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Tools for Benchmark Hunting?


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As long as you are legally armed, there's no one here saying that you don't have the right to observe your Second Amendment rights.


Some states and city's/counties within them make is-very difficult of own or carry a firearm, especially a handgun. Around here the counties are allowed to restrict concealed weapons permits (have to have to carry a hand gun). You need to apply and be approved by a board mainly all composed of law enforcement. There has been many a complaint that they will not approve any. In 5 yrs it was said only 1 was given and that was to a retired police officer. They publicly admit their are against anyone carrying a hand gun unless in law enforcement.

Edited by elcamino
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I haven't checked out the laser device you mentioned, but would look really closely to be sure it was a laser measurement and not an ultrasonic measurement with a laser pointer to help aim it. If ultrasonic it is going to pick up a lot of obstacles and false ranges.

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One question - nobody brings a map?



I take a map, in the form of my GPS V with up to date maps mounted in the car. I make extensive use of it's drive to features. We use a Legend C when outside walking around. I do also have several current maps in the truck, but I don't think I've ever needed to get them out.


One of the things I did get was a 1947 road map from VDOT. Since most of the marks here were set in the 1940-1943 timeframe it seems like a good place to be looking. I haven't been carrying it with us yet, but looking at it has proved educational. We also got a 1927 Rual Mail Route map, but it's less useful with no road numbers on it.


We also just got a Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector, and already found one mark with it. I'm not quire we needed one quite that fancy (a 150 would have probably worked fine) as a benchmark is a large target, and around here in soft soil the sing nicely on the metal detector. It's good for non-benchmarking activities though.

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Map? Yes, I generally carry a map (technically, a "chart" 'cause it has lat/longs on it). I'm probably more map-centric or map-dependent than the average benchmark hunter as I am an old fashion, analog kind of guy.


I typically (but not always) organize my benchmarch hunting by 7.5 minute quad, or by a series of adjacent quads. I usually plot each benchmark as close as possible to its location on the quad (based on the description, not the published coordinates). I find that this helps me organize my searches (and I can usually search for 25+ marks in a five-hour period in rural areas.) My best day, as I recall, was 26 found in a single day.


If my search is limited to a town or city, I usually print one or a series of street maps from Rand McNally StreetFinder. If I'm looking for a small number of marks in a rural or park area, I'll usually print one or more maps from MapSource. I find it very helpful to be able to adjust the scale on such maps & tailor the map to my search area.


7.5 minute quads are available from the USGS online. Fortunately, I live near the USGS HQ in Reston, VA, and I visit the map store there every few weeks.



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I use the map capability of my GPSmap76S unit in connection with other maps. I have paper topos for two of the counties of most interest and some surrounding area and those sometimes hold clues.


Interestingly, the maps in my handheld has a lot of long-abandoned railroads and forgotten station names in it that don't show on any other maps I have, and that's quite handy.


I carry a "sportsman's atlas" for the state of Iowa that is mostly a collection of the count-by-county road maps plus an overprint showing camping, hunting, and fishing areas. I like it a lot better than the DeLorme state atlas because mine shows essentially every road, and has township, range, and section on it for those times when the benchmark description uses those.

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You bet! Always carry several maps / charts, both paper & electronic varieties. For the overview & detailed streets, I find the Thomas Bros book useful. Also, just recently, got the new Jeep with built-in GPS. Great for the "go to" function. Also just got the Magellan Meridian mounted near the dash so I can see it also while driving. It has the Mapsend topos built-in, and of course the Benchmark locations. Sometimes, especially for the 5+ mile "hike to" benchmarks (and geocaches), I'll also print up (usually on waterproof Adventure Paper), from Delorme TopoQuads, a topo portion with route & targets on it.


I must say, I tend to overdo the paper & electronic maps. For me, it's part of the enjoyment of the hobby (benchmarks & caches). I'm also a pilot, so having the all the right charts seems normal & good!


"Maps / charts" terminology: Yeah, technically, if it has Lat/ Long, it is a chart. But try asking for the chart section at a bookstore or sporting goods store. Good luck, even though many of them on the rack will in fact be charts. Sort of depends who you are talking to. Even many pilots call them maps. Hmmm.... Used to be the Defense Mapping Agency. Then it was National Imagery and Mapping Agency. Not anymore. Now it is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) . No more Mapping in it's name. Not charting either. Now it's all Geospatial-Intelligence. Funny, though, their URL is still NIMA (but http://www.nga.mil also works). Huh. So - I always have some Geospatial-Intelligence with me!!!! :blink:

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I think it is generally discouraged to attempt any kind of chemical or mechanical cleaning of marks that you find. If it is dirty, you can clean it with water. Don't try to use steel wool or any abrasive on it.


A number of us have had good success with chalk, flour, or corn starch. Sprinkle the powder and gently rub off the excess to leave the stamping filled with the white powder. It really enhances the photographs, and doesn't damage the mark or the environment.

Edited by holograph
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There are circumstances where an old toothbrush or vegetable brush would be helpful. I have used solvents to take paint off marks (the one at the base of the town water tower is usually painted). I have also sometimes carefully rubbed the disk with the end of a stick, not to polish it but just to remove crud. I would not consider anything more abrasive than that nor anything potentially corrosive.

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