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 Post subject: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 10:13 pm 
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Alright guys, I have been a map/compass guy since I was a little kid (think Richard Flett or Shane Close). Then maps/compasses were hammered into me in the Army and used exclusively for the past 22 years. Well, seeing as I'm going on my first moose hunt this year (self guided) I will be in North Western Ontario and all travel will be by boat or canoe.

Here is where some help is needed. The terrain is completely flat, heavily forested, wet and it will be dark whenever I will be on the move. None of that is very conducive to paper map usage.

All that to say I'm seriously considering purchasing a GPS. I started looking last night when I got home from work, and my mind was boggled. I couldn't believe the different types of gps's that are available and all the functions they have on them (are they really that necessary to,have), and not to mention...the price. So I did what most anyone would do...Stopped looking. I tried again after work today, and trying to decide what I need is useless. Its like me going to Victoria's Secret, I want them all, but it ain't happening. I need help. Others would probably agree with that statement.

What GPS would you guys recommend, and why? Keep in mind when replying, that when it comes to technology, I'm similar to a Caveman wearing boxing gloves. I'm basically wanting something that has a map, and is capable of getting me to my setup in the morning, and back to camp at night. I want to be able to navigate (in the dark) the many lakes and bays where I will be hunting, and if it is at all possible, not spend as much on the unit as I am spending on the moose license. Maybe you have an old GPS that still works fine that doesn't get used anymore because you upgraded. I don't mind buying used, as long as I'm buying something of quality, AND I will provide a very loving home for it.

I do know solar landscape lights are probably coming along to mark and locate a couple key locations, including camp. I'm thinking this would be a good idea, if you don't, please feel free to pick my ideas apart. I take criticism well...when I listen. :-)


Last edited by Mike Vines on January 16th, 2015, 10:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 10:30 pm 
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Hey Mike, I have an old Garmin that you can have...that's IF I can find it. I think that I know where it is. I'll text you a pic of it. You could possibly use it as a back up. Now, I don't know if that have to be updated some how.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 8:11 am 
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From someone who has tried to help others learn GPS...practice, practice and practice more this summer. You need to be able to operate it almost without thought, know the various external buttons in complete darkness. If you practice with it enough, you'll be comfortable and automatic when using it.

For anyone who loves a touchscreen phone, I'd have to lean toward the same in a GPS. That's because your brain and finger control what you see/do...not a third-party external button. If you aren't locked into touchscreen technology then a more basic unit is great. Avoid the $500 units! I run a Garmin eTrex 30 GPSMap which costs new around $250-$300. Small, functional, well-featured, great screen and easy to use.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 9:22 am 
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Mike, I'm right there with you when it comes to being a caveman! I run a garmin foretrax. It's a wrist worn unit that is small, picks up signal great, is waterproof, and is a bare-bones type of gps. Nothing fancy about it at all, and really easy to operate. BUT, it doesn't have map capability, I mostly use it as a back up type of thing because I try not to get to reliant on it. I use to run the Barmin Vista but it got wet one day hunting elk in Utah and it pretty much ruined it but in my experience the more expensive the more advanced and the more out of my league when it comes to being able to use them efficiently.

But I whole heartedly agree with Kevin. You need to practice with it, and keep using it so you don't forget it.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:38 am 
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Sean, I appreciate that offer, and enjoyed talking to you this morning.

Kevin, as to your suggestion about touch screens...I ditched my old flip phone, and laptop, now all my stuff is touch screen. You make a VERY good point there.

Ethan, I like the thought of the GPS on the wrist, but I wear a watch already and I'm looking for map capabilities. I'm hopeful the unit I decide on will be with me for YEARS to come incase I get tired of moose hunting (doubt it, but never know) and want to hread back out west.

You all have given me some great things to think of/about. Anymore thoughts???


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 12:23 pm 
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Ethan Rodrigue wrote:
Mike, I'm right there with you when it comes to being a caveman! I run a garmin foretrax. It's a wrist worn unit that is small, picks up signal great, is waterproof, and is a bare-bones type of gps. Nothing fancy about it at all, and really easy to operate. BUT, it doesn't have map capability, I mostly use it as a back up type of thing because I try not to get to reliant on it.


