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Finding coyotes on a map – it takes practice!

So, we know we need to get out and do some exploring and scout new ground.  But how do we choose a starting point?  How do we make the most efficient use of our time and our gas money?  Every successful public land predator hunter has his own answer to that question.  For me, the answer lies in studying maps.  Or, as I like to call it “Topo Scouting”.

I have enjoyed using topographical maps from an early age.  As a teenager, I was lucky enough to land a summer job working as an assistant to an engineer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  Part of my job was surveying DWR construction sites with my boss (mostly fish hatchery projects).  I “ran rod”, holding the elevation rod while my boss used his old fashioned (even by 1970’s standards) transit and jotted down the coordinates by hand.  Back at the office, he taught me how to plot the coordinates on paper by hand with a protractor, then “connect the dots” to draw an honest to goodness elevation contour line and create topo maps from scratch.  Another task I was assigned that summer was to organize the pile of USGS topo maps the engineering department had.  I had to go through a stack of Utah “quad sheet” topo maps taller than I was, one at a time, to catalog and organize them.  I got to look at detailed topographic maps of the entire state of Utah that summer, as well as travel to many areas to help my boss make new maps.  To say that my map reading skills were high by the end of that summer would be an understatement and it’s a skill I’ve continued to hone and use regularly ever since.

I tell you all this to illustrate that reading a topo map is a skill that takes experience and practice to really get the most out of.  You may not see much value to it, or gain much useful information from map reading at first.  But if you keep at it, you’ll find that the more you study maps of your hunting areas, the more useful information you’ll find yourself able to glean about new areas, simply by looking at a map.  When you get really good at it, you’ll find that topo scouting is half science and half art.  The science is easy to learn.  The art takes a lot of experience to get good at.

< Previous  Next >

Where is a good place to hunt coyotes?
Finding coyotes on a map takes practice!
Finding coyote hunting spots where to start?
Examples of coyote hunting maps
Topo scouting for coyotes wrap-up


Rocky Mountain Varmint Hunter


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