How to Read Topo Maps for Deer Hunting | Counter Lines & More

How to Read Topo Maps for Deer Hunting?

If you are a professional deer hunter, you might be aware of all the hunting techniques, strategies, and knowledge about it. Similarly, the topo map is among the most useful tactics of hunters to hunt deer more effectively. It is utilized to see the earth’s surface.

Moreover, it significantly helps to hunt deer quickly by knowing the terrain especially when you are in the woods.

With this, you can find peaks, valleys, and slopes as well as fields, meadows, and heavy-leaved areas. So, if you want to be an expert hunter, you must have a clear understanding of how to read topo maps for deer hunting.

If you want to get detailed information about the topo map, you can go below and explore more about it.

How to Read Topographic Maps for Deer Hunting?

The topo map is the finest choice to convert the three-dimensional region of the earth into a two-dimensional form. On this map, you will see accurate directions of ponds, highways, altitudes, rivers, ponds, hills, valleys, and geographical indications.

When hunting deer, analyzing topo maps is crucial, particularly if you are in the woods and looking for a deer. Hunters use altitude and contour plots to analyze a topo map. A hunter calculates the degree or sloping of the ground utilizing these contour maps.

For reading a topo map, you will need to understand the contour lines, reading symbols & colors, and map scales. Thus, you can consider the factors given below to read the Topo Map:

The Hilltop

The Hilltop

The Hilltop is represented on the map with the tiniest and closest dots. Deer can be found along the hill’s third or fourth part.

The Gentle Slope

The Gentle Slope

You can recognize a steep incline if the lines are spaced apart. Deer hunting is not recommended in this location. But don’t panic, you can still utilize the space well. Deer will be drawn to a place if it has places to sleep having a source of food.

Ridge Ends

Ridge Ends

You must remember that the ridge terminals are shown by the tight contour maps that show the steep bends. When you observe ridge endings, no whitetail hunting is allowed during any year.


If you hunt commonly in coal towns, Plateaus will be near to you. The Plateaus are shaped oval or rectangular. White space is surrounded by space lines, which are visible on the map. The key to successful deer hunting is to identify the local fruits and vegetables in that area.

What are the Contour Lines on a Topographical Map?

There are three contouring marks on the map that shows topographic features. You won’t lose your senses if you walk across a curved surface because it will keep you safe and protected.

Below are the lines that you will see on the map:

  • Index Lines
  • Intermediate Lines
  • Supplementary Lines

What are the 4 Rules of Topographic Maps?

If you know the rules of a topographical map, you can determine the position of valleys, peaks, ridges, and other geographical areas. So, below are some rules of the topographic map:

  • Rule 1: Slope: The slope will be greater when the lines are closer
  • Rule 2: A River/Flow Stream and Origin
  • Rule 3: Hills and Mountains
  • Rule 4: A hill or mountain must be as high as it can be
  • Rule 5: Depressive conditions
  • Rule 6: The lowest level of depression feasible

What are the Deer Hunting Terrain Features?

Below are the main features of Topo Maps that you can consider while reading Topo Maps:



It is good to know that saddles are not created equal. Locating those more difficult-to-reach saddles that haven’t been inspected by every deer hunter is the key to achievement. It will help a hunter to get more chances to hunt a deer.

In daytime hours, adult bucks hardly show themselves in visible areas. A saddle is a low point on a hill or a low area between two curves, where deer would often walk.

It is helpful for people who are unfamiliar with geographical features. It is beneficial to spend as little energy as possible because the more energy they utilize, the more food they must eat to “recharge.”

The Hub

The Hub

A hub is when several finger hills combine to form one outflow. The term “crow’s foot” refers to its appearance and it can match a bird’s feet on the ground. Thus, deer follow the edges of these hills.

It is a region where several finger ridges empty into a single drain and offers a point where these ecological travel routes merge.

These collecting points can be excellent locations at any time of year. But during the rut, when bucks are wandering all day long in the hunt for responsive does, they can be very successful.


Bluffs Cliffs

Remarkable topographic features like cliffs or rocks can have a big impact on how deer travel. With this, a cunning deer hunter will be able to surprise a deer in the duct. In two distinct ways, a cliff or bluff can be a wonderful pinching point.

Based on the steep slopes and the design, it can regulate deer motion down to the cliff/bluff along the top or the bottom. It can also funnel deer movements across a broad.

The latter is referred to as a “bluff gap,” and unless the contours are closer, it could be challenging to locate on a topo map.

River Bends

River Bends

Deer migration can also be regulated by the creek or river curves. Deer can funnel around the top of a steep outwards curve in a stream. It helps to stop having to traverse the stream to get to their desired location.

A hunter is less inclined to approach the other three sides of the creek/river. Thus, they only have to keep an eye on that fourth edge with their noses to feel comfortable. We use spotting scope with rangefinder and best rangefinder with angle compensation to correctly measure the movements of dear in river area.

How to Find Deer Funnels on a Map?

On a topographic map, a deer funnel represents a route that deer prefers to follow. They are found close to bodies of water including lakes, rivers, and waterways. In areas with dense forests, such as woods and wetlands, deer funnels are also common.

Where Can I Find Rut Funnels?

You will have to set up your stand in a windward position. Although it would be apparent, you must consider the typical direction of the wind. Your setup must be at least 20 yards away downstream if you discover a deer track in the rut funnel.

How to Find Buck’s Bedding on the Topo Map?

To locate deer bedding places, you can utilize topo maps as it is the finest choice. You should look for seats with apparent spaces and sharp, shattered sides.

Deer chooses to rest on these seats to minimize risks on the downward side. It also prevents them from rapid takeoffs to the mountain peak.

Related Questions

The valleys are among the best things to highlight on a map that you should consider. In the case that the circumstances are good, you will get fantastic hunting chances. For instance, a drawing might indicate the position of a water supply.

The biggest peaks are shown by the tiniest rings on a topographical map. Deer prefer to sleep between mountains or on hillsides.

Slopes provide windy cover and a suitable getaway path for deer in case they have to flee downhill very fast.


To become an expert hunter, you must be aware of how to read topo maps for deer hunting. That’s why I have made this task easy for you by providing detailed information about it in this article.

Before going hunting, you must have all the essential preparations such as proper dressing, equipment, and an understanding of Topo maps.


About Author

Hi, I’m David. a professional hunter. I’m hunting since my childhood I used to go with my dad in the States of Montana. We used to hunt mule deer and white-tailed deer. I made this blog to share my experience and help beginners with this experience. More about me here.

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