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Author Topic: Strategies deer hunting on public land?  (Read 573 times)

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Strategies deer hunting on public land?
« on: September 05, 2017, 02:56:48 PM »

I’d consider myself a novice deer hunter and I’ve tagged 9 deer both with bow and rifle over the years but they we all on public land.  Most years I’m way out in the middle of nowhere about 1 hour from the nearest town over 2000 people.  Snow gets a little too deep for the Subaru when you’re up in the Superior snow belt during rifle season and with no 4wheeler I have to think things out carefully but it was not unusual not to have any hunters with-in a half mile of me which was cool.
Starting last year I tried to find some last minute place to hunt just outside (5 to 10 miles) of larger town in Iron County on some public lands during the rifle season.  I encountered lots of local road hunters, and elderly/handicap hunters even in the 2nd week of rifle season.  God bless the old and physically challenged who still make an effort to hunt, road hunters cruising through well it is what it is.  Needless to say my poor plan fell apart quickly with all the activity of around my areas I was setup and I didn’t fill a tag.
This year’s strategy?
•   I purchased a plat map and have been looking up every page of public land especially for property that backs up to cultivated fields or pastures,  these are far and in between but I’m trying to look for transition points between bedding and feeding areas.
•   I thinking of trying bow season for the first time in the UP, I’m tired of the mob of hunters during rifle season and less snow and clothing would be nice change.
•   This year I’m going to have 4 or 5 spots setup by next Sunday with 1 ladder stand, 1 tree stand, 2 portable hunting blinds and a tree climber.  This year the spots are separated by miles but I some have potential B and C spots backup spots from about 400 to 800 yards away if another hunter is there before me.  If I see a car parked within 400 yards of where I hunt I’m generally turned off and will skip that spot.  Yes I’m considering NW winds and how I’m going to get to my spots.

•   I’ve done about 10-20 hours of satellite photos, road scouting and boots on the ground and examined shooting lanes, funnel points and water sources.  I’m not seeing a lot of evidence of bucks in the area but I’m seeing a lot of doe activity.  I still think I need to fine tune my spots, I think I’m too close or in some bedding areas with one or two spots.

•   I like to be sneaky and find a place to park where nobody can see my car from the road, trail or grade.  I’m doing everything by the book but I like to keep a low profile and don’t want some lazy hunter checking out my spots.  I lock up my stands but hide my blinds but if they’re dead set on stealing things there’s not much I can do.  Of course there’s only so much you can do to hide your tracks down a muddy or snow covered road.
•   I don’t use marking tape to my stands but I’m only 600 yards from my blinds from where I park. 
•   I’m not a trophy hunter, certainly I’d love to shoot a nice one but I'm not hung up on that. 
•   One I idea I have is to take my boat, portable blind/tree climber and use the trolling motor to get me to some remote spots on some public land via some waters that’s owned by a power company.

•   Though I’m pretty good with scent control nothing can beat a deer’s nose and some of my entry points to my hunting to my new spots are through waist high grass.  I’m superstitious and hate rubbing up foliage to and from my blind not to mention the noise.

•   I tend to be a hunt the first 3 hours and the last 3 hours of the day hunter but I’m open to mixing it up.

•   I don’t have any trail cams setup, I’m thinking of getting a few and yanking them down in early October.
I’m 50 and not in the best shape, I’m not dragging a deer more than 200 yards to where I can get my car or up some steep ravines or through swamps, etc…  Worst case I know some kids I can grease a $50 to get it out of the woods for me as I’ve done in the past. 

What am I neglecting to do or consider? 


Steven k.

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Re: Strategies deer hunting on public land?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 10:01:17 PM »

I always hunt public land all of my bucks have been shot where I could see my truck and watch cars go by. The deer do the same once you can get over that it makes finding a spot easy. I just try to control scent. Calling during the rut is also one of my favorites

Al the Infidel

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Re: Strategies deer hunting on public land?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 09:02:56 PM »

I've seen and shot a couple nice bucks in Iron County at noon, EST, in the rut.
Al Johnson~ SEMPER FI

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Re: Strategies deer hunting on public land?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 10:09:39 PM »

I've seen and shot a couple nice bucks in Iron County at noon, EST, in the rut.

I'm with Al on this, my two best bucks were both shot between noon and one.  And both on foggy, drizzly days during last few days of rifle season. Hunt when you can!
Mark Hirvonen
Pursuit 2150 WA
Marquette and Barbeau, MI
Boat name: Theora III