landmarks. But sometimes with tall cattails or cloud cover I just can’t make out that tree in the distance. Luckily I have a compass pin on my safety harness for this occasion where my gps is dead. I knew my truck was parked to the south east of where my stand was. So I just set out on a beeline guided by the compass eventually made it to the road and then walked to my truck.

Does anyone have any tips about basic navigation to help someone like me out? Or did I do the right thing?


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Jackson Marsh
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:29 pm

I'd say you did just fine. I always make a mental note which direction the parking area, drainage ditch/creek, road, hiking path. Once you know that you are good without a gps as long as you have a compass. I also use those pin on ones, although they sometimes like to pop off, so a small spare is a good idea to keep in the pack.

I know the feeling of not being able to see in 8 foot tall cattails in the pitch dark. Once you do it a few times, you lose the uneasy feeling and trust the compass. It does really suck if you miss the trail in the cats and have to bust trail. In thick cats it can be horrible.
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Brandonkinchen » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:05 am

I have walked in the dark 2 miles without any GPS and went right where I was headed. It was because I paid attention during the day as I was walking. I've also walked 100 yards to a stand and it took me 30 min because I walked circles. I didn't pay attention in the light and got all turned around. Now when I go into a new area I often stop and turn around to see what the woods look like so I can identify landmarks when I'm on my way out.
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Abishai » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:23 am

I think you did pretty good too.

I think most of us today have an over-reliance on technology. Night landnav is considerably more difficult than day landnav. A few things might help in case your electronics go down that are fairly cheap, easy to use, and might be invaluable.

A compass. A paper map of the area you're hunting. Ranger beads to help track your walking distance.
"If you want to catch beasts you don't see every day, you have to go places quite out of the way. You have to go places no others can get to. You have to get cold, and you have to get wet, too." --Dr. Seuss
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:57 am

Abishai wrote:I think you did pretty good too.

I think most of us today have an over-reliance on technology. Night landnav is considerably more difficult than day landnav. A few things might help in case your electronics go down that are fairly cheap, easy to use, and might be invaluable.

A compass. A paper map of the area you're hunting.Ranger beads to help track your walking distance.


Agreed. Definitely have a compass and a paper map. A pin on compass is not a true navigation compass. It doesn’t have the precision a true nav compass has.

Check with F&W or Cabelas. They usually have free navigation classes.

When in doubt believe your compass.

Bob
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Dewey
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Dewey » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:09 am

So many guys these days don’t know basic navigation skills. A hunter got lost in a local marsh AGAIN. :doh:

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/loc ... 479130002/
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headgear
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby headgear » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:25 am

You did just fine, that is exactly how I navigate all the time. I know the land and picture it in my head, pick a direction and stick to it. With that said I usually have an exit plan for every hunt and a backup plan. Sometimes it is easier to take the long way out if I can follow a transition line or get to a trail. If I do get lost then I know so and so trail or road is 1.5 miles this way. I always have my phone with me and even turn it on from time to time but most of my hunts I don't need it. Also don't forget a backup compass, I've had several of those little ball compass lose the liquid and become useless. When going way back or to a new spot that first half hour is the most important, you can still see a little so trying to get to somewhere you know is important. Also early season is always the worst, crazy thick and leaves block everything.
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Jackson Marsh
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:27 am

Dewey wrote:So many guys these days don’t know basic navigation skills. A hunter got lost in a local marsh AGAIN. :doh:

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/loc ... 479130002/



Next time I kill a buck back in the thick and nasty I'm calling the sheriff's department and telling them I'm lost :lol:
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:04 pm

Jackson Marsh wrote:
Dewey wrote:So many guys these days don’t know basic navigation skills. A hunter got lost in a local marsh AGAIN. :doh:

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/loc ... 479130002/



Next time I kill a buck back in the thick and nasty I'm calling the sheriff's department and telling them I'm lost :lol:


Will they take your deer out by helicopter?

That would be worth letting the whole town in on your hunting spot.

