John's Journal...


Be Lost No More

Click here to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: In preparing for turkey season, you can't know where you'll hunt. The tom himself will dictate the place you'll hunt, the type of terrain you’ll have to cross, and how wet you'll get before you return to your truck. During the spring while turkey hunting, I'll usually get lost and need some type of navigational device. The hand-held GPS (global positioning system) will aid your scouting and your hunting turkeys this season.

The GPS receiver solves many problems for the turkey hunter. It allows you to never get lost and to accurately navigate to and from any position in the woods during the day or night.
GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems, satellites that circle the earth and give off signals. Each GPS satellite transmits its precise location (position and elevation) and the start time of the transmission. A GPS receiver acquires the signal and then measures the interval between transmission and receipt of the signal to determine the distance between the receiver and the satellite -- a process called ranging. Once the receiver has computed range for at least three satellites, the receiver's location on the surface of the earth can be determined.

Click here to enlargeEach satellite transmits two types of data, almanac and ephemeris. Almanac data is general information on the location and health of each satellite on the constellation. Since it contains general information, an almanac can be collected from any satellite. A receiver with a current almanac in its memory knows where in the sky to look for satellites, given its last known position and the time of day. Ephemeris data is the precise satellite positioning information that is used for ranging. Each satellite transmits its own ephemeris data. Both almanac and ephemeris data are required for a GPS receiver to locate and acquire satellites quickly and compute a position fix. GPS produces accuracies of about 27 yards or better. A GPS receiver will bring you within visual range of a destination or a target. GPS remains the best available source of accurate, repeatable navigation and positioning information.

Click here to enlargeWith most GPS receivers, you can log waypoints, either by number or name, that remains in the memory of the receiver until you either delete it or change it. Regardless of your distance from a waypoint, the computer can calculate the direction you need to travel and the distance from it. Today airplanes, rental and luxury cars and the military utilize GPS.

Before I had my first hand-held GPS receiver, I got lost
about three times every turkey season. Although I consider myself a good woodsman, I hunt turkeys in several states each year, rarely hunting the same place twice. When my host drops me off at my hunting location before daylight, he usually tells me, "you can hear the bird gobble from here. We'll pick you up about 11:00 a.m." Having a compass doesn't help me if I don't know my location, which way the roads run or where I need to go. But when and if I do hear a turkey gobble, I'll go after him. I'll often have to reposition myself three or four times or perhaps even hunt for a bird that doesn't gobble. By 10:00 a.m., I can't find the road where my host dropped me and may spend much of my hunting time trying to locate my pick-up point.

Click here to enlargeHowever, since I've used a GPS receiver, I don't get lost. When I climb out of my vehicle in the morning, I get a fix on my position. I store that fix as a waypoint in the receiver. When I get ready to come out of the woods, I simply pull up the waypoint and hit the NAVIGATE button. The GPS receiver informs me of the distance to the car by the shortest route, and an arrow points to the direction I need to walk. As I move toward the car, the GPS receiver tells me how long walking to the car will take me at that speed.




Check back each day this week for more about SPACE-AGE GOBBLERS

Day 1 - The First Time I Used Space-Age Technology to Hunt Turkeys
Day 2 - Be Lost No More
Day 3 - Hunt Non-Pressured Gobblers
Day 4 - GPS Your Hunt Plan
Day 5 - Give a Turkey to a Friend



Entry 289, Day 2