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Let's talk hand-held GPS gear.....

5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior MemberPosts: 3,923 Senior Member
I've been using a Garmin Etrex for a couple years.....it gives me MGRS data to match with MGRS maps.....but looking to upgrade for areas I don't have a map on......what should I be looking at these days? I want topo-map...but don't really need the ability to send data....radio-communicate...or Twitter....:tooth:
God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!

Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    I have but still resist using GPS. Just more batteries to deal with.

    Still prefer maps and dead reconing with terrain features.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    I need to check and see which one I have, but mine does have a topo map, and I like it. I don't use it very often. It is a nice aid to have if you are unfamiliar where you are. But one thing with technology is, it will fail at some point, so be prepared with that in mind.
    I've been using a Garmin Etrex for a couple years.....it gives me MGRS data to match with MGRS maps.....but looking to upgrade for areas I don't have a map on......what should I be looking at these days? I want topo-map...but don't really need the ability to send data....radio-communicate...or Twitter....:tooth:
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    I hear ya! Battery life sucks in the cold. But I like knowing where I'm at on a map in the forested areas where terrain features are nil. I will still carry the good ole MIL compass with the tritium for night-use. Time to replace it with a new one by now....been a few years for that one!

    Note: I don't use the GPS very often....just to confirm where I think I'm at sometimes. Using it was a good training tool with my cousin....."we are HERE....and we want to go THERE.....take your pick....the easy long way.....or grunt it up the side of this mountain here?"
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Logansport Indiana, by way of Hohenwald Tennessee by way of Cocoa FloridaPosts: 1,720 Senior Member
    I have a Magellan Explorist, but I don't often use it, probably because it is smarter than I am. Still, it is very useful to find your way back to where you started. I carry an extra set of batteries, it uses the AAA batterys, and a compass. Most of the places I hunt are familiar enough that I don't need help, but things look much different when it is dark......Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Kaniksu Nat'l Forest, IDPosts: 5,486 Senior Member
    I've been using a Garmin Etrex for a couple years.....it gives me MGRS data to match with MGRS maps.....but looking to upgrade for areas I don't have a map on......what should I be looking at these days? I want topo-map...but don't really need the ability to send data....radio-communicate...or Twitter....:tooth:

    I'm right there with you. I am looking for a GPS unit to mark physical trap locations. Checking 30 bobcat sets after work and in the dark, I don't want to spend time looking for locations, especially after it snows. I don't want to pay for extra stuff I don't need.
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • shootershooter Senior Member IllinoisPosts: 1,186 Senior Member
    For the 2010 and 2011 Wyoming antelope seasons, when my tags arrived in the mail, there was a reference to these "micro SD card" maps being available for the state and they met with the approval of the Game & Fish department (in fact, recommended). I seriously considered getting one, but I thought "maybe next year". The upper level Garmin's accept a micro SD card and I put it on my list for the 2012 season. Unfortunately, I didn't get a permit for the 2012 antelope season.

    But it seems like an invaluable tool for an out of stater like myself when hunting so much public land that is interspersed with some private land. The years we hunted in and near the Thunder Basin National Grasslands northeast of Douglas, we were constantly monitoring our color-coded maps. Some public areas were vehicle accessible, others were walk-in only and the other side of the fence was private land. Some private land was o.k. to hunt and others were not. You get the picture. It would be nice to know whether we had to drag a goat 3/4 mile to the truck or whether we could drive up to the carcass and load it.

    The BLM had color coded maps and we used them constantly, but it was difficult to tell once off the beaten path whether we were in "that square or the other one". Counting half-mile squares and marking the map while referencing the odometer was how we scouted the area before the opening day. The above described GPS and appropriate SD-chip would have been invaluable and I will have one the next time I visit WY for antelope.

    Pull the GPS out and see exactly what the status of the land is with one of these for a Garmin.

    http://www.huntinggpsmaps.com/wyoming-public-private-land-ownership-topo-gps-maps

    ETA..... Hunt area boundaries for antelope, elk, etc. is also a feature of these maps and they're available for many other states.
    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    CaliF I hear what you are saying! I no longer trap, but the accuracy that you are looking for is what I want also for secretly marking in-shore and off-shore fishing hot spots here in the northern Gulf. Also, and a hellova lot more important with me is having pinpoint accuracy under a forest canopy. I've recently been designated a Wetlands Delineator in Florida, and have just started doing a little wetlands work for a couple of local law fims. BIG BUCKS HERE! I may get back in the woods working and slow down on this truck farming business I've been in the past 5 years! Hell.....I belong in the woods anyhow, but, unfortunately, there aren't any old "post-menopausal gals" in the woods for me to flirt with like I have at the local Farmer's Market :devil:

