Topographic maps can help in scouting by showing the terrain, waterways and potential hunting spots of a certain area. Pre-season scouting can be essential to success and a topo map will get you started.

Major drainage areas, such as rivers and creeks, provide a natural barrier for deer and can be a prime spot for locating deer sign, such as tracks, droppings, rubs and scrapes. Look for natural land features that funnel wildlife, such as river bends, steep hills, ledges, roads or highways which crowd a drainage, intersecting creeks, marshes or other rivers. By studying terrain, hunters can narrow down the possible travel routes of deer moving through the area.

Most animals are edge oriented so edge features like fence rows, crop changes and wooded edges are good places to search for travel routes.

Topo maps can be valuable for turkey hunters by showing such gobbler hotspots as field edges, ridges or connecting ridges, strutting areas or out West, sources of water. Using a map will help you make more efficient use of your scouting time.

You can purchase topo maps at a bookstore or visit web sites such as:
store.usgs.gov