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Thread: Gps

  1. #1

    Gps

    I have been riding predator control on a large cattle herd for the last few weeks on my Rokon 2WD motorcycle. When I first got the bike and was into trinketizing every aspect of it, I mounted a small GARMIN GPS unit on the handle bars. It was inexpensive and seemed appropriate for a vehicle called “Trail Breaker”. I use it every outing but hardly reference it other than to log speed, duration, and distance of my ride. Last weekend, however, was different.

    I was out on the herd, 12 miles from the nearest real road, and in a place where NO cell phones service exists, when a freak wind and rain storm came up. It went from being sunny and 67 F to darkly overcast, 40 F and sporting 50 mph winds. It has been dry since the snow melt and the dust that came up looked like red-brown lava rolling down the valley I had to negotiate. The cattle were lost to sight in the dust storms. I was on a high ridge looking down, about 6 miles from my Jeep. Driving back the way I came would be dangerous and time consuming. Taking the valley floor would be blinding dust but flatter riding. I made the decision to go down to the valley floor and make my way back to my Jeep ASAP so I could mount the bike on the back and head for pavement. It was an extremely difficult descent once down bottom, a very difficult ride in the swirling dust amongst frightened cattle. It took me a little more than an hour and a half to make it back to the vehicle but the fact that I made it at all is largely attributable to that little GARMIN unit. Without that little needle pointing to my Jeep, I’m certain I’d have gotten turned down one of the many side canyons and had a very bad time of it. The winds peaked at 86 mph bringing near zero visibility even after reaching the paved roads.

    Based on last weekend’s adventure, I’d advise all my friends on SD that venture into the wilderness to get a GPS if you don’t have one, and use it if you do. Cell phone based units don’t always work. and the hand held units are quite inexpensive.
    Happy Hunting.~Muir

  2. #2
    I agree Muir
    I'm working in Saudi & travelling from site to site often. 70km down a skid road away from the "black top " as called down here ... But then the skid road often has you all over the place with turnings etc .
    Easy to get hopelessly lost ... After the 1st trip I was thinking I've got a wee basic garmin handheld that I used to use for my scuba diving to back up wreck marks ...
    Dug it out , new batteries ... Still working !
    So now when I leave the Tamac road I take a mark , then using the "backtrack" function I map the skid road ( mind & clear older tracks)
    Then if I get lost , follow track back or head for mark I made at edge of main road

    Plenty back up AAA batteries & piece of mind in a strange country !

    :-)

    Glad you kept yer head Muir , I would have been tempted to wait it out .... Now carry a tiny one man bivy bag ... Snugpak thing

    Paul

  3. #3
    I agree, in wilderness it's an absolute essential, as is a compass and map.
    I got a Oregon 600 when i visited Montana last year, and bought a great chip from hunt maps, brilliant, took me back to my kill to extract the meat.
    Cheers
    Richard

  4. #4
    I can agree with the above, definately a no1 must to have on board when in large tracts of unknown/unfamiliar country, but most of my stalking takes place within two hours boundary to boundary on shank's pony, so hard to get lost, short of complete whiteouts no real danger for me.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sauer View Post
    I agree Muir
    I'm working in Saudi & travelling from site to site often. 70km down a skid road away from the "black top " as called down here ... But then the skid road often has you all over the place with turnings etc .
    Easy to get hopelessly lost ... After the 1st trip I was thinking I've got a wee basic garmin handheld that I used to use for my scuba diving to back up wreck marks ...
    Dug it out , new batteries ... Still working !
    So now when I leave the Tamac road I take a mark , then using the "backtrack" function I map the skid road ( mind & clear older tracks)
    Then if I get lost , follow track back or head for mark I made at edge of main road

    Plenty back up AAA batteries & piece of mind in a strange country !

    :-)

    Glad you kept yer head Muir , I would have been tempted to wait it out .... Now carry a tiny one man bivy bag ... Snugpak thing

    Paul
    It sounds like you have the same kind of Garmin as mine. Mine's an ETrex
    The storm ended at 0300 the next morning but had i gotten caught back there after the rain, it would have taken 2 days for the 'trails' to dry out enough for me to get out. The wind was bad but it was the onset of rain that sent me backing. I have plenty of survival gear but someone would have come looking for me. Couldn't have that!~Muir

  6. #6
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    They're not just for out in the boonies either. I first used GPS to guide the Argo containing myself and the stalker back through the low clouds to a stag I'd shot on the tops in Sutherland. Without it we'd have been bumbling about for hours through the peat hags trying to find it.

    The next year the estate had bought the stalker a GPS.

    Now when there are two rifles out for the day he calls the co-ordinates back to the lodge of the first stag shot. If it's appropriate the ghillie can then head out in the Argo to pick up the beast whilst the stalker and the second rifle carry on in search of the next stag.

    If everything works out according to plan the stalking party can then cadge a lift back in the Argo once the second beast has been grassed .
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  7. #7
    Yup, mine is an old yellow etrex with like an old black dot matrix type screen
    Must be easy 12 yrs plus now

    Paul

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by devon deer stalker View Post
    I agree, in wilderness it's an absolute essential, as is a compass and map.
    I have had a GPS since the handheld units first became affordable, and all they did was display a set of coords, no fancy maps or other stuff. At that time SA was still turned on and you could "walk" 2 miles, according to your GPS, while you sat around having lunch. If you are out in the wilds they are a gift. I think one of the big advantages of them is that they allow you to focus on the reason you are out there rather than on the navigation.

    Despite this I do think that having a map and compass is very important. I've never had a GPS die on me but that is always a possibility but for me the big advantage with a paper map is that it gives a good overview of the area. Often the GPS screen only shows a small area and as you zoom out it will reduce the detail to stop clutter on the screen. In that situation there is nothing to beat the map.

    Another important point that finnbear270 makes is that in a lot of the UK, but certainly not all of it, even if you are totally lost if you can walk on any compass bearing for 2 or 3 miles you will hit a road or similar, so a compass is handy even if you are totally lost and have no map.
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  9. #9
    I got one a few years back for marking grit piles, traps, maddens etc, i'd have belted with a lump hammer the first wee when I was getting usd to it but id say invaluable bit of kit now.

  10. #10
    I have spent most of my life sailing offshore, around Britain, transatlantic etc. I grew up with Decca navigation and we got into GPS when the Americans allowed us to in the late 80's. At sea you can't do without it if you want to be half accurate. I know how to use a sextant with tables and can navigate by dead reckoning, but a GPS is a whole heap better.

    Have always used a GPS for training as well. Wrist worn GPS for Triathlons have come on leaps and bounds in the past 10 years and are invaluable navigation and training aids.

    When stalking in the highlands I always have a GPS with me, usually wrist worn. I ping the lodge, ping the vehicle and know that whatever the visibility does I can always find my way back. Also fun for pinging the shot sites so you can mark them up on the OS map later.
    So much to learn and so little time left

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