Finding decent public land

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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BloodyArrow
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Finding decent public land

Unread postby BloodyArrow » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:28 am

This deer season will be my first as a hunter. I don't really know any other hunters. I guess I just hang out with the wrong crowd haha. I am looking for any advice or resources that you fine hunters have on locatin decent public land to hunt on. I am not sure what to look for when scouting public land. I am not sure on the proper hunting etiquette when picking a spot to hunt on public land. I have a lot of questions on this topic but I don't want to just fill this post with a list of questions. So I am starting with any resources that you can point me to on this topic. I have searched the internet but cant seem to find what I am looking for. Thanks in advance for your help.


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wmahunter
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby wmahunter » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:46 am

There is a lot of knowledge on this site that has been posted.

Start browsing and reading all the topics.
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BloodyArrow
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby BloodyArrow » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:49 am

wmahunter wrote:There is a lot of knowledge on this site that has been posted.

Start browsing and reading all the topics.


Thanks. Digging into some good stuff right now. Appreciate it.
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby JoeRE » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:53 am

The way I go about it, feel free to do whatever is allowed on any piece of public, but the golden rule still applies relative to other hunters. That keeps things pretty simple. I couldn't tell you if you need to stay 50 or 200 yards from another hunter that's all situational.

Most states have databases or GIS mapping apps that show a lot of the public lands in each state. Start there and just start walking every nearby public area. Learn to notice sign - both from humans and animals. You have to invest a large amount of time in the woods to gain hunting skills. There is no shortcut for that although having good references like here on the hunting beast forum certainly helps. Just enjoy the journey and don't expect to be great at anything w/out plenty of trial and error.

Buy Dan's DVDs. All of them, regardless of what terrain you want to hunt. Those will help you get in the right mindset.

If you really want to take a college level course on deer hunting at least skim every darn thread in this forum. Even the ones from years ago. I did that when I found the hunting beast - took me 2 years and a lot has been added since then!

Start small too. Do a bunch of small game hunting, rabbits and squirrels and such if you haven't already. That helps build woodsmanship skills, there is a lot more small game running around, and seasons are longer. If you skip straight to deer you probably are handicapping yourself.
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BloodyArrow
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby BloodyArrow » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:00 am

JoeRE wrote:The way I go about it, feel free to do whatever is allowed on any piece of public, but the golden rule still applies relative to other hunters. That keeps things pretty simple. I couldn't tell you if you need to stay 50 or 200 yards from another hunter that's all situational.

Most states have databases or GIS mapping apps that show a lot of the public lands in each state. Start there and just start walking every nearby public area. Learn to notice sign - both from humans and animals. You have to invest a large amount of time in the woods to gain hunting skills. There is no shortcut for that although having good references like here on the hunting beast forum certainly helps. Just enjoy the journey and don't expect to be great at anything w/out plenty of trial and error.

Buy Dan's DVDs. All of them, regardless of what terrain you want to hunt. Those will help you get in the right mindset.

If you really want to take a college level course on deer hunting at least skim every darn thread in this forum. Even the ones from years ago. I did that when I found the hunting beast - took me 2 years and a lot has been added since then!

Start small too. Do a bunch of small game hunting, rabbits and squirrels and such if you haven't already. That helps build woodsmanship skills, there is a lot more small game running around, and seasons are longer. If you skip straight to deer you probably are handicapping yourself.


Thanks Joe. I really appreciate this advice. I will search around for the public land plot info in Indiana. Then put boots on the ground. I just read your interview article. Was a great read. I appreciate your willingness to share with newbies like myself.
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Wlog
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby Wlog » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:15 am

As a new Hunter I think your best bet is to find the closest public land to you and scout a ton. Learn it like the back of your hand. Get an aerial map of the property and mark it up as you scout. Mark every spot you jump deer and every bit of people sign like tree stands, trails that are cut, etc.

