Hunting on public land, any tips?

Jinx-)

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Aug 23, 2009
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It's probably this place, but every year I see less deer, I think yotees has to do with this, before I saw deer by the road at night and on the fields by my house during the day, this year fields are empty, but I hear howling at night very close to my house... Also black squirrels now dominating in the woods, I haven't seen them before, but now there are more black then grey ones.
 

Daves762

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I hunt public land exclusively in california...........so my kill ratio is LOW......
But I hunt like crazy anyways.

In my experience you have to get farther from the road then the average hunter is willing to go. Plain and simple.

Get quality maps AND gps so you know where you are and can prove it......
Then get far into those areas that appear small on the map or are far from roads or trails....

I can't tell you how many times I've been set up waaaaaay back in there and along comes another hunter, or worse yet some hippy walking his dogs or something.......

but when you get a kill it's so much more satisfying.....for me at least....

OH ya, google earth is your friend.......
 

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Jinx-)

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Well I got this one 100 yards from my parents house on the first day of the season, I usually get lucky every year on the first day hunting there.

deer113.jpg
 

The Surgeon

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There are a lot of very good tactics listed here. I to have hunted public land. Things that I can tell you, just like a lot of other folks here, is to get as remote as you possibly can. Try to find a remote location that butts up to private.

A good percentage of hunters only hunt till about 10:30, then they get anxious and begin to walk around thinking that they may see or jump a deer. The deer know this, that hunters have a tendency to get restless, and will wait the hunter out. The deer will actually pattern the hunter. So, don't necessarily be the first in the woods. Sleep in and get out there around 0800 hrs. Then set up and hunt the mid day hours.

There is another trick, we do this on private land. We noticed that we had a lot of fresh activity in the fields and trails we were hunting. So we would set up early in the morning. No success. So we tried the evening, still no success. Again, we tried the mid day, with no success. So we got extreme. We decided to go into our box blinds or stands around 10:00 PM and camp out on the fields. When the sun came up there were deer on our areas. What we found out is that, since we had really no other access points to get to our stands, we were pushing the deer when we came in to set up in the mornings. So during the pre-rut and the rut we use this tactic every place we hunt, regardless if we have other access points to our stands. We feel that it keeps the deer more comfortable this way. No car noise in the early morning hours, no car doors, and basically no disruptions to the normal activities of the deer. We have had really great results using this tactic. It does work, or at least it does on private land. We haven't tried it out on public land but if you are in a remote location with little to no human interference, it should work just as well. This is one of the best techniques we use to get our deer.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Good Luck and Good Hunting!
 

Jim5351

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Nov 4, 2008
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Olympia,Washington
I hunt public land exclusively in california...........so my kill ratio is LOW......
But I hunt like crazy anyways.

In my experience you have to get farther from the road then the average hunter is willing to go. Plain and simple.

Get quality maps AND gps so you know where you are and can prove it......
Then get far into those areas that appear small on the map or are far from roads or trails....

I can't tell you how many times I've been set up waaaaaay back in there and along comes another hunter, or worse yet some hippy walking his dogs or something.......

but when you get a kill it's so much more satisfying.....for me at least....

OH ya, google earth is your friend.......


Looking at your picture, nice buck, not nice muzzle position
 

Jinx-)

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Aug 23, 2009
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693
Finding a remote location in NY can pose a challenge, the only place I can think of is up North in Canada :D or the Adirondacks which are also 4 - 5 hours from where I hunt along NY-PA border. I'll give public land another chance, will see still week left till season is over.
 

chiefdog

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Sep 2, 2011
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The only place I can hunt deer is on public land. During muzzleloader season, I was seeing 8-12 deer each time I went out, and had no trouble taking a buck. Rifle season is a whole different ballgame. There was blaze orange everywhere. I had hunters come up and sit within 50 yards of me on both sides of me several times on opening weekend.

So I started sleeping in, and heading out around 9:30am so I would go in as most of the other hunters were coming out, and hunted until dark. On my 8th trip out, I finally shot a nice 9 point whitetail that field dressed at 205 pounds, which is a big bodied deer here in Oklahoma. It was the first deer of either sex that I'd seen during rifle season. It's always been my experience that if you want to consistently get a deer on high pressured public land, you have to be stubborn and willing to put in your time.
 

Bravo 4

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Why did you take his picture? I would have shot him instead.
He is a good deer with a pretty symetrical rack. However, I've already shot a "nice" deer this season. Don't know too many folks that would pass on him, especially on public land. If I had my bow it would have been different, the whole bird in the hand thing. Even on public land ya gotta let them grow older to get bigger.

Well.......you have excellent character, Bravo!

Sorry YOU didn't get him. But you did a noble thing.
You wouldn't say that if you knew what my first thoughts were.:D
 

WildRose

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N. Texas and S. Africa
My friend came by for Thanksgiving and we spend 3 days looking for deer on the public land, during those 3 days we didn't see any bucks or does or bambys moving and there were not many shots fired for miles. What a disappointment it was! I got my buck on the first day of the season, but I hunted on private land, which is in the wooded area and longest shot I can take is 100 yards, its perfect for bow hunting, but not challenging during regular season. I hunt on this land for many years, but I only take two bucks a year and I refuse to let others hunt there. So how does this work on the public land? We pick a spot on the gorge with a stream running bellow so we can observe anything moving up or down or across, there were deer droppings and tracks and those droppings were fresh, but during 3 days we didn't observe anything other then squirrels and we were there from dawn till dusk. So how does public land hunting works when nothing is moving?
Deer on public land get a whole lot of pressure.

Deer that get a whole lot of pressure go noctournal.

Your best success under those circumstances is to find the nastiest, heaviest cover in the area that has a food source as well.

Also getting as far off of the beaten path is going to be a big benefit.

It also helps to pay attention to the moon. If the moon is full or close to it there will be much less movement during daylight hours barring other factors.
 

Bravo 4

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Got a chance to hunt this morning so I drive the hour drive to sit in 25 degree cold. Figured the deer would be moving, and they were. Seen a nice buck and 10 doe...until this dude shows up. They buzzed the woods I was hunting in and then spent about 5 minutes chasing deer out of this field. Might have to go find out who these fly-boys are and extend them my gratitude.:cool: Bet you never had this happen, lucky me!
I can't get the video to post so I just put up a pic. Hard to see but there is a helo in the center of this pic about 10 feet off the deck.
 

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Daves762

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In a Free State
Looking at your picture, nice buck, not nice muzzle position


I know I know.... I get that all the time....It's like this. Look at how steep the terrain was, picture does it NO justice.....PLUS I was alone so I had to balance the camera on a rock, press the button, run over to the deer and pick up his head and smile.....I screwed it up about 6 times and this one was close to "good enough".......

LATER I noticed the rifle had slid over to be pointed rite at me.......

Of course it was unloaded but I do know it looks bad.....

Best I could do with what I had.....
 

Jinx-)

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They buzzed the woods I was hunting in and then spent about 5 minutes chasing deer out of this field.

I had two guys old enough to drive a car buzzed in then set target 50 yards behind me and 20 yards to the right then they fired 10 shots and buzzed out. Good thing none of them bullets hit me, but hunt was over after that. It was Black Friday and rifles where on sale, guess they were early birds...
 
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