Scouting Chapter One
Still hunting that burned out old site? We have discovered that there is a Hi-Tec way of locating new hunting sites. All it takes is a good laptop computer, a few good programs and reference CD-ROMs.
We just got in from a scouting trip and found two great sites. The temps were over 100 degrees with no wind so we opted to wait until fall before returning. Here are the methods that I employed to find the places.
You need a laptop computer and a fairly fast one too. You should go to the local Wal-Mart store and buy the best deal of the century… The Trailer life CD-ROM. This will show all of the continental USA and zoom into a super close up with road names. The wonderful thing about it is that it will find long lost Ghost towns that have faded into the past. It also will even show dirt trails!! We hunted old Port Sullivan a while back and the program showed the dirt trails that led back to the river and to the hunting sites. I would say that is hard to beat!
To add to that be sure to include Delorme’s “Street Atlas 6” It will have much more detail and it will tell you the names of any river or creek as you move the cursor across it. It will also give you the longitude and latitude. It shows street names with the block number! A great help when you are driving around strange country.
Add to that Delorme’s Topo USA CD-ROM. It will draw topographical maps of the entire USA or regional maps of several nearby states. With it you can move your cursor to a suspected site and measure the distance. It is usful when you see that there is an old ghost town five miles southeast of a marker. Take the laptop and measure it exactly and then get the longitude and latitude. Then view a 3D picture of the topographical features. Quite a help to locate old sites!
Then when you are driving there you must, of course, use your Delorme Earthmate GPS to spot your location on the Street Atlas 6 program. You can tell when you have arrived when it matches your selected location. Then if you are hunting old military sites you can run the topographical mapping and find the high ridges and hills. Note all nearby railroads which can be found on the Trailer Life CD. It should save you an enormous amount of hard walking.
Add more of the CD-ROMs on the Civil War if you are looking for relics and then you can run searches on nearby towns for activity during the Civil War. When it all comes together you have the most powerful scouting devices known to man. This is what I have used and my list of new sites is growing ever few weeks.
The CD-ROMs on the Civil War are exhaustive volumes naming creeks, rivers, old towns and trading posts, and also contain maps locating areas of activity.
Once you build your resource then plan your scouting trips when the ground is too hard or winter is too cold. You can even drive in the rain when you cannot hunt otherwise. As you drive on your scouting trip be sure to stop at all of the little country libraries and ask to see the old maps and the local history of the area. Most towns have these and you will quickly accelerate your spots of interest that you want to scout. Take your time and you may find that scouting is as much fun as finding. It is a game chasing these old sites. The old ghost town that I found was described in an internet article on our state history.
As you drive along near the old sites look for remains visible on the ground like old bricks, flashes of broken glass reflecting in the sun or overgrown areas like the remains of an old home. Look especially at the very large trees that might be a home site or a campsite. Remember in the old frontier the Indians were on the prod and out to steal horses and often kill early settlers. The pioneers built on high mounds and hills near water so that they could keep a watch out for Indians. You can make use of the topographical maps to locate them.
We have all this on the laptop and much more. I always share my methods for anyone to use and some of these tips are worth a lot to real hunters who can bridge the gap that has stopped them from finding those old places before. Get the state of the art programs and leap that gap! The world is changing and to lead the pack you need to be ready to find your new treasure grounds with all the best equipment. Be sure to ask permission before you charge over the fence as you see exciting spots. It is easy to do and worth your while to do it. Those hunters that cross those gray lines cause us all grief. Do things right the first time and be glad you did!