Here are some tips for hunting public land that hunters can use when hunting a variety of game animals. With many hunters moving to new areas and with private land being sold or leased to hunting groups, public land is becoming the only option for many hunters. Whether hunters are pursuing deer or other big or small game animals, hunting public land requires hunters to change their tactics to increase their odds of success.
The primary concern for hunters on public land is safety. With hunters being unaware of the location of other hunters, the chances of accidents occurring on public land are increased. Hunters need to strictly follow all safety guidelines and consider wearing blaze orange at all times, even when not required.
Though opening day of hunting season is often one of the most productive times, hunters may consider skipping it and saving their time off work for other days when the crowds will be smaller. In general, weekdays will have less competition from other hunters than weekends and holidays. Hunting in bad weather is another way to beat the crowds.
Scouting for big game is more of a necessity on public land than private land. Hunters need to find areas where game will escape the crowds (thick vegetation, etc.) and areas that other hunters will avoid (steep terrain, etc.). Hunters should also scout areas that other hunters are likely to use and hunt accordingly to allow other hunters to move deer and other game toward them.
Stay All Day
By hunting all day on public land, hunters improve the odds of other hunters pushing game toward them. With most hunters leaving for lunch and then returning for an evening hunt, hunters who stay in the woods all day may be well placed for success.
Stay Quiet and Scent Free
When hunters pour into public hunting areas, many game animals will quickly become very skittish. While a deer or other animal that catches a whiff of human scent or spots some movement on private land may quickly calm back down, chances are that public land deer will simply move away. Hunters on public land should work to reduce scent and movement in order to reduce the chances of spooking game.