Hunting Public Land

Tracks, Rubs, Scrapes, Trails, Etc.
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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby DeanoZ » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:45 pm

This is my first year seriously hunting public land...not by choice either.  Having said that, it definitely has its challenges and misgivings.  Some of the lessons I've learned start before you even get in the woods.  Call your local DNR and get their advice/scoop on the good places to go...they really do know what lands are swamped, problematic, have good deer population in terms of hunters to deer.  Find lands that are big...the bigger the more options and places to get away from the other hunters.  As others said go deep...but don't overlook the spots that are literally just a few hundred yards from the parking lot...everyone is going deep or at least deeper now a days so often times the mature bucks are holing up closer to the park borders and entrances.  Go early mornings and during the weekdays, especially with your flexible work schedule this is a must to avoid the weekend warriors.  As someone else suggested use a mountain bike (if they allow it) to do your initial scouting and to get to your deep woods spots.  I've run into some knuckleheads and some nice guys who will help you out.  I've had guys set up with in feet of me, walk under my stand, tramp through the woods, talk on cell phones, etc.  Not much you can do about it, kind of goes with the territory...but in the limited public properties I've hunted, I have been able to find a honey hole...just takes a little work!  Good luck!

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby epapineau » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:44 am

yeah, that's the drag about hunting public. I use to hunt all private, but since leasing became really popular in my area, its hard to find a property owner that will just let you hunt on his land. The best I can do is go onto google maps and get the areal photo of the state land. Then I look for the furthest spots that look like the hardest to get to and scout them out. This normally deters the fair-weather hunters that are so observant that they will walk right under you stand and not know it! I have had it happen to me before. The best I can do is go where only the dedicated will go. At least there, they will probably see you and have the courtesy to satay away. I would suggest getting a GPS to find exact trees in the morning since most of my spots are so difficult to get to, and brier proof your bow! I was climbin through some thick brush and ripped the fiber-optic pin off my sight! Luckily, it was after an evening hunt.

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby Sailfish » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:50 am

I recently attended the public land seminar provided by DDH.
Great seminar.
If you can still listen to it, go ahead, it was so informative.

I echo the sentiments above about gun hunting public land.
I thought it was just a "southern" thing, but I hope never to have to hunt FL public lands with a firearm.
I'll stick to archery here.
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby Archer917 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:47 am

[size="3"][font="tahoma"]Most people are lazy so if you go back in normally about 3/4 of a mile or a little farther you will see a lot less people and the ones on the edges with there shot guns will a lot of the times push deer to you. Make them work for you find the deers escape routes and hunt them you will be surprised how much these other hunters can make you successful. [/font][/size]

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby chaxeemly » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:51 pm

i too hunt on public land. i just moved to MN from WI about 3 years ago and picked up bowhunting at that time. I've had the same exact scenario's happen. Probably 90% of the time im out hunting. What i do is find a secluded area, very small portion of the property that no one will hunt it cause there's no trees or its too small to even shoot a squirrel out of, and hunt that.  During opening day i dont even go out. i wait until late october and opening gun season to go out. During the gun season, everyone will be at there prime spot hunting for deer. and it generally gets too cold to be hunting by october. Past 3 years i've done this and have had major success. First year i seen a 2 and 1/2 year old10 pt, i opted to pass on it. the following year i seen the same ten pt roughly at 150's now in the secluded area bedded with 2 does durring the opening gun season. but my stupid mistake i forgot my release in my larger jacket. this year same time, opening day of gun season, i encountered a monster 8 pt. i wasnt able to get a great shot so i passed on it also. i forgot to mention, this area is only about 250 acres, and same as your area, is bow only. and open to small game. 

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby crazybull » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:36 am

Deercamp is right if you see an area and think to yourself that its too thick or steep or whatever reason you use in your head to not want to go there just think other hunters are thinking the samething.  The deer will go where the humans will not.  So if it's hard for you its safe for the deer.
Fear the government that fears your gun!

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby Cut N Run » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:18 am

Another option is to use a canoe or boat if possible. Water limits human access, but deer will cross it without a second thought. It is also a lot easier to get a deer out by boat than dragging it so far.

