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Thread: Unexpected fun with a compass

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    Unexpected fun with a compass

    Mods, I'm placing this here 'cause I was hunting when this happened and the subheading of this category says " fieldcraft". But move it if you think it needs to be moved.
    Anywho, so, our 2nd ML season opened Saturday but family issues kept me outta the woods til today. so I get out there, park the truck and head South, sneakin' and peakin' as usual. My plan was to go further than I have before, check out some new country and turn East to test my theory that if I climbed high enough I'd hit the same fire break trail that goes up the North side of this mountain. i found tons of sign, rubs everywhere I looked, scrapes, some of the most heavily tracked up trails I've seen. But, it was so thick as to be impenetrable. I guess if there were no leaves down you could slither on your belly like a reptile. Otherwise the only ways I can think of to hunt this is to hang a stand way up high. Or post a shooter on the other side and just bust through there hoping the shooter would get a shot. But I was there so I tried. Eventually the shadows grew longer and I could feel the thermals rolling down hill. I zigged and I zagged. Then decided I didn't want to hike back down in the dark through all this. I could see sunlite where in my mind was to my East and the northern approach I was looking to connect with.
    But in checking my compass, uh uh. My compass was telling me North was back over my left shoulder. In other words towards the low Winter Sun in the Southwest I tried shaking it. Making sure it was level, etc. but no, it was stubborn. To be clear, If I headed in the direction I thought was East I would then turn left or North and head down the mountain to the road my truck was parked on.
    This compass has never failed me and in fact once saved my bacon when a GPS crapped out on me. So I trusted my own sense of direction and the Sun and sure enough I was right. As I headed down hill I checked my compass again and it was accurate now showing me where North really is.
    I must say that although I never panicked It was no small comfort when I looked to the Northwest and saw the baldfaced mountain I park at the base of right where it's supposed to be.
    Has this ever happened to you? is it possible there is some strange mineral deposit that screwed up my compass? Has the Mayan end times polar shift already commenced?
    Thoughts?

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    Moderator Jayhawker's Avatar
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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Where was your rifle barrel/knife blade/handgun in relation to your compass? and yes, mineral deposits can cause erratic fluctuations in a compass, I discovered this many years ago in the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota and experienced it as well in Michigan's Upper Peninsula...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"

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    Senior Member PFD's Avatar
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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Happened to me one year.

    Then I took off my gloves that had the little mitten flap the was held open by 2 small magnets.

    (True story, actually.)
    That's all I got.

    Paul

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Okay Jayhawker but what type of mineral(s). Also I have 2 rare earth magnets. For those of you who don't know, they're very powerful. I did show them to my SIL last night. I can't see touching them, then a day later having that effect a compass but I'm ignorant in that regard.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by PFD View Post
    Happened to me one year.

    Then I took off my gloves that had the little mitten flap the was held open by 2 small magnets.

    (True story, actually.)
    I have the same type of gloves but mine use Velcro not magnets. But they're in the truck, I'll double check that issue in the am.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Razorbacker View Post
    Okay Jayhawker but what type of mineral(s).
    An Iron Ore deposit would be one thing...and no...handling your rare earth magnets the day before would have no effect the following day..
    Last edited by Jayhawker; 12-18-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Iron ore, or one of the magnetized versions of it or "fools gold" (iron pyrite) are probably the culprits. Plus IIRC there are some non ferrous minerals that can exhibit mild magnetic properties (I think)

    While quite weak in relation to the earth's magnetic field, since you were a lot closer to them, they could easily mess with your compass reading
    When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. It is only difficult for others.

    It is the same when you are STUPID.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawker View Post
    An Iron Ore deposit would be one thing...and no...handling your rare earth magnets the day before would have no effect the following day..
    Iron ore is what I guessed but I see no evidence of that either in the numerous streams or springs. The rocks I see are mostly a grey granite and plenty of them. Anyway, thanks for the input.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    There can be other influences as well like electromagetic static.......I posted a glib in Woodsrunner's Thousand Falls/Mayan thread......my compass was affected by the fishtank nearby....could've been the air-pump....I don't know.....all I know it the compass tended towards the tank.....weird, I know!

