Caribou Gear Tarp

How to use a compass...


Grand poopa
Dec 9, 2000
Boise, Idaho
OK, this may sound funny.. BUT, this actually happened to me while hunting with Weekend warrior . We were... WELL, Let's say more then a mile of two back into the woods (Recently I've been accused of bragging, so I'll spare the full distance truth *WINK*) ANYWAYS.. back to the point..... I shot my elk and was talking about which way to go and make sure I wouldn't get lost. It was my first time in that area and we started hiking around 3AM. So I seen CRAP for benchmarks and wanted to know general area's and which way the main ridge was running....

W.W. told me a direction... I'll say N-S for this example... Anyways, I pulled out my compass and looked at it and called him a lier, It was E-W !!! HE said "WHATEVER" and the argument began !!!! I showed him mine.. it was a Bran spanking new one.. He pulled out his ... (We're still talking compasses at this point

NOW, I took my compass and started to hand it to him and the North arrow switched 180 degree's !! I couldn't figure out what the deal was.. It took only about one second though and I realised I whad a knife in the one hand and when the other hand came close to it.... the North arrow changed... I never stopped to think about it, HAD I taken off in the direction he told me, I would have been lost.

Bottom line, Either don't have anything that could interfeer with the Magnet of the compass like a knife, watch or metal canteen, Or don't ask me for Directions
When I used to hunt in huge swamps in the North East it was easy to get turned around. You could never see any landmarks and everything looks the same. Even the water flows around in circles. In a snowstorm when you could only see about twenty yards it got real confusing.

I'd always carry two compasses and hold them both out at arms length. Then the majority would always win if there was any doubt about direction. The two compasses always out voted me!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 01-03-2003 22:26: Message edited by: Ithaca 37 ]</font>
GPS!!!!!!!!!! Or MPS if you prefer (Moosie Positioning System)
Sorry, couldn't resist!! Yeah, compasses can get screwy around metal! And some really go crazy even close to metal!! It's always best to be a good 10 feet away from any metal object. Belt buckles, Rings, and watches can screw up compasses. Glad to hear you realized it!
TK, what about angle of deviation?? does that effect your position if up is always north?

I think the deviation here is about 15 degs. I have a Silva compass that cost about the same as some GPS way back when. (at least 25 years.) I think I'll have to just go buy a GPS unit just to verify my compuss reading.
Elkhunter.. Asking me direction is usually EVERYONES first mistake !! HEHE

Ithica, I hear that Tundra is the same... I used to live in Louisiana too... EEEGADs it was hard to tell in the Swamps !!!!

ElkHntinMD.... MPS... GOOD ONE !!! HAHAH YAH, I'm sure if there was a Moosie positioning unit, PEOPLE would track me down


Brokfut.. 25 year old Compass.... THATS back befor Columbus discovered America.. Isn't it ?!?!?!?

RANDALL K... YAH, I like people to wonder is I take the "RIGHT" way ... Keeps people on their toes at hunting camp !!!

Mtmiller... Magnetic Declination ?!?! YOUI watch your mouth on my board now.. ya hear
MTMILLER is correct with his assumption, sort of. Your knife worked the same voodoo as Magnetic dec does but true MD is from natural magnetic sources. I hunted in Michigans UP one year and a compass was completely useless. It has the worst MD in the country due to the shallow heavy ore supply in the ground. A guys compass can literelly do a 180 in some parts up there.
Moosie, GPS is less than 100$ now, time to step up bro
deviation is the difference between the north your compass points to and true north. It's not real important on land, but when you get a couple hundred miles offshore, it can be the difference between getting back and not getting back..

It was just a trick question for the kid.... Somebody has to keep him on his toes....

LMAO you guy's...I always carry a compass and still look at the maps, even though now I do carry a gps all the time..You just never know when the little gizmo will give out...I have also noticed at times when moving across the mountains watching my compass here in Mt. that some times I can't get an accurate reading from it no matter where I stand..It just never occured to me that there could be elemental forces in the ground that could effect it..Very good point schmalts...And as Ithica stated, there are places where if you don't belive your compass you will walk in complete circles..I have found this to be true on overcast day's in some of these very large lodgepole thickets that seem to go on for miles in any direction and the landscape under these areas is almost identical to every where else..I suppose there are alot of places around the US especially Ak that you would have this same problem. A GPS will walk you right thru these areas though..Cool little tool...
You can also use your watch as a compass. May be a little off, but it will work, as long as it is daylight. Place the hour hand to the sun and half way between the hour hand and 12 is north.
Doesn't that depend on which way you go around the circle, Elkchsr? If you point the hour hand at the sun at 8 AM, and then go clockwise to 12, you're gonna go SE if you split the difference, assuming you are facing the direction of the hour hand. Don't you have to go counter-clockwise to 12?
You are right Cali. I was doing this from memory from what I read a long time ago. I went to the site listed above and this is what I found.

If you have an analog wrist watch, you can use the time to find north. Hold your watch up in front of you, and let the short hand, red on the figure, that indicates hours point at the sun. While holding it like this, cut the angle between the red arrow and 12 o'clock in two, (noonwards if the time is before 6am or after 6pm), that way is south. (The reason you need to cut it in two, is because the clock takes two rotations while the sun takes one around the earth, it is of course the other way around, but never mind.)

Many people wear digital watches these days (I do myself, if I wear one at all). If you do, draw an analog watch face on a piece of paper, and then mark the hour hand on using the digital watch. The rest of the method is identical.

This method can be used even when it is pretty foggy. Although you may not be able to see the sun, it may still cast a shadow. If you take up a straw or a tiny stick, and you may see a shadow. You just have to remember that the shadow points the opposite way from the sun, but the rest of it is quite similar as above.

You people are gonna get me lost!
rolleyes.gif favorite compass is one of the homemade variety......I take a fresh cut willow branch, drop my drawers and shove it about 3/4 the way up my ass. If you shove less than that, it gives an inaccurate reading...any farther and you may loose a good compass. I then bend over touching my toes......leaving the compass pointing skyward......the crooked end of the willow will always turn to the north.....but it does help to have a partner along to help read's kinda hard to see sometimes while your bent over

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