Using Historical Imagery to find and verify well used game trails

Another way to use imagery from different dates to hone in on hunting locations

Dave Barnett

I've been very fortunate in the past few years in that I get to travel to several states a year for out-of-state hunts. However, the summer months are incredibly busy for my family and me between trips to see extended family, work around the house and camping. Most of my scouting for many of my out-of-state hunts is done primarily through e-scouting and landing on potential areas to hunt before I actually arrive in the area is hugely important to me.

Our new Historical Imagery tool on GOHUNT Maps takes my e-scouting efficiency to a whole new level as I’m not pinned to one image from one period of time. One thing I really like to key in on while e-scouting an area in the presence of trails or, more specifically, the presence of historical trails. Historical imagery can clue me in on small details with trails that I could be missing with only one set of imagery. Trails can change over time and can even be hidden by shadows, vegetation, or simply the angle the photo was taken.

Learn more about our Historical Imagery tool here

Examples of historical imagery at work

I drew a Utah deer tag for this season in an area that is incredibly heavy in oak brush. Oak brush grows very thick, very dense and can obscure a lot of what is going on throughout an area when viewing aerial imagery.

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In the example above, I wanted to check out a long canyon with quite a few good openings for glassing and some cross canyon shots. With the current imagery, I can make out a few small faint trail details, but I really want to explore some of our historical imagery options to see what else might be hiding.

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After clicking into the historical imagery tool and scrolling through some of the options, I found this image from Sept. 14, 2016, which shows the area in more of a fall pattern. In this image, I can see the lay of the land much better and can now also see the presence of several trails working across this face.

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Going back even further in time, I find this image from Aug. 10, 2010. The image above isn’t much to look at in terms of color and contrast, but some of the hidden trails really pop now!

Utilizing these images will now give me a great idea of where to focus the bulk of my glassing once I am finally able to step foot in this location.Historical Imagery is a valuable tool on so many levels and, in this case, I was able to solidify my thoughts and feelings on this hillside being a likely spot that I’ll visit this fall. When e-scouting your areas this summer, be sure to always check historical imagery. Sometimes you may not find much, but at other times — just like this — you might find some golden nuggets.

If you’re not familiar with GOHUNT, check out the link below to learn more about everything we cover to make your e-scouting and hunting efforts more successful. Everything you need to have the best season ever can be found with a GOHUNT membership. You can also check out our maps and research tools on a 7-day free trial.

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