- By Ken Perrotte
MyTopo Maps Great Tool for Hunt Clubs
A large-scale printed map is an asset for hunt clubs and other groups traversing or managing large properties. The Pine Hill Hunt Club in Essex County, Virginia, hunts many large adjoining properties, among them Kinloch Farm, owned by Bruce and Diane Lee. The club maintains many box blinds overlooking food plots and also has stands located along trails in the woods or down near a creek bottom traversing one side of the place.
Lee and the club have generously offered their land, plus their skills and time, to a chapter of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association for mentored youth hunts for nearly two decades now. It's a safe bet that well more than 100 youngsters took their first deer at a hunt hosted by this generous club. My grandson Kenny is among them. He took his first deer (a doe) on a drive hunt one year and then took a buck from a ground-blind the next year.
Lee has an old, somewhat dog-eared, paper topo map hanging on a wall near the table where successful hunters register their deer and get transport cards. They also have a ledger where people sign in to state where they are going to be. A quality map can be indispensable, especially for newcomers to the club or guests that might be accompanying a member.
Working with MyTopo, a mapping company in Billings, Montana, that's celebrating its twentieth year in business this year, I ordered a larger, upgraded map of Kinloch farm and all of the surrounding areas. It's an aerial photo with topography lines laid over it, as well as the names and tract numbers of other private properties in the area. Roads are clearly marked. We got a laminated version, which will now allow a lot of flexibility in terms of how the map is used and re-used. You can use grease pencils to plan out hunts, including coordinated drive hunts using people or dogs. The club sometimes uses well-trained bird dogs to flush deer. These dogs don't range far from their handler and generally all of the action and dog movement happens on property inside the club's boundaries.
Ordering the map was easy. I simply went to the MyTopo website and created an account. Then, I went into the printed maps section and determined the area I wanted depicted, the resolution desired, whether I wanted a straight top or aerial map or a hybrid, and more. You can order waterproof, laminated or plain paper maps. The maps are created within a couple days and shipped to you. I already had a MyTopo map for the area I regularly hunt in King George County, Virginia, and knew what a valuable tool it is in helping someone understand "the lay of the land." We've also used MyTopo maps on hunts in other parts of the country, including Montana. The maps also make great gifts or souvenirs for special landowners or relatives who want to display, in map form, their own little piece of Heaven. Hopefully, this new map will be one that the Pine Hill club puts to good use and it serves them for many years.
With MyTopo, you can create a custom map or order USGS quads and GMU/hunting maps that show public and private property boundaries. MyTopo is also heavily into digital applications and offers digital and instant access maps for use on mobile and desktop devices. They offer email and telephone support if you're having difficulty figuring out what you want or how to configure a map for purchase. Check them out at www.MyTopo.com.
Click on photo below for link to story about mule deer hunting in Montana with Bergara custom rifles.