Over time you will start to figure out where all the Hunter activity is and where the deer go to avoid the people. Time in the field is going to be the best teacher you can have. Go slow and be observant and you will start to figure it out.

Most public land is good if you are willing to do your homework. The key is to find the little pockets of land where nobody else goes. That's where you're going to find the deer. A lot of deer sign is night sign and only a small portion of the deers day is spent on their feet in daylight. Daytime activity will be in areas where they feel safe.

You said you don't have any friends that hunt and that can be good and bad. It's nice to have a mentor if they are experienced and successful but it's hard to know that when you meet someone. The bad side is letting yourself get led astray and pick up bad habits from somebody. Listen to all of the advice you get from others and use your own common sense to filter through it.

Good luck on your journey in hunting. It's addicting. You've already found the best place to learn when you found this sight. The only thing better is time in the woods. Being successful takes work and dedication.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
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Wlog
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby Wlog » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:21 am

Sorry Joe, didn't mean to parrot what you said I just didn't read it first. :D
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby Jrichard » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:25 am

Since you are new.I have a few questions for you. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to jump right into "the beast"? Try to kill a monster buck? Or are you just trying to fill the freezer and learn?

Without the answers to these questions I am just going to assume you want to put any deer on the ground. So here we go.

I am going to tell you some things I learned through experience and some things that multiple people on here told me over the last year. But the obvious ones are boots on the ground. Find places that most people wont go. Thick areas, places far away from parking. Get far away from hunting pressure.

My first season as a hunter was a complete disaster. And part of it was because I did not know where all the hunting pressure was. After learning more than I thought I had, I started applying my failures and looking at the reasons that I had failed. And a big one was I was focusing too much on the "deer sign" and not enough of the human sign. A hard lesson learned was no matter how much scat, tracks, food, ect. you find in a spot. If someone else is hunting that spot, there is a VERY good chance the person leaving the sign has already burned out that spot. Either that, or it is a very good chance the deer are frequenting that spot at night because of the pressure.

So some advice to you is go out. Find multiple spots that look good. (things will probably change between now and the season.) The sign will probably be in a completely different area come your opener. But personally I use this time of year to get inventory of the area. Get used to the deer in your area. Where they bed. Deer are creatures of habit. learn as much as you can about the herd in these areas. If your primary goal is to shoot a monster buck find spots with monster bucks. But if you're like me and you just want to fill the freezer, find an area with a high population of deer and take it from there. Find their food sources. Their beds.

Once you find their beds, and where their potential food is going to be. Find land features like saddles, pinch points, funnels ect. Another thing I do in new spots is make a plan of attack. If I scout before hand, I find an area that gives me a chance at taking a shot, but also gives me a chance to observe a large area. On the first sit I dont like to impede too much. But enough so that I have a shot at harvesting a deer. But if I dont have a shot it still gives me intel to move in at a later date.

One great piece of advise I was given was always hunt "beast style" whether you are hunting doe or bucks. This way, if you eventually want to become a beast hunter you don't develop any bad habits. And also your always sharpening and fine tuning your beast skills.
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby <DK> » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:43 am

Welcome BloodyArrow!
Joe's advice was excellent, that will be hard to follow... #1 thing is read all the laws for the state and public land use. Every public area may have different laws, some may be draw hunt only.
Figure out the gps you want to use - a lot of guys use their cell phones.
Apps-
*Scoutlook - for stand locations and checking weather/wind (popular, decent clear maps)
*USTopo Maps or Back Country Navigator for gps purposes. (these 2 are my favs)
As for just looking public to hunt start by pulling up google maps and your state land maps. My public is all green on google maps so it makes things easy to find and judge the distance. Start small w the maps and distance as well if you dont have much time to scout this year. Look for lands away from big towns or cities. Ask around to anyone you talk about hunting w to get a gauge of pressure a certain land receives, some are very willing to talk. If its pressured the bigger the better, if its an overlooked spot then size does not matter. Try PM guys local to you on here maybe some will help you along if you are serious enough, best thing I ever did. Go check out the STATE board and just check user names, at the very least pay attention when they give advice bc they are seeing the same types of things that you will see.
As Wlog stated about friends hunting public too can be great and bad, lucky for you that you have this site!!! ;) Go w them every chance you get to learn anything and everything... just being in the woods is what its all about. It will fun to see you get your feet wet and evolve.
Good luck Bloody Arrow
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby TNstalker » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:06 am

