I am a certified map junkie. I do use a GPS when I hunt, but I still prefer the good, old-fashioned map and compass method. For one thing, a GPS is no good for planning your hunt. The screen’s too small, and usually not detailed enough, to take a good look at the country you’ll be hunting and pick out some likely spots to find critters.
Especially when I am going to a new area for the first time, I spend hours looking at a map and marking places I think might hold some game. I think about ways to get to those spots, based on the contour lines. I come up with contingency plans, in case the wind’s coming from the wrong direction or what looked like a gentle slope on the topo turns out to be a rocky cliff.
For years, I used the USGS topos for this planning. Those are still great maps, but I’ve found something better. Now I go to MyTopo.com and center my map exactly where I want to. That way, I can use one map for my entire adventure, instead of having to go back and forth between two, three, or even four USGS topos, depending on where on the maps I am.
MyTopo maps can be customized by scale and by size, too. You can go with a smaller scale and get more area on the map, or a bigger scale to see more detail. And you can get your maps from 18 by 24 inches all the way up to 5 feet by 8 feet.
The MyTopo maps can be pre-folded, so you don’t have to try to fold them correctly. And they’re printed on waterproof, tearproof paper, so they won’t get all soggy and useless in your back pocket on a long hunt.
You can even get hunt area boundaries printed on them, and you can include the satellite images. And they keep adding options every year. They’re based on the USGS map data, so they’re just as accurate as the old quadrangles. MyTopo just made them even better.