How'd you get into GPS?
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  1. #1
    Gun Wizard
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    How'd you get into GPS?

    I forget the year (back in mid '90s) but it went like this for me. I had a cow tag for elk in the Savage Run Wilderness of the Medicine Bow Forest, Snowy Range, Wyoming.

    I was stillhunting (what else?) a big, forested ridge watching below me well into the day when I spotted an elk head seemingly suspended in a ray of sunlight. To make a long story a little shorter, I shed my pack and belly crawled down the ridge toward the elk. At about 50 yards I slid into the divot left by the root-wad of a small pine tree that had blown over. It was like a foxhole with a small berm. After catching my breath I peeked over the edge.

    I could see six or eight cows and calves, and a nice bull bedded below me, chewing their cuds. Remember, I had an antlerless-only tag. I studied the group and picked a cow that did not appear to have a calf at her side. She was bedded, facing away with only neck and head exposed. I aimed for the base of the skull and squeezed off the shot from my Rem. 700 Mtn. rifle in .280 Rem.

    All he!! broke loose at the shot. Elk came out of the woodwork. Instantly, about twice as many elk were up and trotting straight at me. The shot had echoed off the facing ridge, confusing them. About the time they got even with my position they all stopped, several on either side. The bull followed and stopped right in front of me, peeing on himself and looking generally clueless. I had ten or fifteen elk, including a very nice bull, within spitting distance. I remember thinking, "If I wanted you, Big Boy, you'd be mine!"

    Then the senior cow decided to move on. They all fell in line and trotted off over a wrinkle in the ridge behind and above me, the bull bringing up the rear. Suddenly I was alone in the quiet and the dappled sunlight. It was like a dream. I thought, "Oh, sh!t, what if I missed the head shot?"

    Slowly I walked down-slope and there she lay, as if she had just fallen asleep. What a relief!

    I got her all quartered up and hung the pieces on a deadfall that slanted up off the ground. It was late afternoon. I started back out to the truck, about a mile. As I went I hung strips of old, white, T-shirt on tree branches and made notes in a small spiral notepad. It was near sundown when I reached the truck and drove home for the night.

    The next day was another beautiful, Indian Summer day in the Rockies. My wife went with me to pack out the meat. We followed my notes and rags until we came to a dead-end: no meat and no more rags in sight. The woods looked familiar but where was the meat? We worked up and down the ridge, back and forth...nothing. I was getting pretty confused. It was like an old episode of "The Twilight Zone." (Some of you aren't old enough to remember that TV show.)

    Finally, I told Mary, "Stand right here by the last rag. I am going to drop off the ridge to the bottom. If I don't see something familiar, I don't know what we are going to do." I walked about 15 yards to where there was a line of "Christmas Trees" that blocked the view below, and stepped through them. There, not 20 yards away, were five bags of meat hanging in the slanted deadfall. From that point on it was old fashioned backpacking to get the meat out to the truck.

    That was in October. I told my father (who lives in Missouri) the story of the "lost meat" and come Christmas I had a first-generation GPS (Magellan) unit. Dad figured I needed it!

    That unit is long retired but it and subsequent units have (almost) avoided repeats of the "lost elk meat" story.
    DWB, 4Charlie, Justducky and 8 others like this.
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  2. #2
    Gun Wizard
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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I have used my GPS to mark game down, game hot spots in dense timber, and the location of my rig. Especially in bad weather. It works great and saves a lot of time. I always carry a compass too.
    John

  3. #3
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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I was scheduled to hunt Elk and Deer in Colorado and was given the GPS coordinates of where to meet my hunting party. After driving 1400 miles I got there a day ahead of everyone else and set up camp about 100 feet from where the others had camped the year before. That was with a cheap Garmin etrex. I have had one with me every time I hunt since that day. It has been great to be able to get back to stands in the dark and to find down game after dark.
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  5. #4
    Deadeye
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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I use mine to mark holes when ice fishing(for the next year), dead elms when hunting morel mushrooms(in the fall when they're turning gray) downed game, tree stands (that I look for before daylight) and many other activities in the out-of-doors. I take a way point when leaving the truck. Possibilities are endless? Mine is an old Garmin III.
    Steve
    "The Original Point and Click Interface was a Smith & Wesson." Life member of NRA, USPSA, ISRA, AF&AM #294, LIUNA #996 for the past 34 years now retired!

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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I have hunted the wilderness areas on Montana all my life and know from personal experience that I am capable of getting lost in the garden. After hunting for a day in Idaho with a Montana elk tag (I walked of the wrong side of the ridge in a snow storm), I bought a GPS. Dense timber and frequent cloudy skies and the nature of the mountains mean that my wife insists that I hunt with a GPS (She never seems to think of the life insurance. I'm worth more dead than alive). I like the Garmin Vista and have all the topo maps of my hunting areas in it. It is nice to be able to hunt and find my way back to the truck, camp, or horse. I like not having to flag my way back to a kill, knowing how to get to a favorite spot, and being able to determine the direction and distance to the beer cooler. My internal compass has never worked and I still carry a Silva just in case the 6 spare batteries in my fanny pack wear out. My only complaint is the low resolution of the Garmn topo maps. My old Delorian maps had 25 feet between contour lines.
    Tim
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  7. #6

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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I got the first GPS unit to hit the local Wally World, some where around 92 or 93 I think. Garmin GPS 40, IIFC it was near $400. I still have it and it still works as good as ever. It's got a little bad spot on the screen but that's it. I've marked everything I come across (just like an old dog), use it mostly for marking fishing spots in Baja from San Felipe to LA Bay. One of my pards has a 76CSX and there is not 2 feet difference between them spot for spot.

    D R
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  8. #7
    Banned
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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?

    I'm a gadget freak. So, getting a GPS was a forgone conclusion. You should see the nifty coffee makers I have.

  9. #8
    Wrangler
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    Re: How'd you get into GPS?


    didn't think I'd need one .... I never go that far into the boonies that I can't find my way out again, not too adventuresome in that way.

    then I went hunting one day with a pal and we walked down a canyon with a lot of small creekbeds. No biggie. But on the way back uphill we couldn't figure out which creekbed was the correct one. We got back to the car no problem, but we walked an extra few miles we didn't need to walk.

    bought a bottom-of-the-line Garmin eTrex soon after that and discovered how easy life can become with a few more ounces of technology.

    Cheers,

    Carl
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  10. #9
    Gun Wizard
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    Took a trip from Wisconsin to Worcester, MA in 2001 to meet my sister in law from Austin so her and my wife could do some genealogy. I'd been toying with the idea of buying a GPS and after looking at a street map of Worcester I ordered the Street Pilot III from Garmin. I called my sister in law and told her to email me the addresses of all the places she wanted to go, and I received a list of a dozen places in and around Worcester. I got online and converted the addresses to coordinates and sent them to the GPS. That trip went so smooth I was sold and haven't used a paper map since. I'm on my forth GPS for the car and added three handhelds to my collection.
    gunscrewguy likes this.

  11. #10
    DWB
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    Thanks, Wyostillhunter... Great story. I can almost smell the elk, hear the pounding of hooves, and feel the recoil of your .280 in your writing...
    gunscrewguy and Kendawg like this.


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