Even if ur not ready to try bed hunting or for a mature deer finding a place with water to escape others will help u learn about deer period bc they will be under less pressure from hunters. I have low hunter numbers in my state and I tried 2 places close to home and just 2 other hunters on a place 300 ac changed the deer movement a lot with them walking all over the place. I would go sit a new spot to me but someone else had been there an u would see anything and find a stand guy plié something on way out. There was great sign on the places and they where in areas they produce big bucks every year. But people could walk where ever they wanted to. May not be a bad idea to learn how to bed hunt pretty quick for younger bucks that way u learn the right way the first time.
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mag1
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby mag1 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:12 am

Good stuff posted already. Get some decent rubber boots and a set of hip boots. Look at spots that are wet, or have wet areas, and get into them. I've got a couple spots, one in particular, small, but the moment you walk off the road, u typical are almost knee deep, once you get thru that, there is some high ground most years, still wet, but not to many venture into it. Good spot :mrgreen: Makes a heck of a drag, but that's what make a good story.
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby Clink » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:29 am

From the little I've learned by experience so far:

1. Expect to fail...a lot. For some reason I didnt really grasp the ratio of success to fialure in hunting until I actually got out there and hunted a full season. Never expected it to be easy but a couple all day sits with nothing to show will humble a man.
2. Learn from every failure. Write it down if you have to. If you enter the woods and leave without gaining some sort of knowledge than you're losing out big time
3. Put in the time- can't stress this enough. If you want to succeed you have to put "boots on the ground" like others have stated. No subsitutions. No matter how much time you spend scanning maps and google earth (which due help none the less) you'll never get a complete holistic view of the property.

Now, get in the thick stuff and go learn. The woods are your best teacher. Supplement that with the helpful folks on here and I'm pretty confident you'll harvest a deer your first year. May not be a cocker...but I think you can defintely fill the freezer and draw the "first blood".

Oh and have some goals. Be realistic

My .02
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hunter_mike
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby hunter_mike » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:47 am

I am not sure what state you are in but I have found that most public land around me has animals to hunt.

I really liked the idea that someone stated about just picking a place nearby you and learn the place like the back of your hand. Figure out which spots on that piece of land tends to hold animals and which spots dont really produce as well as the more special places. And just analyze why some spots are good and others are not so good.

I think one key is just learning to differentiate as you walk the ground.

A deer track vs. A lot of deer tracks vs. A big buck track - they all look about the same but when you start to differentiate between them you start to build your mental picture of how the property works.
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:16 am

Lots of good advice here. I'll add a couple points- be willing to work harder than the guys you see at the parking lot. Get creative with your access. Water is your friend- cross it be in it, get used to it. Buy a bunch of tags and kill....kill pheasants, kill turkeys, kill squirrels, kill rabbits whatever. Get out in the woods and shoot stuff. Don't be picky about the deer you shoot. Fawns taste great. Don't worry about what others say, especially about what kind of animals you shoot. Study Dan and the guys on the beast. Look at the kill threads and how the guys got it done. You'll find that they didn't jump right into the situation without a lot of thought and a well devised plan. It's a lot of work just starting out, more work than what the average guy wants to or can put in. It gets easier every year. Good luck.
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Re: Finding decent public land

Unread postby yungbuck » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:49 am

I would be happy to mark up some maps for you. PM sent from one Hoosier to another
nothing but a simple minded god fearing public land bow hunter


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