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Public land hunting can be great, and it can suck!

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Public land hunting can be great, and it can suck!

Old 11-12-2012, 05:44 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Virginia
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Default Public land hunting can be great, and it can suck!

On public land, not only do you have competition with other deer hunters, but also with EVERY type of hunter and even fall anglers (if you are hunting near a body of water).

On Saturday, got up a 3:00 a.m. and was in position in my climber by 5:30. The wind was finally perfect for this really nice spot overlooking a swamp for the first time this season. It was cold and everything was looking good. I was filled with anticipation until I heard the voices of other humans. And they were getting closer. And they were the hooting, hollering voices of dog hunters. And then dogs came into the swamp. And so did the humans. Rabbit hunters. Trouncing right through "my" spot.

I waited it out to see if they jumped any deer but they didn't. I didn't expect they would since they were coming from downwind of me.

Of course I was ticked, but what could I do? I like to hunt the thick stuff, but so do rabbit hunters. Guess I'll stick to open hardwoods or pines on Saturdays!
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:38 AM
Typical Buck
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That does suck, but part of public land hunting
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:09 AM
Typical Buck
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Location: Northern WI
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One trick with public land is to try and find a decent spot that looks marginal to the average person. Being near a fisherman's access can actually be good since many hunters pass this by, provided there is area where the fisherman stay out of. The deer get used to the humans and can even loose a little bit of their fear. I found a little spot where I am yet to encounter another hunter. Not the best in the world, but better than some trampled over spot.

On the other hand, I have tried a few spots on state land that looked "perfect" and had a lot of good deer sign. And many other hunters thought the same!
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:45 PM
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Location: Mont County, Pa
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I hunt State land almost exclusively, have been for most of my hunting career. The most obvious (to me), and prolly the most important thing I've learned is to go where MOST other hunters don't, or won't go! You need to be willing to walk that extra distance. It really does make the differance.

The bottom line is, no matter how well you plan things when hunting public land, there's ALWAYS the chance someone will "rain on your parade".
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:41 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Great Mills, MD
Posts: 204

I also hunt public land here in Southern Maryland, and one thing I learned is that alot of the hunters on public land like to hunt 100-200 yards within the parking area. They also like easy access to and from their hunting spots. I also noticed that alot of hunters like to hunt the power lines. I've heard several complaints from other hunters that their hunt gets ruined by hunters walking down the power lines looking for a spot to hunt. I found a spot down by the stream that is a little over a 1/2 mile from the parking area. I frequently see deer in this area and I rarely see hunters come through my area. Alot of hunters don't want to travel that far. It is alot of work getting the deer out of the woods, but it's worth it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:07 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2010
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I hunt state land. last year I walked across a ground blind. Didn't see it until I was 10 feet away. He was sleeping inside, DRUNK. He had no idea I was there... which is scary !!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:21 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 108

public ground here in central pa has under gone a definite transformation over the last twenty years. There used to be a fair amount of game on them, but now adays you may hunt for a solid week without seeing any deer! The amount of open private ground is almost non existant and those that allow hunting don't produce a whole lot of deer activity. When I first started to hunt it wasn't any big deal to see seventy or more deer in a day, but now I don't see but a few deer throughout the whole hunting season.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:52 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Location: Richmond, VA
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Down here in Virginia, it's the same thing. Public land hunting (around the metro areas) sucks big-time!! Some places are so overrun with hunters, it becomes a sea of blaze orange!!

The best bet is to somehow, someway, get access to private land. Then you stand a better chance of success.

Out towards the western part of Virginia, out in the George Washington Nat'l Forest and the Blue Ridge Mts out around I-81 and stuff, is beautiful and can really stretch out for miles and miles. There are places where you will NEVER run into another hunter - even on a Saturday! But if you want to find some nice bucks, you had better bring a compass or GPS and a topo map, because they are in there - up high and in deep.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:47 AM
Nontypical Buck
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I have hunted as deep as possible on Powhatan WMA, and even on weekdays I have run into other hunters. Though I agree that most want to stay closer.

ButchA - Hunting in that Nat'l Forests is awesome, but only worth it to me if I am camping out. Also, the prospect of dragging a deer through that terrain isn't so appealing!
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:09 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Alberta Canada
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It is good to have a few hunters running around. Find a good hiding spot, stay put and let them do the work. When it comes by, shoot it and enjoy.
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