I have one of these too. Good bread crumb trail, might be perfect for a caveman (lol)..... Just because it has a wrist band doesn't mean you have to wear it on our wrist.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 2:14 pm 
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Mike
I may have cancel my elk trip this year due to the cost of the therapy I will be in ,because of the visions of you in victoria secret garb.
I have an older gps without the map feature and would not buy one without now.
As kevin said practice,practice,practice.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 6:49 pm 
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Mike, I am running a Garmin 62s. As long as you have batteries you're good to go. I used to run a straight compass/map setup. It's all good and well until you hit into fog,blinding snow and very flat terrain. I just got back from Stewart Island and that GPS come in handy!
I still have my compass with me as a back up. With the Garmin 62s and a good topo map I can log in certain areas of interest via Waypoints eg wallow holes, trails ect. I can track my movements of where I have been,walking speed,elevation,I can look at a mountain and "sight and go", Or make a track to a waypoint. There's a heap of other "stuff" on it which I don't use. I hope this helps Mike.
MOOSE

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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 8:49 pm 
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I also have the Garmin 62s. Really nice unit that does way more than I need. But it does have great map features and I really like those. Good battery life, and very fast satellite acquisition. It is fairly intuitive to use, meaning that once I got familiar with it I don't need a book to run it.
Prior to this one I had a Garmin 60csx(?) I liked that one even better - just a little more simple to use. Unfortunately, it now resides on a mountain in Utah. They"upgraded" that unit to the 62s, so that is what I carry now.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 18th, 2015, 12:34 pm 
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Quote:
Its like me going to Victoria's Secret, I want them all, but it ain't happening.
:lol: Tell me you don't wear VS stuff under your hunting clothes?

Mike I have had a Garmin Vista for about 10 years. Mostly used it for marking good hunting spots while scouting. Like you I spent 10 years in the Army Infantry and finding my way around in the woods hasn't been a problem. The Vista that I have is simple to use and I have found it to be dead on. I marked a spot in the wilderness area here in Virginia one year and hung a stand. The following morning it was pitch black and I didn't want to wander around to much so I turned on the GPS and hit the go to button and it took me right to the tree with my climber on it. Using one in conjunction with a topo map can be really handy. Like Kevin said, I wouldn't spend a fortune and look for a unit that rates high on signal strength. I have noticed that when you get into deep woods with a thick canopy the signal can become very weak to no signal at all.

The unit that Moose & Joe mentioned, Garmin 62s, is one of the highest rated and best reception. I think it run's around $350 with the maps.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 18th, 2015, 5:49 pm 
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Mike, I have a garmin 60 csx that I'm not currently using.
If your interested I could bring it along to k-zoo so you could check it out.
Give me a call at 715-623-5399
Bill


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 18th, 2015, 7:39 pm 
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Guys, I really appreciate all the input here. Bill, it was nice to talk with you tonight, and NOW you know what it feels like to be a Lions "fan"...As soon as you think things are going to happen, the OTHER team shows up. HA!!!

Tomorrow, I'm going to call Garmin (the manufacturer that I chose) with some specific questions. My main concern is that everything I'm finding online about the products made by Garmin is that it is basically set up for travel within the US. Nothing is mentioned about usage in Canada. I'd hate to buy something, just to spend more money to get it to work properly.

I'll keep you updated as to what Garmin tells me.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 18th, 2015, 7:52 pm 
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Mike,

You don't have to give up on simplicity. A GPS is a time saver. A compass and map is the life saver!

Here is my theory on GPS use. It's biased towards elk hunting where GPS signals often don't penetrate black timber or steep gullies or valleys.

I only use the GPS to get a Bearing and distance....and maybe time.

Your bearing is the direction in degrees you need to travel to get to whatever spot you want to be.

The spot you want to be is called a waypoint. (Sorry,.....I probably didn't need to explain those terms but anyhow..)

For example, I mark Camp as a waypoint. I wear a map compass on my neck on a cord and it never leaves my neck. Like you I will always check my compass heading. We know the general direction we're heading and we know that a reverse heading takes us back.

I leave camp knowing my general direction heading. I periodically check my GPS to see what my bearing back to camp is. I will dial that bearing into my map compass and also remember it and the distance to that waypoint as I drop the compass back under my shirt. If the weather gets bad or I get dinged up, I've remembered the last bearing and distance to camp. Also, Its already dialed on my map compass and if the GPS has failed or wont get a signal. I can still navigate.

The point is that I don't get all wrapped up in staring at a GPS while I'm walking. Especially in the dark. Too dangerous. If you have a waypoint selected on you GPS, just get the bearing and distance to that way point and set your compass heading to that bearing. Then you can just look at the compass now and then.

I've only owned one GPS for 14 years. Garmin Etrex. Lowest priced and lowest bells and whistles GPS available. If it fails someday, I will still get home using the compass and map. I'll buy another new low end unit from Garmin.

A guy can really buy a lot of tech to navigate with these days. We don't really need it to be safe.

Garmin wrote the book on GPS...........BUT..............Never leave camp without your beloved compass.

