Using Historical Imagery to pick apart the shadows

Photo credit: Sam Sarbacher

Satellite imagery is taken throughout the year at various times and at various angles. Because of this, not all images are created equal and just because a new image was taken does not necessarily mean that it will be used. Often, images may be tossed due to snow cover, cloud cover and other reasons. These do slip through from time to time, but are generally taken care of by the time we begin our e-scouting endeavors. One thing that you will commonly see on a map, though, is heavily shaded slopes. At times, these shadows can nearly black out the terrain and trying to see vital detail in these areas can be a challenge.

This is where GOHUNT’s Historical Imagery comes into play since usually a quick change in date on the map will reveal all of the details under the shadows.

Learn more about how to use Historical Imagery here

But first, a hidden benefit of shadows

Before you go cursing shadows and changing the date, keep in mind that many of these shadowed areas could be exceptional bedding areas! Use these big black spots on the map to identify potential bedding areas and then use Historical Imagery to dissect the landscape and hone in even more on potential areas.

Examples of clearing shadow cover with Historical Imagery

Clearing the shadows from your map is as simple as turning on GOHUNT’s Historical Imagery tool and then scrolling through the library of available mapping tiles.

In the above image, I am looking at some high desert mule deer country where timber can be a premium at times and deer tend to bed in the smallest and most out-of-the-way spots. Picking apart this terrain will be crucial as I look for small cliffs and tucked away locations.

After cycling through some of the historical images, I landed on an incredible image that allows me to view every nook and cranny on this ridge.

With even more digging, I discover on an earlier image that has marginal shadows and actually reveals a ton of excellent spots to focus glassing efforts on!

Shadows on your imagery can be annoying; however, by utilizing some of the tools we have on GOHUNT Maps and applying some basic deer knowledge I can quickly break this area down and lean in on specific spots for locating game.

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. You can find everything needed to have your best season ever with a GOHUNT membership. You can also check out our maps and research tools on a 7-day free trial.

Learn what a GOHUNT Membership can do for you here


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