As a deer hunter, I love maps. There are all sorts of them that can be helpful to a deer hunter. Aerial, topo, plat, public/private land, hydro, and the list goes on. There are many types out there that are beneficial to hunters. But one that often goes unnoticed is the historical map. There are several reasons why historical map layers are important.
It’s Fun to See How Land Changes
Historical map layers on Google Earth pull imagery from past years to show you what a property used to look like. For starters, it’s just plain fun to see how a place used to appear. Seeing how the terrain has changed can be flat-out eye opening in some cases.
It’s extremely educational, too. Going back and matching up your in-the-field sightings and trail camera photos to spots on historical maps (from the same years) will show you how deer use different types and stages of habitat. Knowing this information can help you learn where to focus and where not to.
For those who’ve hunted properties for a number of years, being able to look at the aerial history of a property (and knowing what it looked like at that time), really helps you to hone your digital scouting skills. Using digital maps is the first step in scouting any new property—private or public. So being good at that helps you to narrow down the amount of land you’ll want to scout in-the-field. It’s a huge time-saver.
You Can Somewhat Predict What Land Will Look Like in the Future
Studying the progression of habitat growth and the speed at which habitat succession occurs will help you to know what a property will look like in the future. This is great for judging what a distant, out-of-state property will look like in years to come without having to see it in the future. Obviously, things happen, and habitat is changed and altered by man and natural disasters. But that aside, you should have a pretty accurate image in your head down the road what it will look like.
All in all, the Google Earth historical map layers are useful. Include them in your arsenal of mapping tools and pull them out when you need them. You never know when that might be.
Whitetails make the hunting world go round. Josh Honeycutt, deer hunting editor and "Brow Tines and Backstrap" blogger, knows a fair bit about killing mature deer. He was raised up hunting the river bottoms of Kentucky. And he still hunts there—among other places—to this day.
Follow along as he shares his adventures, experiences and knowledge of the white-tailed deer.