    Please....all 'yall expand this GPS Thread, and I'll ask around with some knowledgable fellows I know here and see who thinks what is best and pass it on. I would like as much info on hand held GPS units as possible!
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,280 Senior Member
    I actually downgraded (or rather simplified) in the GPS department with a Bushnell "Backtracker"....but I still prefer map and compass
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    You've seen that commercial where the guys are seaching for a camping spot for no signal? That's me....no signal unless I'm literally on the top of a mountain.....so no phone apps available, and I like it that way.....that way I can't be texting you all.....disconnect from society and concentrate on the hunting experience.....it's a once a year thing for me.....I cherish and guard that time. Watching the other guys with better service pick up Wi-Fi from another cabin and texting their wives, made me kinda sick.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    You've seen that commercial where the guys are seaching for a camping spot for no signal? That's me....no signal unless I'm literally on the top of a mountain.....so no phone apps available, and I like it that way.....that way I can't be texting you all.....disconnect from society and concentrate on the hunting experience.....it's a once a year thing for me.....I cherish and guard that time. Watching the other guys with better service pick up Wi-Fi from another cabin and texting their wives, made me kinda sick.

    Don't know if we were separated at birth or not but we're certainly kindred spirits. No cell service where I hunt here either and I'm fine with it. When I used to hunt out your way every year I started with our Bow opener here, left that camp for NW Arkansas to hook my Buddy's 4 horse trailer up to my truck and head West. It was about 24 hours straight drive to Rabbit ears pass, where we pulled over for a nap. And to let the mules out for a good roll. Then on to Craig to get groceries, certified weed free hay and protein pellets for the mules. Then the trailhead. I won't go any further but just to say, no cell service. After we came out it was back to AR just in time for blackpowder season. So I was incognito for about 2 weeks. My Mom was always pissed off. "What if somebody dies?". Me: Well I reckon y'all can either have the funeral without me or put 'em on ice and wait til I get home.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • Ranch13Ranch13 Senior Member Ft. Laramie WyPosts: 820 Senior Member
    I'm an absolute fan of the Garmin Rino series. That 2 way radio with the ability to see where others location with the same capability built into the GPS, could very well save yours or someone elses life.
    The 650 rino is capable of running all the available maps. Some of the maps available actually show land ownership when you get zoomed in tight enough, and in checkerboarded land being able to determine public and private, and the private land owners name can be very useful.
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    My Mom was always pissed off. "What if somebody dies?". Me: Well I reckon y'all can either have the funeral without me or put 'em on ice and wait til I get home.
    :rotflmao:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Ranch13 wrote: »
    I'm an absolute fan of the Garmin Rino series. That 2 way radio with the ability to see where others location with the same capability built into the GPS, could very well save yours or someone elses life.
    The 650 rino is capable of running all the available maps. Some of the maps available actually show land ownership when you get zoomed in tight enough, and in checkerboarded land being able to determine public and private, and the private land owners name can be very useful.

    That is a useful feature....knowing where others are in relation to your position, and where private and public land boundries are.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Central MNPosts: 14,659 Senior Member
    Ask MHS about the one JBOhio was using with the map program, JB used a map download from his FIL of the area we hunted, they were keeping us at the correct elevation and could see where we were heading over the next hill, I did not play with it much, MHS had some more time with it. I have an old eTrex, not many features.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Global NomadPosts: 6,071 Senior Member
    I have a Garmin Dakota 20 that I like well enough, but map and compass are still my favorite.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    You're a Lieutenant......you can't read a map yet......Sir.........:tooth:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • Ranch13Ranch13 Senior Member Ft. Laramie WyPosts: 820 Senior Member
    That is a useful feature....knowing where others are in relation to your position, and where private and public land boundries are.
    Few years back a friend of mine from Illinois and I were elk hunting, it was snowing pretty hard and things on top the mtn were a bit tricky. We cut a set of fresh elk track going into a small piece of timber. I told Mike if he wanted to skirt around that on the down wind side and get setup in a lo pass the trail thru that patch went thru I'ld wait and push thru there so maybe he could get a shot. Waited the 45 minutes or so and called him on the radio to see if he was set up. No he says I'm not quite there yet, having trouble seeing where I want to go... That got me to thinking so right quick I looked at the location it gave for him and then looked at his track on the screen... Hooboy hold up right there. You missed the trail and if you keep going you're going to be off into that rockslide and tangle brush..
    So on that occasion it surely saved him a bunch of walkin in circles in a snowstorm is some pretty miserable country to be in even when the weather is good and the ground is dry.
    Yeh I'm a believer in those Rino units.
  • ghostsniper1ghostsniper1 Banned O HI OPosts: 2,645 Senior Member
    I've been considering a handheld GPS for the woods. I got severely lost a few weeks ago about two miles in the thick woods of the State Park I was squirrel hunting. Looked at the compass on my phone before leaving the main trail only for it to fail once it was time to leave. I wondered for about an hour or so aimlessly while I was losing daylight, no food, water and my blood sugar stArted getting low (diabetic.) For some odd reason I decided to check my compass on my phone one last time. To my surprise it finally picked up signal. I needed to head NE to get back to the main trail and saw that I was heading north the whole time. Talk about panic when alone. Gonna invest in a cheap compass at the least.
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    I gave Silva compasses a try....the Ranger and other units....too much fluff...MY compass will always be the army standard issue Lensatic....it don't need a clearing in the trees and will always point north until 12/21/12....:tooth:
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • bklysenbklysen Member Posts: 520 Senior Member
    I have Garmin's 450-t right now and also think they're invaluable, for many of the reasons already stated. Battery options these days can allow you to run them forever, and spares that would give you another few days' run time weigh less than one or two rounds you're probably carrying. This unit has the SD card and I switch out between the regular TOPO and fishing/lakes card. I can mark a spot while fishing in open water, then walk right out to it on hard water season, punch a hole and be right back on that 'spot on a spot'.

