Do you hunt public land?

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby JOEL » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:17 am

start scouting them now is my advice.i hunt public land all the time and am always looking for new spots.get a delorme gazette and lace up those boots,never know what gem ya might find,dont overlook the tiny parcels most people want to hunt "BIG WOODS".the smaller fragmented tracts close to people tend to hold lots of deer,they think there safe i guess(since i dont speak deer)[:D]
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby msbadger » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:51 am

I never have...thought about it for during archery but around here ....starting in July driving down the roads along any state run lands looks like a survyers convention gone red orange tape tie every where...So these guys are doing as you suggest...scouting...but then advertising it....or rather "marking" their 

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby Cut N Run » Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:44 pm

I quit hunting public land, even though two of my top 5 deer have come off it (including my biggest, the one in my avatar). 
 I used to bowhunt some saddles in a ridge on gamelands that had some great deer activity.  I cleared some leaves off the ridge trail in a couple of places so I could see any deer tracks in the mud and which way they were crossing. One day, early in rifle season, I decided to go get my stand out of there before it grew legs and walked off on its own. I hunted the farthest stand in the morning and saw does only (which weren't in season at the time).  I took the Loc-On stand down, slung it over my back, and headed back out the ridge trail.  I was wearing an orange vest, so I felt pretty safe.  Right when I got to the second saddle (closer to the road)  I bent over at the waist to check the mud in the saddle closest to the road. Suddenly, the pine limb right in front of my face exploded, I heard the crack of the bullet, then heard the report of the rifle. I started hollering and saw an older guy with glasses sitting on a downed log about 80 yards away. His back was up against a tree and he had a lever action rifle with iron sights in his hands.  I asked him if he felt like dying today, and brought my rifle to port arms. I saw the color drain out of his face and I turned and ran out of the woods as hard as I could go. How He didn't see my vest, I have no earthly idea.  I stopped to puke my guts out a little ways down the trail when what almost just happened hit me. I took down the license tag to the only truck that was parked beside the main road and hurried back to the Sports Shop where I worked.  They all told me that I looked like I'd seen a ghost.  I said I almost WAS a ghost and told them the story. That was the last time I rifle hunted on gamelands.
I used to bowhunt on gamelands, but once when hunting with a buddy, he arrowed a nice tall-racked 8 pointer we'd seen the afternoon before.  He wasn't sure of his shot as it was through a small opening.  We found the back half of his arrow (with decent blood), went back to the truck for flashlights (in case we needed them) and to give the deer time to lay up.  We had to knee crawl through a couple of thickets to follow the sparse blood trail, but it got heavier as we got to some more open woods that opened out to an old roadbed, where we found a gut pile and the other half of his arrow. About that time, we heard a vehicle pull off from the shoulder of the road to get out of there in a hurry & realized that it was the deer thief driving off.
That ended it for me.  I have only hunted private land since, and now have a good (but somewhat small) lease that I have to drive past thousands of acres of gamelands to get to.
Gamelands have a lot to offer, but because I don't know who else is going to be there, where they're going to be, or their competency level, someone else can have my share.
Luck Counts, good or bad

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby wiqdma » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:59 pm

I try to hunt public a little each year. Last year a very large 170 or so buck frequented a piece of public land near my home.  I gave it a days worth of effort but decided to return to my own farm when two other hunters came walking through. 

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby Ifishandhunt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:45 pm