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by 5280 shooter II View Post
    There can be other influences as well like electromagetic static.......I posted a glib in Woodsrunner's Thousand Falls/Mayan thread......my compass was affected by the fishtank nearby....could've been the air-pump....I don't know.....all I know it the compass tended towards the tank.....weird, I know!
    Believe it or not I actually thought of you and your daily compass check when I was out there.This may seem like not such a big deal to some but when hunting a wilderness area way on out there it is. When I said this compass saved me when a GPS crapped out I was in the Flattops. I trusted this compass and way after dark I just happened to look back up the mountain and saw the lantern light of camp. I had missed camp by about 50 yards. While I was already resigned and prepared to spending the night out, I was glad I didn't worry my camp mates. But it happens.
    In today's case the Mrs. knows right where I park the truck and we always set a drop dead time. So I was glad to not worry her and not waste the time of any sort of rescue team. How embarrassing would that have been?
    To address Sir Ka-niggets point, I hadn't thought of the pyrites thing but I may take my rare earth magnets out there and experiment.
    In any event I'd like to solve this mystery.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Razorbacker View Post
    Okay Jayhawker but what type of mineral(s). Also I have 2 rare earth magnets. For those of you who don't know, they're very powerful. I did show them to my SIL last night. I can't see touching them, then a day later having that effect a compass but I'm ignorant in that regard.
    First off, compasses don't point north, they point magnetic north and second they actually just point to the strongest, nearest magnetic field. (GPS compasses are the exception)

    It was probably a mineral deposit such as magnetite:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetite

    It seems like it might be common up your way.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_Cove,_Arkansas

    Many electric devices produce EM fields that could affect your compass, devices that are out of compliance with FCC regs or the regs don't apply could also have an effect.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motor

    Just something to keep in mind when practicing fieldcraft.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Spk View Post
    First off, compasses don't point north, they point magnetic north and second they actually just point to the strongest, nearest magnetic field. (GPS compasses are the exception)

    It was probably a mineral deposit such as magnetite:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetite

    It seems like it might be common up your way.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_Cove,_Arkansas

    Many electric devices produce EM fields that could affect your compass, devices that are out of compliance with FCC regs or the regs don't apply could also have an effect.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motor

    Just something to keep in mind when practicing fieldcraft.
    I'm familiar with the difference between true North and magnetic north. However I did not know how Magnet Cove got it's name. But thanks to you now I do. That was some good info. Magnet Cove is a long way from where I was with many tall ridges in between. But it is Southwest from there and that is the direction my needle insisted on pointing. Think I'll play with that a little and dig around a little next time I'm out there or maybe next spring after all the hunting is over.
    Thanks again Spk. I guess it'll be a cold day in July when a topic comes up that SOMEBODY here doesn't have pertinent knowledge about.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    My guess would be that something metal on your clothing, pockets, etc would be the cause. But....could be a local situation too!

    Other things such as solar storms causing uphevals in the earth's electromagnetic field do occur, but I'm not sure that a small very local area such as where you happened to be would be affected. This I do know.....There is a worldwide weekly publication put out called the "Weekly Notices To Mariners". It's addressed primarily to the merchant marines of all of the maritime countries and carries information of maritime safety importance. It isn't unusual at all for ships at sea to report magnetic compassess suddenly starting to rotate 360 degrees and continue doing this for several minutes. Or, to have a magnetic compass suddenly change headings and lock in on some degree heading other than the one the ship is heading on based on the gyro compass.

    I don't remember ever experiencing anything like this, and I'm well experienced with hand compassess in the woods. Argued with my Silva Ranger a time or two, but in the end listened to it and came out OK

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by woodsrunner View Post
    My guess would be that something metal on your clothing, pockets, etc would be the cause. But....could be a local situation too!

    Other things such as solar storms causing uphevals in the earth's electromagnetic field do occur, but I'm not sure that a small very local area such as where you happened to be would be affected. This I do know.....There is a worldwide weekly publication put out called the "Weekly Notices To Mariners". It's addressed primarily to the merchant marines of all of the maritime countries and carries information of maritime safety importance. It isn't unusual at all for ships at sea to report magnetic compassess suddenly starting to rotate 360 degrees and continue doing this for several minutes. Or, to have a magnetic compass suddenly change headings and lock in on some degree heading other than the one the ship is heading on based on the gyro compass.

    I don't remember ever experiencing anything like this, and I'm well experienced with hand compassess in the woods. Argued with my Silva Ranger a time or two, but in the end listened to it and came out OK
    Part of my 'work' on the charter boat includes checking the weekly notices to mariners. More important is checking that some dipstick hasnt put a knife/cellphone/metal object on the 'dashboard' of the boat near the damn compass. Even a fish hook can make it spin.........which makes me spin around and swear at the culprit...........

    Although we have all the latest aids to navigation like radar, gps etc it pays to stay familiar with old methods..........Murphy is always in the background.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    U.S. Geological Survey markers will make a compass go nuts, too. I've found a few by noticing my compass going bonkers, and walking in the direction of the "new North".
    Ever notice that in every Science Fiction movie about a deadly plague breakout there is a government doctor saying that they have it under control?