    Another very handy utility is the crumb trail all GPS units these days can leave while you wander the woods (Ghost, this would have saved a lot of stress for you on that day, and might save your bacon in the future). If you still hunt you know, going in, that your track won't be known until you find what you're looking for...then just wander as you wish, and always know where you are relative to your truck/trail/private property, etc.

    One day a few years back I did that for the better part of a day, came back afterward and viewed my track overlaid on a Topo map like Google Earth, Easy GPS, etc. Never knew it at the time, but I came within spitting distance of one of those unnamed lakes. That following spring I walked back in with my float tube and had a blast with the bluegills. Not another soul nearby, and the fish acted like they appreciated my company. :tooth:
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,696 Senior Member
    I recently got to drive around with a buddy who has a Garmin Montana with the ability to take the data cards for a specific state. The topo feature is NICE, and the ability to instantly determine if you're looking at public or private land is also NICE. Very useful to compare with a physical map to see if you actually are where you THINK you are.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member crusted in sandPosts: 5,797 Senior Member
    I bought a Garmin etrex 20 bundle at BPS right before Thanksgiving weekend for around 180 bucks and I've been really happy with it. It came with the topo software in a micro SD and I paid 100 bucks for just that software a few years ago. The thing is the size of a cell phone and it stores an enourmous amount of data in addition to having maps of the entire country in it along with elevations. I've been storing the location of all of our stands and fields and I can add notes to any map or waypoint. It's also pretty user friendly as the owners manual is just a few pages rather than the book that came with my older and much larger map 76. I've used it for three weekends now and have just changed the two penlight batteries which were low but not dead and that was only because I left it on all weekend. My older map 76 would last 14 hours almost on the nose on four AA's and this thing probably had at least 50 hours on two AA's and was only low.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Johnny rebJohnny reb Member Posts: 715 Senior Member
    Have too garmin Astros ones 220 a d the other is a 320 nice units the 320 is google earth capable for 30$ a year good handhelds for the money
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member In the sticks, OHPosts: 5,617 Senior Member
    I have a Garmin Etrex Legend that I picked up on Ebay for $40. But, I downloaded Gamin's Mapsource on it. It was excellent. An overlayed topo map, and you can zoom in/out from 10miles to 200 feet. We used it a heck of a lot while we were hunting, kept us where we wanted to be
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    So I'm seeing a lot of Garmin users......is it the price or the features over the Magellan units?
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member crusted in sandPosts: 5,797 Senior Member
    In all honesty, I think Garmin and Magellan are comparable price/feature wise but Garmin is a bit more user friendly and all models of various Garmin units operate similarly. I had a map 76 mounted to my skiff and after learning to use it, I could easily operate the Garmin unit on a friend's boat and I had no trouble figuring out how to use the etrex that I just bought. As I mentioned before, the manual for my new etrex was only a couple of pages and I haven't really needed to read it to figure anything out on it. I think Garmin has a little better support with software also.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • bklysenbklysen Member Posts: 520 Senior Member
    I agree with Fish...

    I had used Magellan and Lowrance units for many years, and they were OK, but I found quite a few instances where I wanted to get my unit to sync with a particular software piece and became a little frustrated because most of it only spoke 'Garmin'. Not sure if that's still the case these days, but I've been very impressed with Garmin's simple functionality. Never needed to read the manual, and I couldn't always say that about the others.
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