Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Good And The Bad Of Public Land Hunting

© Othmar Vohringer

Does of you that read Whitetail Deer Passion regularly know that I hunt often on public land. Here in Canada we call it Crown Land. The general consensus among hunters is that hunting on public land is nothing short of a nightmare. Yes it can be though to compete with many other hunters and spooky deer but it is not all bad either.

Here are a few examples of the good and bad based on the personal experience I gathered over the years.

Let’s start with the good points first.
  1. You can sleep a few hours longer. Every other hunter is in the woods before first light until about 8:00am to 9:00am then they go home and don’t come back until late afternoon. Deer know about this human habit and adjust their movement patterns accordingly. If you get an hour before the other hunters go home to your stand you catch deer moving about.
  2. Rather than scouting for deer sign scout for human sign. Figure out what the other hunters do and where they set up their stands and then look for the escape routes the deer use. The escape routes are where you want to set up and wait until the other hunters start pushing deer your way. Also look for the places other hunters avoid. Things like flooded timber, marshes, small woodlots, tickets and other “unlikely” places, because that is where the deer go when the pressure starts to build.
  3. Talk to the farmers in the area because they have pretty good grasp on what the deer are doing and where they go once the hunter invasion begins.
  4. No matter where you live in North America there is public hunting land within one hour drive of your home and you don’t have to pay an access fee or take out a second mortgage to pay for the lease.
  5. Despite what you hear to the contrary, there are mature bucks on public land. I've shot quite a few nice bucks where nobody expected to see big bucks. They are there you just have to hunt them very different then you would on private land. 
Now let’s examine a few of the not so good points.
  1. You will have to compete with lots of other hunters and that can make a little uncomfortable as far as safety is concerned. On public land I wear a hunter orange vest and hat on my way to and from the stand during bowhunting season. During the firearm season I wear even more hunter orange for the duration of the hunt and regardless if it is the law or not. Having been shot at ones I can assure it is not a nice feeling.
  2. If you hunt from a treestand don’t leave it on the tree. Even if the stand is chained and bolted to the tree is can, and often will be, stolen. Over the years I had two stands stolen that I thought were adequately secured to the tree with chains and padlocks. It seems treestand thieves arrive equipped with bolt-cutters and ladders. I thought just taking the climbing stick down would be sufficient to secure the stand in addition to chain and padlock. I was sadly mistaken.
  3. There is always the chance that your “hotspot” is also the “hotspot” of five other hunters. It happened a few times to me that I climbed into my stand and not much later heard hunters climbing into trees to either side of me.


Heather Powell said...

I too am faced with the task of hunting a great deal of public land. Your positivity gave me fresh perspective. There are certainly some perks along with the unique challenges.

tyler said...

Good points. Although there are disadvantages as you mentioned, overall public land hunting can be rewarding and fruitful with a little planning.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...