I used to hunt public land but got tired of all the orange surrounding me. On one particular day, two young kids hunting (during shotgun season) came down a hill behind me, talking and laughing all the way... about 100 yards right towards me. I knew they saw me because I was covered in blaze orange sitting in a groudn blind I made of branches and camo net. They continued to walk right past me, one of the actually nodded and kept walking. They were apparently still-hunting because they decided to kneel behind a downed tree just 50 yards directly in front of me, in the direction I was hunting and facing. They were literally in my sights. They totally destroyed my hunt. Then the last straw with this public land hunting was on a different day when I was in the same spot (with the home made ground blind) hunting at first light (other hunters were in the area) and all of a sudden I hear BOOM!!, click click, BOOM!!, click click, BOOM!!  It scared the crap out of me. I mean I jumped out of my skin. I hit the ground because I had no idea where this person was, what they were shooting at, or what direction they were shooting. He was very close but well hidden. Obviously this idiot missed the first and second shot and took a third. If you ask me, if you missed the first and second time, you should not be taking the shot. Plus I am guessing he was shooting at a running deer. That was it for me, I was outa there! I wanted to live to hunt another day. Luckily I have a friend with 80 acres that lets me hunt her land now.  That is all I hunt now.

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby OHIOCE » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:00 am

This year will be my first.  Yesterday I prepared a spot that I think has a lot of potential.  I found areas on the topo map that look good staying about 1/2 mile away or more from any parking spots and then checked them out.  I like to focus on big white oaks near thick cover in the topo pinch points. I checked about 6 areas before I found one I really liked. 

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby mb915 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:30 am

All I hunt is public land.  It is a different ball game.  Not only do you have to figure out where the deer are, you also need to figure out where the other hunters will be.  When I first started hunting pulic land I used to think that if I got 1/2 mile from the truck I would not see anyone.  Well, over the years I have had many hunters ruin a hunt or being hunting in an area I wanted to hunt that was withing a 1/2 mile.  I now as a rule of thumb only hunt those areas that are that close to the road only if there is something to make them difficult to get to.  Such as no parking along the road, or a steep hill.  Otherwise I now try to go at least a mile to a mile and a half into the woods.  The further you get in, the less sign of other hunters you see, and the deer sign picks up exponetially.

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby RNC » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:29 am

I spend a fair amount of time hunting public land in Burnett Co. Wis. and yes getting away from everyone else on the public land is key. But that does not always mean you have to walk for miles every time out. I have been lucky enough to find several areas where the majority of the hunters and going deeper and deeper into the woods and the areas closer to the parking area or roads have become more active. Also check spots where it's highly unlikely that other hunters would look at because its too open, too thick, too close to the road or what ever other reason people wont go there. One of my most productive spots is only about the size of a football field and very open and best of all its only a 1/4 mile walk from the truck. I have been hunting this spot for years and never see any sign of others hunting there.
Of course this is hard. It's supposed to be hard, thats what makes it great. If it was easy everyone would do it!

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby WIbuckchaser » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:42 pm

I hunt public land in Chippewa Co. Wisconsin. I have been hunting the public land for around ten years now and it has fed the family quite well over those years.
During the bow season before the rut I hunt the oak ridges. When the rut rolls around I get closer to the does and the pinch points. I always see bucks during the rut.
During the rifle season I always set up where I feel other hunters are going to push the deer to me. I am set up right off the edge of an old dried up beaver pond. Hardwoods to the South and slashings to the west and North, with a tamarack swamp to the East. (also farmland one half mile away to the north)
The best part of my rifle stand is the fact that the deer are always just walking by when they get to my stand. I have never been busted by the ones I let walk either.
The biggest reason I hunt public land is because I can't get kicked off of this property and I can shoot what I want. I don't have to worry about trespassing either.

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RE: Do you hunt public land?

Postby USN_Sam1385 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:30 pm

Had a blog on pretty much this same thing:

My tip:

"I have found a way to successfully get to some of the best hunting spots on public ground. Here's how: you will find that many public hunting areas are 5000+ acres. Well, most of these have hiking/biking trails. No ATV's are allowed on these trails, or horses. I have noticed that because of this, most hunters will not go that far into the area because they do not want to walk far.

My solution: I bought a 10 speed Mongoose bike. I spray painted the thing OD green and have been using it to ride 2 or 3 miles into the conservation area via the hiking/biking trail. I strap my climbing stand onto my back, and put my bow in an ATV bow holder which I mounted to the front of my bike. This allows me to get far back into the area where noone else goes. It is like having my own property back there."


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