Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

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Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby usmc2220 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:03 pm

For “Nick the New Kid”:

So you want got a shotgun, shells, leaky waders, a dog that doesn’t listen and you want to go duck hunting. No worries you'll fit right in. Only problem is you just moved here, you work all the time and just haven’t had the time to find a spot to hunt. The seasons right around the corner and you race to the computer to cyber scout on all your favorite duck hunting forums broken down by state/region to see what you can find… Nothing. You figure you’ll introduce yourself and ask if you can “tag along” or get some info on “where would be a good area to start looking for a place to hunt”. A few days go by and the seasons getting close. What do you do?

I’ve been stationed in a few different states over the last 8 years all of which I hunted. Some states it felt like you needed a law degree in order to duck hunt there while others it was a walk in the park.

Long story short whatever the reason is you don’t have a “X-Spot” yet (just relocated here recently from another part of the state or from far away, just got into duck hunting, old spots just weren’t productive last year) I’d like to help.

Gas is to expensive to drive around back roads aimlessly looking for that duck x-ing. Because of the financial times we’re cutting back but for the price of a tank of gas in your hunting truck (unless you are driving a Prius) let’s add a few things to our tool box:

Maine State Atlas:
This is a good foundation for $20.00

Google Map/Earth:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en

Download Google Earth to your phone or computer to get satellite images of areas you are trying to scout. This saves a lot of time and can be very efficient when planning a scouting trip.

United States Geographic Survey Maps:

http://www.usgs.gov/pubprod/

Download free 7.5 and 15 minute maps (1:24,000 and 1:50,000 scales) in PDF format or order print maps in a variety of scales/optional features to include satellite images.

Maine Wildlife Management Areas:
http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/management/wma/

Check to see if there is anything in your “neck of the woods”. These areas are open to the general public and offer last minute hunting spots if you are behind the 8 ball going into the season.

National Wildlife Refuge:
http://www.fws.gov/refuges/refugeLocatorMaps/Maine.html

Same as the Wildlife Management Areas they offer public hunting on land set aside for recreational uses. Be sure to read up on the laws to see if permits, or special rules apply.

Some other supplies you’ll want:
- Notebook
- Pens / Pencils

Ok so you bought a Maine Atlas, clogged the USGS website downloading every free Map for the state of Maine (before they start charging) and got a Notebook and Pens. Here is my recommendation:

1. Look on the USGS Maps first as they offer greater detail and give you the “big picture”.

2. Check out the spots that looked good on the USGS Maps on Google Earth.
What to look for:
- How close are houses from the area you intend to scout/hunt
- Where is the closest parking / boat ramps / gas stations
- Note land features to aid in locating later when we put “boots on ground”

3. Now after reviewing the USGS Maps and bouncing that off Google Earth you think you found the Duck Commanders “honey hole” it’s time to plan the itinerary. Take your Maine Atlas and in Pencil mark the spots you intend to check out that day.

4. “Connect the dot’s” and try to find the most direct route to hit them all while saving you gas from “doubling back” a direction you just came from… it happens.

5. So you pulled up and that “honey hole” has got a big’ole posted sign with no information on who the owner is let alone his/her number to ask permission to hunt. Relax… call or drop by the town office and ask them for the information that can be obtained with tax records.

6. Log all spots you wish to hunt in your notebook with important information on each spot (parking, access, directions, Map page in the Atlas and Grid). Erase the spots that are posted and you can’t obtain permission to hunt and leave the rest.

Other Notes:
- Start close to home and work further away as you need to (you’d be surprised what is in your back yard).
- Repeat the process as you need to for late season spots when fresh water freezes up.
- Log why places are holding ducks (is it shelter, food, etc)
- Once you have the information you can visit the spots regularly (as time allows) to pattern birds and plan your next hunt.

By following these steps you can successfully find new places to hunt or compliment old ones. With today’s tools available to us there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t have a successful season, it’s just overwhelming sometimes to the new kids looking to get into the sport. We should all take it upon ourselves to invite someone new to the sport out with us each year so that it continues to grow and will always have a future.

Good luck and be safe,

Aaron
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby Robk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:02 pm

Flashearth.com is another good resource with good picture quality. I like it better than google earth when I'm trying to narrow down potential sites to recon as we get closer to season.
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby bkmaine » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:45 am

Great post USMc. Couple of additions from a "New Kid" who has used some of these tools to get started...

Google Earth and Google Maps have great measuring tools to determine distance from roads/houses. Google Maps (which also has some satellite imagery) will let you mark spots on the map with a variety of icons and make a note/comment for each icon. It serves as a digital "map/journal", I also put in the hunting zone boundaries on my map. Save yourself the $20 on the atlas, especially if you have a smartphone, and use the map you create in Google Maps as your atlas and your journal and do plot out directions/routes from spot to spot while scouting.

Any "New Kid" down west of Portland who wants to get out this season on a non school day, I'm a teacher, I'd be happy to accommodate you... even though I'm still a "New Kid".
><>bk
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby usmc2220 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:56 am

bkmaine wrote:Google Earth and Google Maps have great measuring tools to determine distance from roads/houses.


I agree, but not a substitute for checking it in person. I usually only use it as a guide line for how crowded the area is.

bkmaine wrote:Google Maps (which also has some satellite imagery) will let you mark spots on the map with a variety of icons and make a note/comment for each icon. It serves as a digital "map/journal", I also put in the hunting zone boundaries on my map.


You can also do this on the USGS Maps that'll save to your computer in PDF and in turn back up on a thumb drive (I'm paranoid about loosing digital stuff and prefer Maps, just like you wouldn't use only a GPS in the woods and not carry a map as a back up).

bkmaine wrote:Save yourself the $20 on the atlas, especially if you have a smartphone, and use the map you create in Google Maps as your atlas and your journal and do plot out directions/routes from spot to spot while scouting.


I don't think a Atlas is where you should skimp on the $20. Open it up and look at the fishing spots (breaks it down by where they are and whats in it)... One heck of a way to scout in the off season while still having fun. Boat ramps marked on the Map pages where there not marked on google unless you spot them. I also run into issues with older roads google picking up as something else or my GPS marking a road incorrectly. For $20 it's a lifesaver and gives you a "bigger picture" not to mention where I hunt cell service sucks and may not allow me to access information.

Many ways to skin a cat, I just favor hard copies and old fashion "write it down" that way you'll still have your hard work when the computer crashes or Google does a data dump.

Robk wrote:Flashearth.com is another good resource with good picture quality. I like it better than google earth when I'm trying to narrow down potential sites to recon as we get closer to season.


I'll have to check that out, never heard of that one.
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby bkmaine » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:13 am

I agree that hard copies are better and I keep saying I'm gonna traspose stuff into a journal/atlas combo. But I'm just too busy to do a job twice right now and have decided to embrace technology, plus its easier to share with hunting buddies...
><>bk
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby usmc2220 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:42 am

bkmaine wrote:I agree that hard copies are better and I keep saying I'm gonna traspose stuff into a journal/atlas combo. But I'm just too busy to do a job twice right now and have decided to embrace technology, plus its easier to share with hunting buddies...


It can be rough maintaining 2 and it drives me nuts having to print over and over again so I did the hard copy instead. Good luck this season, hopefully others will figure out what works for them and this will be a good tool.
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Re: Help for "Nick the New Kid" (Honey Hole List)

Postby Robk » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:53 pm

Flashearth.com is another tool for the cyber scouter. I use it all the time to figure out where I need to burn gas at.
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