John's Journal...

How to Find Deer Land to Hunt

Search for Maps

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Some years ago I almost dropped the telephone receiver when I heard the words, "The landowner has sold the land, and our hunting lease has been cancelled." I'd called the secretary of our hunting club to let him know that I planned to go to our hunting camp three weeks before deer season started to check several of my stand sites and get ready for the opening weekend of bow season. I wanted to scout the areas where I'd taken bucks before, cut shooting lanes and make sure that the deer fed on the same nut trees they had in the past. I enjoy scouting for deer because I consider it the true essence of the sport of hunting. Scouting means learning where the deer feed and bed and which trails they travel on and then predicting where a deer may appear. When you hunt, you actually climb into your tree stand and wait on the shot. But this year instead of scouting for a place to put my tree stand, I had to scout for new land to hunt.

When you lose your hunting land and need to locate new land, consult these places for available maps. Once you have your new land, pinpoint the most productive places to hunt by
studying and marking the maps. You also may find nearby camping sites. Here's a list of some of the places you can search to learn that information.
1) U. S. Geological Survey at
The U. S. Geological Survey, which has mapped the entire United States, has topograpClick to enlargehical maps to scale available that contain line and symbol representations of natural terrain and man-made structures. These maps will aid a hunter in determining where roads, rivers, firebreaks and property lines are on a specific piece of property. Most outdoorsmen prefer the 22" x 27" maps, which depict on a large scale the amount of land a hunter usually can walk in a day. The indexes of the topographical maps name the region covered by each map, the scale available and the year the area was surveyed. These indexes also include lists of special maps that have been made of a place as well as the names and addresses of map dealers, map reference libraries and federal distribution centers.

Topos also can be purchased from companies that usually will ship maps within 48 hours of receiving your order. These companies accept telephone orders and credit cards:

Map Express

Powers Elevation

USDA-ASCS Aerial PhotographyClick to enlarge

EROS Data Center
U.S. Geological Survey



U.S. Geological Survey
Central Region: 303-236-5900
Eastern Region: 703-648-4000
Western region: 650-853-8300

Although topos are a man-made representation of land, aerial photos picture the real thing. Aerial photos show little-used roads and trails, the vegetation in wildlife pockets and the plant density in travel corridors. Too, aerial photos generally contain more current information. The National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP), which has photographed most of the lower 48 states within the past few years, takes aerial photos from an elevation of 20,000 feet. Available in color infrared and black-and-white images, their aerial photos range in sizes from 10 x 10 inches (with a scale of 1:40,000) up to 38 x 38 inches (wClick to enlargeith a scale of 1:9,600). You'll need detailed information to order aerial photos, including the state, county, township and section number if possible.

Local libraries - Many local libraries have sets of topographical maps available as well as order forms and indexes for the maps. Also the library near the place where you plan to hunt may contain maps of that county that are not accessible in other parts of the state.

National Cartographic Information Center

This center is part of the U. S. Geological Survey and is the main source for maps that are produced or distributed by federal agencies, as well as by commercial publishers. Some of the free publications include the "Catalogue of Maps," which describes map types including land-use maps, satellite-image maps, photo-image maps, hydrologic maps and others, "Finding Your Way With Map and Compass" and "Popular Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey." You also can request these pamphlets by calling 1-800-USA-MAPS.

Back-Country Maps -- Over 100 waterproof, tear-resistant maps to the top 50 back-country recreation areas and national parks are available from Trails Illustrated. Combining four to eight USGS topos onto one, these maps are printed on both sides and feature trailheads, addresses for information and more.
For a free catalog, call 800-962-1643, or search:

DeLorme Mapping
State Topos and Back-Road Maps -- DeLorme Mapping has published full-color state atlases, including topographic maps, road detail and jeep trails. You easily can find road or trail access to remote areas with these maps. DeLorme also has completed its Topo USA on CD-Rom which gives you seamless, topographic coverage of all 50 states and includes geographic features like mountains, rivers and canyons and gives you a 3-D aerial view of an entire country. You also can print out these detailed topo maps.

Federal Depository Libraries

By contacting this center, you can receive a list of the public, college and government libraries throughout the U. S. that receive copies of most federal government publications, including maps.

Don't make the same mistake I made when I started looking for alternative lands to hunt once I lost my lease. Take this information, and begin to build a database of all the places you can hunt close to home. You'll discover that most states have an abundance of land available, often prime deer lands, for the sportsman who spends the effort required to find a place to hunt.


Check back each day this week for more about "How to Find Deer Land to Hunt"

Day 1: Determine Where to Look First
Day 2: Decide Who Knows the Most Land and the Most People
Day 3: Check with the Army
Day 4: Think about Power
Day 5: Search for Maps



Entry 389, Day 5