Hunting public land can be one of the most difficult places to hunt. When hunting these lands you have to understand that these lands are for everyone. I have been hunting public lands for quite a while now. I do have properties that I have permission to hunt on but during much of the hunting season I am about two hours from those locations due to work and schooling. Due to location I was forced to find new areas to hunt. So I looked for state land in my area and found areas hunting was allowed. I learned about regulations and important details about this land.
After doing all of my homework about the land it was time to go and explore the new areas. I looked at the map, chose four different locations, and went to it. When hunting public lands it’s always a good idea to have more than one spot to hunt, so if hunters are in one of your spots then you have other options to turn to. Things that I looked for were the obvious signs of deer; trails, rubs, and tracks. All of these things are important in finding an ideal whitetail habitat. But other things that many hunters don’t think of are funnels, bedding areas, food sources, and pressured areas vs. non pressured areas. I learned to go further into the woods. The reason for this is most hunters don’t travel deep into the public lands they go to where they first see deer sign and hunt that area which will most likely be the most pressured area.
Last hunting season (fall of 2009) I shot two bucks on public land. The way I did this was I scouted and learned as much about the land as I could. I hunted a location in the fall that I called the buck haven. This area was three miles in the middle of the public land; it was a place where no signs of humans existed. It was a perfect place to hunt.
Before hunting season I scouted this area and saw three bucks traveling in a bachelor group. I found two ridges that made a perfect funnel where the deer used it as a travel route to get to the bedding grounds. I also found multiple rubs from different bucks using the area. This was my deer haven, I had planned to hunt Buck haven in the evenings to catch the deer before heading to the bedding location.
On September 27th opening day of early bow I shot my first deer of the season and on 0ctober 28th I shot my second deer of the season hunting a place I call deer haven. Both bucks; neither were monsters, but the feeling of harvesting a whitetail on public land was unexplainable. To me it was a great accomplishment. If you are a person who doesn’t have a lot of private land or can’t get to it, take it from me and try hunting state land, many hunters underestimate the possible outcomes of public land.