Bob
Vegetarian: vejiˈte(ə)rēən/noun: old Indian word for lousy hunter. :o

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Dewey
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Dewey » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:16 pm

Jackson Marsh wrote:
Dewey wrote:So many guys these days don’t know basic navigation skills. A hunter got lost in a local marsh AGAIN. :doh:

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/loc ... 479130002/



Next time I kill a buck back in the thick and nasty I'm calling the sheriff's department and telling them I'm lost :lol:

:think:

:shifty:
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isitseasonyet?
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby isitseasonyet? » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:39 pm

Anyone have a good recommendation on what compas to buy? Or will any cheap Walmart/amazon special work?
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby P&YBuck1 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:27 pm

You did a good job of utilizing your back up compass. I took care a compass as a back and the one of choice I use is Silva which has many styles. I believe Brunton is good too.
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby stash59 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:18 pm

Maybe it comes more natural to me, but I go alot by what I see on the horizons and up in the canopy. I actually prefer to not use a light if possible and if one is needed a red lens light. Haven't tried one of the green ones but hear they work similar to a red one. When using a white light your pupils open up too much and you can't see outside of where the light is shining. Sometimes referred to as night blindness I believe.Thus you can't see the horizon or canopy. To keep your direction straight. Knowing where the moon and stars should be helps on clear nights also.

Biggest thing is trusting what your seeing. If your worried about getting out just go slower on the way in, paying attention to the horizon and canopy. If you need to. Stop and look back while doing this. If you have a tricky spot mark it with a log, rock, dead branch or even 1 or 2 reflective markers. 1 or 2 won't give anything away to others. Taking bearings at a tricky spot can work too. If you have alot mark them down in a pad or on the map you may take with.

Biggest thing is to lose the fear us modern day humans have of getting lost. Realizing getting lost or even spending a night out isn't the end of the world. Learning and practicing some basic survival skills can aid with this. Like mature buck hunting. Paying attention to the details can make the difference in getting out in an easy quick as possible fashion. Or having a miserable, confused, anxious and longer than necessary trek.

Buying a good to better quality compass to me is a good investment. I've only bought 2 in my entire life. Both are Silva Rangers. Not sure if they still make them. They were regarded as top of the line back when I bought them. Years ago. They have some extra features that make their use much easier and more accurate. They also came with an excellent instruction pamphlet. Basic compass navigation is actually pretty simple. Even precision compass navigation is far from rocket science. It's actually fun and very satisfying.
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Drenalin
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Drenalin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:46 am

Here's a good thread with compass recommendations:

http://www.thehuntingbeast.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=45867

I'd say you did fine in your situation. I think most guys on this forum are using a phone or GPS for navigation and carrying a little bubble compass as a backup. And for most of us east of the Mississippi, we know that if we walk a certain direction long enough we'll eventually hit a road. That may be good enough for you.

If you want to know what your doing, you'll need to get a good compass and a paper map. Abishai also mentioned ranger beads and I'll second that, but you also need to figure out your pace count before they'll do you any good. Land nav is one of those things that you just have to do to be good at. You can't read an article or a handful of tips on the internet and be proficient. Practice, practice, practice.

One technique that can be helpful is to identify terrain features, bodies of water, etc. that bracket your route. For example, if there's a stream to the east of your north-south route, you'll know if you hit that stream that you're off course. If you're looking for a place where you're supposed to turn, identify something beyond that turn that will tell you you've gone too far, i.e. you start dropping off a ridge and you're not supposed to, you've gone too far.

With any land nav skills or techniques you pick up, one of the most important things is that if you start to feel turned around or confused, just stop and figure it out. Keep your crap together until you figure out where you are, where you need to be, and how you're going to get there. If you work at this, and you know that you know what you're doing, trust your training and don't second guess your map and compass (unless you buy a cheap sticky compass, then you're screwed anyway). If you're going to use a GPS as your main method of navigation, which is fine, really take the time to figure out all the ins and outs on how that thing works. And carry extra batteries.
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Re: Basic navigation

Unread postby Ditz » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:48 am

isitseasonyet? wrote:Anyone have a good recommendation on what compas to buy? Or will any cheap Walmart/amazon special work?


Silva makes good quality compasses.

Dave Canterbury has some good youtube videos on basic land nav using a compass, and using ranger beads.

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