Concentrate on bowhunting before the small game season opens. The deer are still on fairly regular movement patterns before the guns start going boom. A patch of woods can look like a ghost town during gun season but can be crawling with deer during archery season.

I'd also check into finding some other land to hunt. You may have to do some work around a farm to get access from the farmer, but it can be worth it.

Luck Counts, good or bad

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby jonny5buck » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:41 pm

Im a little confused -your bow hunting deer in a park that allows gun hunters to be hunting small game with shotgun at the same time??? If so that's a hard battle to begin with.
I can offer a few tips from my experience.Firstly get in early [as early as they allow] and take a waist pack w/water and something to munch on.Plan on sitting as long as you can take it.A pair of binoculars is invaluable[10X42] use em to watch deer if you can't get a shot,you still got one up on a travel route.Parks with a lot of pressure are still sometimes worth it ,but the deer behave so much differently.Don't discount the mid-day movement-sometimes not even in the rut,deer simply move when the commotion stops.Hence the 10am -2pm hunt.Also remember to hunt as if it's undisturbed land-let the other hunters make mistakes -i once got a shot at a nice 8pt buck because some guy got frustrated he wasn't seeing anything and decided to walk around.I also kept spooking deer on my way out at 9am so i toughed it out and was amazed that these deer crossed not 50yds from the parking lot at 10am like clock work.
Another myth is that you have to walk to the furthest spot because no-one else walks back there.I can save you a lot of grief-when hunting ANY set of woods the probability is that you cannot find a spot that someone hasn't walked at one time or another.Sometimes the farthest nastiest stuff is it.Sometimes not.My buddy killed a big fat park doe 60ft from the parking lot with 3 trucks parked in it.Most of it is the lay of the land,and what the deer are doing.Sometimes there going back to their beds,other times they may stage up and bed on the way to their ''primary beds''.Other times they are feeding thru,and still just cutting thru.It's important to figure out WHAT they are doing when you can get them to come thru.
Lastly- the most important thing in my book is scouting,simply put you must put the time in scouting so you will have several options over the other hunters.The guy who comes in asking where your going and has no idea where to go is his problem not yours. And lastly just remember, if you have success keep it on the down low! You worked hard for your spots and owe no other hunter anything.

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby hunter480 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:00 pm

Hunting government land can be tough, and it`s true enough, some guys are just plain jerks...........

You can make the best of it though...the first deer I ever killed was a little 4-pointer I killed in the Hoosier National Forest. It was a LONG drag getting him out though, 2 miles "as the crow flies"......

As has been said, sometimes you can find places back further from the roads that a lot of other guys are willing to go......but not always......everyone hears the same advice, and lot`s of guys arr willing to hike way in......sometimes it pays to stay closer to the parking areas and roads, the deer get pushed all over from people moving deeper in as well as from the initial surge in and the lunch push back out.

As difficult as it can be, especially with gas prices being what they are if you live a distance from the area you hunt, scouting is the single best tool available. Scouting tells you where the deer are without pressure, and in-season scouting tells you how they react to pressure when the hordes move in.....

Stick with it, be mobile, and stay focused, you`ll do well.
Greg Russell

The Second Amendment, America`s Original Homeland Security

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RE: Hunting Public Land

Postby jonny5buck » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:40 pm

@hunter480- I can tell by your post you have logged some hours also on ''public land''.Im always a little frustrated at the number of guys that hunt parks and have never walked it in the off season....honestly one or two days just one..Saturday or sunday walking in march or feb. can translate into a wealth of knowledge on a public land property.

I actually prefer hunting by myself 90% of the time,because it seems an overabundance of guys who are willing to ride your coat-tails and would rather follow me around trying to figure out where im hunting than spend a day or 2 scouting like i's pure laziness..we all have busy lives...if you cant afford even one day of scouting than why bother?

You have to be super diverse hunting public ground...getting in early..sitting late..signing in and getting dropped off so know one knows where your another tactic.Some parks i hunt the furthest away from the crowds because the mistakes those guys make are giving the deer an edge on educating them to what to avoid.I like your comment on staying''mobile'' that correlates to private property for me also..i know some spots you can hang your stand and forget about it..but sometimes a quick move is needed..and park hunting sharpens those skills.[:D]


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