Finding a right public land where the competition is not too intense is becoming harder and harder as more and more hunters are competing amongst each other in recent years. Having that said, if you do your homework well, it’s not impossible.
I would agree that the greatest disadvantage to public land hunting is pressure. You could even be sharing the woods with half of your town and this will put a lot of stress on the whitetail herd.
But if you speak of the alternative, which is private land, most hunters would knit their brows because of one simple reason, leasing a land isn’t cheap. Hence, I would love to share with you some of the things you can do to find the right public land for great hunting experience.
Look at your national forest and wilderness area
To kick off your hunting journey, these two places would be a great start to hunt as they are usually the best public lands you can find.
In such places, hunting can only take place in areas where the animals receive relatively light hunting pressure and have higher density of mature animals. Even so, you need years of applying for accumulating bonus points just to get your permit. Usually, the permit will allow you to hunt in a certain area with rifle guns or limited-draw archery.
The approach that you find public land would vary according to the state you hunt. I would say, many states, especially the state of Minnesota, provides many excellent public land for hunting. Call up your local agency, you can have a solid grasp of what is in the land after getting some feedback.
To look, you can even use aerial scouting with Google Earth where you can unearth different places with the imagery tool. This tool is just for you to eliminate the places where you feel is not worthy while locating promising terrains with high traffic of whitetails. This tactic is to get a hold of obvious places which is good public land hunting property.
If you want to find the best public land sanctuaries, you have no choice but to go the distance. Going deep into the forest and looking for potential hunting ground is still the best method for uncovering the best hunting ground.
Constantly update yourself on the best hunting information
A rule of thumb is to start by visiting your local public land website to get the latest tidings regarding the availability of different land. The best public lands for hunting usually involves national forests or wilderness areas.
There are many sites present which compiles the best places to hunt and I think that you can capitalize on them.
As long as you are willing to do your research and you know how to negotiate through the bureaucratic pathway, you will definitely be able to have access to many public land.
A word of advice, do not be complacent although you have hunted in an area for a long period of time. If you do not continue to improve your knowledge of the land and its deer, your success rate in getting your game will decline rapidly.
Entertain no assumption as you hunt more often. Generally, you should be conscientious enough to walk longer and deeper into the woods. For this, I would highly recommend having a GPS (Global Positioning System) which is covered in the point below.
Remember, habitat is gradually changing that it will most certainly escape your notice if you are not careful. Food plots and prime escape cover are examples of overlooked gems which may pop out after several years. The hunting ground you are in may be one of the best hunting place after many years down the road.
Looking through your government website such as Texas Parks & Wildlife will definitely help you find places which are publically accessible. They even walk you through the process of getting an annual public hunting permit and regular permit hunts. Another example would be the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, where they provide public hunting land maps where the limitations are clearly stated by the relevant authorities.
It would be great if you can constantly seek out information on how a deer would react in different climate and environment. For example, you can steer away from sites where the habitat has grown to be less suited for elk.
Having a tree stand and some climbing sticks would be essential because you can go to higher ground to do your analysis more effectively. Even so, you should not discount your favorite stands and the old reliable setup.
In search for the best public land, you need to always question yourself. How is the habitat in this forest changing? In a range of 1 to 10, what is the hunting pressure of the animals in this terrain? This information would definitely be useful in finding out the best public land you can find for hunting.
According to Bryan Kinkel, a deer researcher from Tennessee, found out that deer learn to avoid stands such as hanging stands within a year. With this, you have to analyze the best terrain to move your stand as quick as possible.
Public lands include state forest, wildlife management areas and tax-forfeit properties. These are the places worth looking into for a good public land to hunt.
Owning a hunting GPS
Using your hunting GPS, you can start mapping out public trailheads which is on one front of a range. Then, you draw a line which links the access point while taking note of the midpoint of each range.
It would be wise if you start from scratch every year, scouting the public land as if it is your first time being here. Using a GPS, you are able to use the geocaching function to save information regarding a place which you find interesting. As you scout deeper into the terrain, you will definitely reconsider dead ends, go deeper into unchartered waters and even review reliable setups in the forest.
If possible, you should study topographical maps and aerial photos so that you can effectively find out the best field edges, wooded ridgetops and fertile valleys.
Also, investing in a computer mapping program would be great as you can mark property boundaries with waypoints. The search for public land would be much more efficient and enjoyable if you have a good hunting GPS.
If you are hunting and still searching thoroughly for a good hunting GPS, look no further. Please take a look at this article which I believe will be extremely helpful in helping you choose the best GPS in the market.
Joining a hunting community
Talking to people in the hunting community and forming friendships with hunters will be one of your greatest asset in terms of finding the best public land. You may even be lucky to stumble upon a private land owner too!
One research even revealed that hunting satisfaction is the highest when other hunter companions keep the deer moving. Being a lone wolf in hunting would generally be less enjoyable and less effective as compared to having a steady companionship.
With the help of your buddies, you can go in deeper into the forest with more ease. You will definitely be more confident going deeper into the forest where most humans will think twice before venturing into such precarious places. Since you are moving in groups, you can definitely watch each other’s back.
Your odds of getting pass obstacles such as rivers and lakes will be higher too. Getting into places where most hunters would avoid is key to finding the best public land.
The hunting community can even share bedding areas or food sources which they stumble upon going deep into the forest.
If you have better ways to find low competition public lands, share your tips in the comment area below.
This guest post was written by John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. While he believes that everyone should enjoy their lives doing things they love, being financially, mentally and physically prepared to face challenges that may arise is inevitably important. Check out his best hunting GPS recommendations for 2016.