Un­charted hunt­ing des­ti­na­tions

Tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to change the na­ture of hunt­ing with ev­ery­thing from drones to satel­lites used to scout new lo­ca­tions. Rob Tre­ble de­scribes how to use avail­able tech­nol­ogy to your ad­van­tage.

Field and Game - - SCOUTING FROM HOME -

Over the past 35 years many things have changed in the wa­ter­fowl hunt­ing com­mu­nity; change is in­evitable and never end­ing. The most sig­nif­i­cant is the in­tro­duc­tion of the in­ter­net and smart­phones.

No longer is there a se­cret spot: with this tech­nol­ogy I can zoom into the hid­den hole that I could hear old mate bang­ing away in and work out if I can ac­cess it or not.

Ad­di­tion­ally, pub­lic land hun­ters have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years; this can cause crowd­ing on pop­u­lar hunt­ing lo­ca­tions, as can wet­land clo­sures, de­tract­ing from your hunt­ing trip.

This ar­ti­cle will as­sist you in de­vel­op­ing op­tions on the wet­lands that re­ceive min­i­mum hunt­ing pres­sure.

I am for the most part a pub­lic land wa­ter­fowl hunter and as such, I am re­quired to have knowl­edge of where I can and can­not hunt. The in­ter­net is my pri­mary tool to re­search, scout and plan hunts be­fore I even visit an area.

So where do I start?

The Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity web­site (www.gma.vic.gov.au) de­tails many great hunt­ing des­ti­na­tions around the state and pro­vides some good in­for­ma­tion. To start your desk­top scout­ing, look at the in­di­vid­ual fact sheets on the game re­serve. It also de­tails where wa­ter­fowl may be hunted or not by the land clas­si­fi­ca­tion. The map in­for­ma­tion is lim­ited and it de­tails the size of the re­serve not the size of the wet­land. Other de­tails in­clude ac­cess roads, local points of con­tacts, a guide to what species are present and an in­di­ca­tion of depth and what type of

hunt­ing you can do. For land in­for­ma­tion visit maps.land.vic.gov.au/lassi to de­ter­mine if land is pub­lic land and roads are pub­lic. An­other use­ful tool is www.maps.vic.gov.au/map­share be­cause you can ap­ply dif­fer­ent lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion to the map; the func­tion­al­ity of the tool al­lows you to de­ter­mine if there is any li­cence over the land. It also al­lows you to ob­tain wet­land in­for­ma­tion, such as the size of the wet­land and so forth.

The travel mate web­site

(www.trav­el­mate.com.au/map) is good for road maps, di­rec­tions and an es­ti­mated travel time to your hunt­ing des­ti­na­tion. When trav­el­ing for a few days I use this to plan my trip, usu­ally start­ing at the fur­thest hunt­ing des­ti­na­tion to shorten the drive home on Sun­day.

Us­ing a search en­gine such as Google is also help­ful; sim­ply en­ter your hunt­ing des­ti­na­tion (wet­land name). It will usu­ally pro­duce some­thing, for ex­am­ple, maps, man­age­ment plans and gen­eral in­for­ma­tion. You may have to wade through a lot of in­for­ma­tion, but there are gems amongst it.

Google Earth is an ex­cel­lent source of satel­lite im­agery that pro­vides de­tail of wet­land, and ad­join­ing land use. You are able to zoom in and have a bird’s eye view of your hunt­ing des­ti­na­tion, and they show tracks and wet­land fea­tures: those hon­ey­holes the ducks fre­quently use.

Per­cep­tive wa­ter­fowl hun­ters have been us­ing th­ese re­sources for years. The only is­sue is that the all of the im­ages are dated and not truly re­flec­tive of wa­ter level or cur­rent con­di­tions.

All wa­ter au­thor­i­ties have web­sites. Goul­burn-mur­ray Wa­ter pro­vides a list of all lakes where wa­ter­fowl hunt­ing is al­lowed, de­tails any con­di­tions on hunt­ing and lists boat ramps and ameni­ties. Wa­ter lev­els are avail­able and are cur­rent.

Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ties pro­vide wet­land in­for­ma­tion on their web­sites and so­cial me­dia pages. Th­ese de­tail things like wa­ter­ing plans, which pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on wa­ter depth, species and when the wa­ter­ing is go­ing to oc­cur.

So­cial me­dia — love it or hate — is a source of a lot of in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially on the ded­i­cated hunt­ing pages.

It is im­por­tant to do re­search be­yond what you read: is it still hunt­ing well, has ac­cess changed, is hunter pres­sure an is­sue or protest ac­tiv­ity?

I also use a handy phone app called Mea­sure Your Land when I am hunt­ing on pub­lic land. I have usu­ally picked my hunt­ing lo­ca­tion and used the app to mea­sure the dis­tance from the ac­cess point to the hunt­ing area and to check the range of any build­ing so I’m not drop­ping pel­lets on the roof.

You can gather a lot of in­for­ma­tion about hunt­ing des­ti­na­tions from a va­ri­ety of sources with­out hav­ing to leave your home. I have de­vel­oped a tem­plate that I use to col­late the in­for­ma­tion for my scout­ing trips. Many of the sites above al­low you to print the in­for­ma­tion.

The best part about desk­top scout­ing is that it can be done in the off sea­son any time you have a few hours to burn. I like to hunt dif­fer­ent wet­lands. It’s not about fill­ing the bag; I like to test my hunt­ing skills and knowl­edge in dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments and en­joy­ing new scenery.

En­joy your 2018 sea­son, hunt safely and for the fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.