How many waypoints have you dropped and never once looked at the provided "Notes" section? Have you ever wondered what information should be put in there? Why or when would I use this? Well, I am here to help you maximize that part of your GOHUNT Maps on the web or even on their mobile mapping application. Follow along as we break down this in the field feature on GOHUNT Maps mobile and how I have used it.
I'm sure I am not alone when looking at 3D imagery of a landscape not yet ventured and think: "That is only 1,500’ of gain in a 3/4 mile, it can’t be too bad," or "Those topography lines are close but it’s probably doable." Right? Wrong. Many times I have been overly optimistic in my abilities and fooled by e-scouting due to the fact that I can't really relate to it too much. This tip makes up for my naivety and mitigates my chances of biting off more than I can chew before lacing the boots.
Use the "Notes" section to annotate how difficult the hike was to the destination. Things to note would be total distance, gain/loss, pack weight, weather, etc.
Here's an example: "2.2 miles and 1,000’ of gain. 50 lb pack. 50 degrees F and clear. 6/10 difficulty."
Using the "10 scale" for difficulty may seem elementary, but throughout your seasons and recreational hiking, you are slowly building a database of what you're able to physically handle. This gives you an idea of what may or may not be achievable based on current physical readiness. This also gives you the opportunity to keep track of how you felt during recreation/training hikes so you can continue to improve your stamina, enabling you to last longer in the field or travel further along the trail.
Satellite imagery isn't a live view nor continuously updated in some cases although in today’s high demand lifestyle we may expect it to be. Using the "Notes" section to describe the new terrain, trail conditions, weather and hunter traffic will help continue to paint a picture of the landscape when you head back to the drawing board to dissect the area after a scouting trip. Adding how many other hunters you saw and where they came from can also help you decipher where they are coming from to give you an idea of where pressure comes from, which, in turn, isolates areas where game may be laying low away from pressure.
For instance, while e-scouting for mid-rifle season, you see a nice pocket of timber on a north-facing slope at 7,500’, but it will require you to drop off trail, down a drainage and back up the other side to get on the parallel ridge to get glass on it. The current satellite images show it’s fairly clear of obstacles, but when you get boots on the ground and view the drainage, it’s covered in deadfall timber and realistically impassable or will take a long time. You can annotate that accordingly in the "Notes" section.
Example: "Sept 30, 2020. Light snow. No Tell'Um Creek drainage, high amount of deadfall, took 2 hours to reach Elk Ridge 1 mile away. Saw 4 hunters on Peak Ridge, none in target drainage."
You can drop these waypoints in a certain color and use them to organize descriptive features about the area you've been e-scouting for the past couple of months. Make sure to add the date just as a redundancy.
While you can use the data provided from GOHUNT INSIDER to see what buck:doe ratios/bull:cow ratios are, some things may require a more "hands-on" approach for the exact area you will be occupying. While sitting on your rump glassing animals, you can use the "Notes" area to record information about what you are seeing. Make a color for the species spotted and mark where they are seen like you normally would. Then, input information such as: total of animals seen, buck:doe/bull:cow, times seen, mature or adolescent, rut activity, etc.
Example: "Nov 17, 2020. 18 deer seen, 10 does/8 bucks, bucks average 3.5 years old. Seen in AM but not in PM. Only young bucks chasing does."
I will use this method so that way I have all the details of the trip written without having to recall these details by memory. This should help if you find yourself having to keep track of a lot of animals, which is a good problem to have, so why not make it simpler?
Taking full advantage of the features both obvious and hidden in the GOHUNT Maps app is key to finding new areas that hold success. Using the "Notes" section in a waypoint to act as a hunting diary is another way that I'll be using a feature that I honestly never touched in other mapping apps.
Besides adding notes to waypoints on the web or mobile to help detail what you're seeing in the field or anticipate seeing... you can also add notes to "Collections." In the above screenshot, I added some notes on what colors each of my waypoints are for e-scouting, boots on the ground scouting and then what color I will use when I'm out hunting. There's a bunch of other use cases for notes in Collections.
Collections are basically folders. GOHUNT describes them as, "Collections are folders that allow you to organize and plan out your research and actual hunts. By organizing your content, you’ll save time, simplify your life and stay in control of your data. You can organize your information by species, by hunt, or however you want. Waypoints and other content can live in multiple Collections, which eliminates the need for having duplicate information scattered across your maps." Learn more about collections here.
How will you use the "Notes" section in the waypoint features on GOHUNT Maps? Drop your input in the comments below!
Stay safe and hunt hard!