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Scouting Your Trapline with Google Earth

Trappers have many resources on the internet these days, but I have found one of the most valuable is Google Earth.  This is a free program that provides detailed satellite images of just about anyplace in the world.  Google Earth has incredible features for a free program.  You can zoom in and see amazing detail of any area that you plan to scout, clearly identify key terrain features, plot courses and measure distances, and generally get a bird's eye view of your area.  While it may take hours to get a feel for an area while scouting on the ground, Google Earth can give you the big picture instantly.  Nothing can take the place of putting your boots on the ground when looking for animal sign, but Google Earth can give you an idea about where to look, what terrain features are present, and what is the best approach to scouting and trapping a piece of land.  I do a lot of pre-scouting with Google Earth and have even identified places that I knew would be productive trap sets before I even got on the ground to check them out in person.  When using Google Earth I look for several things:

Pinch Points:  These are areas where terrain features naturally narrow down avenues of travel, such as a piece of woods that narrows down to a bottle-neck, or a narrow point between the edge of a field and a stream.

Transition Areas:  Where woods borders a field, or steep terrain transitions into a flat area.

Natural Barriers:  Roads, streams, fences and other such features will often dictate travel routes for animals.  Pay particular attention to where these kinds of features intersect, or where they will naturally funnel animal traffic.

Outstanding Features:  Rock piles, sand pits, high points, old structures, lone trees, etc.  These kinds of features will often be a magnet for curious critters.  Google Earth provides enough detail to see such outstanding features in any area.

With Fall nearly here it's time to start scouting and planning ahead.  By scanning your areas ahead of time with Google Earth you can strategize your scouting and save yourself a lot of legwork.  You can download it free at this link.  I think you'll agree that this a great tool for planning your line!

Good luck and God bless. 

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