Mike these are just my opinions based on my experience with blending GPS with good old fashioned compass and map skills.....Good luck with your GPS education.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 19th, 2015, 7:11 am 
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I doubt whether any of us (at least any of us who have some gray in our hair) are completely relying on GPS to get us home or keep us alive. Incidentally, I used to use one for that when I was ice-fishing on the Great Lakes and it was as fool-proof as navigation gets. Big ice is full of dangerous cracks, ridges, holes and other killers. A GPS allowed me to mark critical targets (or problems) and then navigate accordingly. In pitch blackness I could go straight to the only crack-crossing and nail it exactly. I could nav to my earlier tracks and find them in the snow, then follow an exact route if desired. More than once I encountered guys looking to get off the ice but unable to find a way in the dark. It inevitably ended with me rounding them up and having them follow me in. GPS will simply do things that nothing else will do. As Duane said, it won't replace map and compass. But sometimes it will get you home with a lot less effort and time...situational of course.

When hunting I don't spend much time using my eTrex, but it carries my important waypoints and is a problem-solver in my pocket if needed. Picture trailing a wounded animal into unfamiliar terrain and cover, while focusing more on the animal's trail than anything else. You get the picture. My GPS isn't how I nav on land usually, but it's there to help me orient quickly and get in or out. My last trip to Hawaii: I established a great blind setup deep in the acacia bush, but due to busting deer I needed a totally different access in the dark. I navigated by the sounds of surf, starlight and other rough indicators to get me within a couple hundred yards of my destination, then I went to GPS and let it take me straight to the exact position of my tree.

If I was buying a new unit and felt like I wanted to really use it and get the most out of it, I would likely end up with a touch-screen unit. I just feel like this is where GPS is headed, as it makes the unit-user interface much more intuitive. Maybe the only downside to TS units is the need to be glove-free when operating. I hear their power consumption is greater, too. A very good thing about current GPS is the ability to download maps and perform software updates on a regular basis. You'll never catch me without a compass in big or unfamiliar country, but the first thing I reach for is my eTrex if I need to locate.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 19th, 2015, 1:01 pm 
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Mike, I bought the Garmin Oregon 600 this past fall to utilize with the Onyx Map chip to to know when you are on private or public land. I haven't used it yet, but plan to mark my beaver sets during the Spring season. My first GPS has spent much more time in the back country of Montana than I have after I left it there 5 years ago. It ran about $350.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 19th, 2015, 4:24 pm 
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The Chinese invented the compass,sometime in the third century AD.and from the 11th century AD. was used in marine navigation from then on.
GPS are great .Though An old nimrod once told me compasses don't lie,but I carry two anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 20th, 2015, 9:46 am 
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Hey Mike. I have the Oregon 600 also. I did way too much research when I got it. It is touch screen, good resolution. I would not recommend any of the "T" models. The topo maps they come with aren't very good resolution. The best topo maps for Garmin units, in my opinion, are the Birds Eye Topo. You have to subscribe to it at $29 a year but you can download all of the maps you want during that yearand keep them forever. It's much more economical than buying the Garmin maps on CD. Plus, they are Raster maps of USGS and NRC quadrangles. They look exactly like the topo paper maps you will likely have. Coverage is all of the U.S. including Alaska and HI AND Canada. You are only limited by the amount of storage capacity on your unit. You can put more maps on sd cards as well. They also have birds eye satelite imagery available on a separate $29 annual subscription. Those are good for areas with a lot of open terrain. Not so great for heavily forested areas. If you want to discuss them, shoot me a PM.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 24th, 2015, 11:40 am 
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Guys, I contacted Garmin and their customer service if fantastic. After telling the guy on the phone what I was interested in (buying Bill's 60CSX with a few questions on the unit). I had to sit thru the sales pitch of how I "Really Need" to purchase the NEW model 64 GPS. Supposidly it is so much better that garmin now uses not only US satellites, but also Russian satellites at the same time to pinpoint my location.

After assuring him that I didn't need Russia knowing what I was up to (read that as I wasn't buying the latest and greatest), all my questions were answered about the 60CSX.

Come to find out, according to the guy from Garmin, ALL of their GPS systems come with a global map. That was my main concern. To make sure of this, I gave Bill some random coordinates in Ontario, and he confirmed that for on his handheld unit.

So, I'm picking up Bill's GPS at Kzoo next weekend and I will have 8 months to get really acquainted with it.

Thank you guys for all your input. I posted this same question on 2 other forums, and my assumption was correct, I received the most straightforward answers on the PBS site. One main reason for me not going with a touchscreen unit, is that (like when using my phone), it takes 2 hands to oopperate the touchscreen effectively. I like the simplicity of one handed opperation and actual buttons to press. Like I said in the beginning, I'm a Caveman wearing boxing gloves. Simplicity is the best for me.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 24th, 2015, 1:24 pm 
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I really like the Garmin Rhino series. I do not know your style of hunting, or if the features of the Rhino would suit you, but if your buddy also has a rhino, they can be used as Radios. You can also see the location of your buddy on the map as well, if you are hunting different areas. For me these are huge bonuses.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS help???
PostPosted: January 24th, 2015, 1:25 pm 
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Looking forward to meeting you next weekend Mike!


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