Digital Scouting ... How To and Tips

Discussion in 'Polls, Suggestions, Tips & "How To's"' started by terrierjeep, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. I see a lot of new people are joining us on this forum and think this is great. I also see that a lot of new people are kind of lost on how to get started scouting so I figured we could all pitch in ideas on how to scout from your computer before getting your boots dirty.

    Here are a few tips I have learned over the years:

    First, Google Earth is an amazing program that can be used with pretty good accuracy, it is easy to use, and you can measure distances from "occupied" structures and so forth. On google maps you can even do street view of some areas so its like you are driving there with you leaving home, some times there are pictures from other people tacked to some areas.

    Second, use the search function in this forum. There is a ton of info available if you read through the threads. Sometimes you can get very specific details and other times its pretty vague intentionally. Also, as you participate or make friends here you can get some good info about specific areas if you ask nicely.

    Third, I made a thread a while back explaining how to get free topo maps that you can print out at home using Garmin's Map Source, you don't even need a Garmin gps to use this software either. The thread is here:

    Google search is also a good place to poke around, obviously. Search a species and include "Arizona" with it and it should pull up a good amount of info. Click into the "Images" area and go deeper until you find something useful and cross reference back and forth between other sources.

    Recreational Access Arizona is a fantastic website as well. It overlays unit boundaries, unit numbers, reservations, and other types of land ownership. Here is that website:

    Habimap Arizona is another great resource. I find it a little more difficult to read and use but still something to cross reference. Here is that website:

    Besides looking into maps, make sure you read as much life history of the species you are after. After javelina? Look up everything you can about them. What they eat, when they sleep, when they are active. After ducks? What do they eat, where do they sleep, where are they coming from, where are they going.

    Lastly but not leastly, Arizona Game and Fish website is full of useful information that you NEED to know. You can download the regs to keep on your computer or print out the parts you want to take with you so you know the laws. You can look into specific units and this site give you additional info about each species in that unit as well as other very useful info. Here is their website as well:

    An example of how I have been using this technique this year is my duck fever. I followed the above to get a general idea then I got in the truck and got a first hand account of the areas I wanted to see. The more you get out there, the more you understand access points and such. I also like looking into bird watcher's websites that give directions to areas where photographers and bird watchers like to go. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box to get some good info.

    What else do you guys do to scout from home?

    I hope this helps, feel free to add onto these tips!
    GPaBobo, Vikingknot, Schoom14 and 2 others like this.
  2. Some additional websites I forgot to mention; these are more about weather and planning for the conditions. Obviously weather plays a huge part of scouting and planning a trip. Luckily we have pretty reliable information available to us.

    A quick google search of of the town closest to your prospective area plus the word "forecast" will being up a decent five day forecast of highs and lows and such.

    WindyTv is a neat website that shows the wind conditions in the area you are looking at. I think they get their info from local airports so it should be pretty accurate. I haven't seen if they give a forecast or not though.,-113.239,9

    Accuweather gives a decent map of current perspiration with a two hour loop from Doppler radar. I like watching the storms roll in then looking out the window to compare. The little things make me happy... lol

    Earth (idk if this is the correct name for the site) is a fun website showing global wind in relatively real time. I can't tell you if its accurate but after comparing with the other sites it seems legit.,44.71,340

    I know there are a few more sites out there, maybe some pilots here can add more to this weather list.

    Always plan ahead, be prepared, and stay safe.
    GPaBobo, Vikingknot and Devin like this.

  3. Very nice info. thanks Terrierjeep, looks like a lot of time put into that:)
    I use Google Earth, and this Map tool from Game and Fish..
    You sign up for membership and you get the full version. I also use a Hunting App on my phone.
    Trimble GPS Hunt( they dont make it any more). I have just started using Hunt Stand. Will see how it does:rolleyes:
    terrierjeep likes this.
  4. This is FANTASTIC! This is an area I get stuck on and the information is great to have. This is a great start for me.
    terrierjeep and Devin like this.
  5. Alot of hunters use this info, Good to start with, but boots on the ground is the way to go.
  6. Agreed---need to be boot on, but the maps help to show the way ;-)
    terrierjeep likes this.
  7. great info! google earth and habimap are my go to for pre trips. I also downloaded an app on my phone called "Topo Maps" its only 8 bucks once. it breaks down the state in sections and you can download any area to the map (those downloads are free) and from there it works as a gps. can set points and use without service. all in all boots on the ground is the absolute best way to learn an area but it sure helps having somewhat of an idea before heading out.
    terrierjeep likes this.
  8. This site also lets you overlay cool things like water catchments, guzzlers made by Game and Fish, and all kinds of stuff. Really useful.

    Ill have to check out that hillsmap site too.
    Devin likes this.
  9. Bump for all the news guys joining us. Any one have more sites to add to the list?
    Vikingknot likes this.