Nearly every state has an abundance of public land available to hunters, and if you are a “do it yourself” hunter who likes researching, planning and executing hunts, this method can pay off big time in cost and experience.
By far the most time consuming, but also the most cost effective, public land hunting is a great
alternative to paying for outfitters or access. Modern technology, Google Earth, online topographic
and property maps have made doing research on public hunting spots much easier than even 10 years ago.
By adding a little common sense to technology, you can make that research pay off by putting yourself in the very best portion of those public lands. You’ll increase your odds even more by leveraging the deer management practices of adjacent private lands.
Starting with the state you’d like to hunt, you can pull statewide public land maps. Narrowing the
target area down to a quadrant of the state that is better habitat, or the type of hunting experience you desire is a crucial part of the first steps of planning.
For instance, if you were looking into New York, the Adirondack Park has millions of acres available, big-bodied deer, and areas that likely never see a hunter all season – but it also has very low deer numbers. If you’d prefer to see two dozen deer a day, rather than one or two or none, you’d do much better to hunt the Catskill Mountain land where deer densities are higher than anywhere else in the state.
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Call the state department of natural resources office, or search online for past harvest reports by county, and you’ll easily discover where opportunities are greatest.
Once you’ve narrowed your search down the common sense aspects come into play and it’s time to begin looking at neighboring properties. Finding large tracts of private lands that are likely managed with food plots, cover, for older-aged bucks, and a higher density of both bucks and does is the goal.
Using online aerial and topographic maps, you can then study the terrain to find likely funnels, ridges or bottoms where you’re most apt to witness buck movement. Setting up closer to these properties gives you a greater opportunity to harvest deer, versus being in the middle of a public area where food, cover and overall hunting pressure reduces opportunity.
Lastly, research the rut timing in that area to figure out exactly what week to plan your hunt, and ensure you are in the woods at the key time of season when the deer are moving most.
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Get This Great Cooler/Dry Box and You’ll Be Set!
Whether you’re going to the beach on vacation, relaxing at the fishin’ hole or sweating your butt off in summer at a deer camp work day, this Engel Cooler/Dry Box will be a great benefit.
Three sizes are available and they all come with these great features:
- Quality injection molding and high-grade molded polystyrene foam insulation keeps your food and drinks cold
- Air-tight EVA gasket seals the entire lid
- Carrying is comfortable with recessed ergonomic carry handles and an integrated shoulder strap
- Stays shut with stainless steel latches and fittings secured with stainless steel screws
- No foul smells, thanks to stain and odor resistant surfaces
- Easy to clean with a non-absorbent surface
- Compact and lightweight
- Self-stopping hinge
- Includes a convenient hanging accessory tray