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawker View Post
    Where was your rifle barrel/knife blade/handgun in relation to your compass? and yes, mineral deposits can cause erratic fluctuations in a compass, I discovered this many years ago in the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota and experienced it as well in Michigan's Upper Peninsula...
    My home turf, where did you visit? Were you hunting?
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by CHIRO1989 View Post
    My home turf, where did you visit? Were you hunting?
    Nope, backpacking on the Arrowhead State Trail
    Last edited by Jayhawker; 12-19-2012 at 05:51 AM.
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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by tennmike View Post
    U.S. Geological Survey markers will make a compass go nuts, too. I've found a few by noticing my compass going bonkers, and walking in the direction of the "new North".
    Huh, first I've heard of that. And there's a bunch of those out there too. Reckon why that is?

    woodsrunner, I don't believe any articles on my person were the culprit, since it later corrected itself with no change from me. I've had this compass for many years wearing similar garb and carrying similar accoutrements. With no issues.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Roger that, Razor...! You're too smart a woodsman for that kinda mistake! I momentarily overlooked that, so please "overlook" my error

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Razorbacker View Post
    Huh, first I've heard of that. And there's a bunch of those out there too. Reckon why that is?

    woodsrunner, I don't believe any articles on my person were the culprit, since it later corrected itself with no change from me. I've had this compass for many years wearing similar garb and carrying similar accoutrements. With no issues.
    The USGS markers I've located here in TN are app. 4" diameter brass(?) plaque set in concrete with a long heavy iron rod about 4 feet in length set in the concrete underneath it. (No, I didn't dig one up; a forest service bulldozer dug one up during a forest fire and I got a good look at it.)
    Ever notice that in every Science Fiction movie about a deadly plague breakout there is a government doctor saying that they have it under control?

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    You know I've never experienced this but could static electricity build up on you or your clothing affect a compass reading?
    "Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching." General George S. Patton

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by tennmike View Post
    The USGS markers I've located here in TN are app. 4" diameter brass(?) plaque set in concrete with a long heavy iron rod about 4 feet in length set in the concrete underneath it. (No, I didn't dig one up; a forest service bulldozer dug one up during a forest fire and I got a good look at it.)
    Here too with Witness trees nearby.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by Wambli Ska View Post
    You know I've never experienced this but could static electricity build up on you or your clothing affect a compass reading?
    It was probably just my magnetic personality

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    As Jay has said, was your Rifle slung over your shoulder....I've seen this happen when in the Army. Sometimes you have to walk about 18 yds, from your vehicle also.. But soundas like you handled the situation well...When GPS's first came out a lot of people would get lost because in the valleys of steep mountains they could not get the required numbers of sat. to operate....
    Last edited by sarg1c; 12-20-2012 at 03:06 AM.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by sarg1c View Post
    As Jay has said, was your Rifle slung over your shoulder....I've seen this happen when in the Army. Sometimes you have to walk about 18 yds, from your vehicle also.. But soundas like you handled the situation well...When GPS's first came out a lot of people would get lost because in the valleys of steep mountains they could not get the required numbers of sat. to operate....
    I'm convinced the issue was specific to that area. But just to clear up the point. I had on my back pack with 2 knives in it. I was holding my rifle in my left hand at about mid thigh and the compass was at chest level. Just as it all was when I checked my compass throughout the day. I'm hunting some big woods and other than some old, over grown fire breaks, the only trails are game trails. So I keep an eye on my compass to make sure I'm still heading in the direction I thought I was. And after I got out of that area, the compass worked fine.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    I've never had my compass affected by my pack and rifle.....and I hunt exlusively around a Uranium mine...no issues there either....Most clothing these days are made of Polyester and Nylon.....both fibers have been engineered now to be antic-static (for Wambli) but the EM static is something else.

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by 5280 shooter II View Post
    I've never had my compass affected by my pack and rifle.....and I hunt exlusively around a Uranium mine...no issues there either....Most clothing these days are made of Polyester and Nylon.....both fibers have been engineered now to be antic-static (for Wambli) but the EM static is something else.
    Uranium eh? Well that explains a lot

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by 5280 shooter II View Post
    I hunt exlusively around a Uranium mine....
    Glow in the dark deer.....what a novel thought!
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by 5280 shooter II View Post
    I've never had my compass affected by my pack and rifle.....and I hunt exlusively around a Uranium mine....
    Do you carry a Walkie Talkie?...............if you get lost you can go 'radio active'!
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....

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    Re: Unexpected fun with a compass

    Quote Originally Posted by 5280 shooter II View Post
    I've never had my compass affected by my pack and rifle.....and I hunt exclusively around a Uranium mine...no issues there either....Most clothing these days are made of Polyester and Nylon.....both fibers have been engineered now to be antic-static (for Wambli) but the EM static is something else.
    Radon gas loves both those fibers. And radon gas is a daughter element from uranium fission. The affinity of radon for nylon and polyester fibers has nothing to do with static electricity(radon gas has a fling with hair, too).
    Ever notice that in every Science Fiction movie about a deadly plague breakout there is a government doctor saying that they have it under control?

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