Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marking the Trail to Your Hunting Spot

You have a place to hunt. You have scouted it and found the perfect spot for a stand. Now how do you find that spot again, before daylight, without spooking you quarry? Finding and marking a good route to your stand is as important as finding a good spot for your stand.

Today we are going to focus on marking the route to your stand.

There are four common ways to mark your trail. Remember, you will have to follow this trail in the dark, so it needs to be clear. Each of these are decreasingly effective and increasingly easy.

Permanent MarkersIf you own the land, or get permission from the land owner, you can paint markers on trees, posts, or whatever. Special marking paint that has reflective properties is available, but basic spray paint works well. Be sure you use bright colors like white or yellow.  Another, slightly less permanent, possibility is to paint wooden markers and nail them to trees. You can remove them later if you need to.

Effective, but permament

Marking TapeI remember as a boy traveling logging trails in the snow covered blue mountains in a snow CAT. The trails were marked with a rainbow of colors. Marking tape hanging from high tree limbs. Without them we would have been hopelessly lost. Blaze orange marking tape is common and works great. You can tie it around trees or hang it from limbs. It will last a few years and can be fairly easily removed. Blaze orange marking tape is useful for tons of things. I keep a roll in my pack. You can use it to mark a blood trail or to tie around your kill for safety.

Exeptionaly usefull stuff

Marking Tacks
My personal favorite. Marking tacks are thumb tacks that have a reflective finish. The come in many colors, white, orange, and brown being the most popular. When you shine a light on them at night they light up like cats eyes. They are super easy to install, just push them in. Easy to remove also, too easy actually. Some unethical people will remove these tacks, ruining your trail.

The brown ones are best

My favorite color are the brown ones. It is difficult to see them in the day, making them less likely to be stolen. They also do not shine brightly under normal flashlights. They shine only under red light. So, even if someone it out at night, they will most likely not be seen. These are perfect for public land.

GPS TracksThis is the least effective option and can get you off your path fairly easily. Most GPS units allow you record the path you have taken. Follow your trail with your GPS recording your path and then you can refollow your trail. Unfortunately, most GPS units can be off by 15 to 30 feet. Which can be the difference between your trail and a swap bottom.

The IPhone can do it, just like most other GPS devices

Do you have another way of marking your trail? Let me know!

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