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- Consider supporting us on PATREON. Welcome back, everybody! Today, we’re excited to talk about our top 10 tactics for hunting whitetails on public land. This episode was actually a viewer request, so thank you to Andrew McCann for the idea! We’re going to share some of our favorite strategies that have worked well for us, whether you’re hunting on public or private land. As you know, hunting whitetails can be both challenging and rewarding, and it’s all about finding the right tactics for your specific habitat and terrain. We’d also love to hear any suggestions or tactics that have worked for you, so please share them in the comments.
In this episode, we emphasize the use of tree saddles and recommend checking out Tethrd saddles and platforms for hunting purposes. We also discuss finding fresh deer tracks and natural food sources, scouting potential hunting spots with cedar thickets and oak ridges, and using saddle hunting gear for flexibility and effectiveness. We share our experiences hunting in various locations, such as river bottoms and creek crossings. Plus, we recount some exciting close encounters with bucks and the thrill of a successful hunt. So, get ready for some valuable tips and exciting hunting stories in this episode of “Our TOP 10 PUBLIC LAND Tactics for Whitetails”!
Finding Fresh Deer Tracks and Natural Food Sources
When hunting for whitetails on public land, one of the first things you should focus on is finding fresh deer tracks and natural food sources. Whitetails are creatures of habit and will often congregate in certain areas where they can find plenty of food. Look for areas where there are many fresh deer tracks, as this indicates that the deer have been feeding in that location. Pay attention to the type of vegetation that the deer have been feeding on, as this will give you valuable insights into their preferred food sources. This information will help you determine where to set up your hunting spot and increase your chances of a successful harvest.
Scouting Cedar Thickets and Oak Ridges
Another effective tactic for hunting whitetails on public land is to scout areas with cedar thickets and oak ridges. Whitetails are often found in areas with dense cover and plenty of food sources nearby. Cedar thickets offer excellent bedding areas for deer, providing them with protection and security. Oak ridges, on the other hand, are attractive to deer because of the abundance of acorns that they produce. By scouting these areas and identifying signs of deer activity, such as tracks, rubs, and scrapes, you can pinpoint the best locations to set up your hunting spot.
Utilizing Saddle Hunting Gear
One of the tactics mentioned in the video is the use of saddle hunting gear. Saddle hunting allows for greater flexibility and effectiveness when hunting whitetails on public land. Unlike traditional tree stands, saddles are lightweight, portable, and easy to set up. They provide hunters with the ability to move from one location to another quickly and quietly, enabling them to adapt to changing deer patterns. Saddle hunting gear, such as Tethrd saddles and platforms, is highly recommended for those looking to enhance their hunting experience on public land.
Hunting in River Bottoms and Creek Crossings
River bottoms and creek crossings are prime areas for hunting whitetails on public land. These locations provide deer with easy access to water and food, making them popular feeding and travel routes. Look for areas along riverbanks or near creek crossings where deer tracks are concentrated. Set up your hunting spot in a concealed location, such as a tree stand or ground blind, and position yourself downwind from the deer’s anticipated path. This will increase your chances of encountering a buck as it moves from one area to another.
Experiencing Close Encounters with Bucks
One of the most exciting aspects of hunting whitetails on public land is the opportunity for close encounters with bucks. Public land often attracts mature bucks seeking refuge from hunting pressure on private properties. These bucks are typically more cautious and elusive, making it challenging to get within shooting range. However, by scouting areas with fresh sign and setting up in strategic locations, you can increase your chances of a close encounter with a buck. Use your knowledge of deer behavior and the terrain to your advantage and be patient. A close encounter with a mature buck is a thrilling experience that every hunter dreams of.
Harvesting Bucks Near Thick Bedding Areas
A successful harvest often requires hunters to be skilled in approaching and hunting near thick bedding areas. Whitetails use these areas for security and shelter, making them an excellent place to target bucks. By scouting and identifying thick bedding areas, such as dense stands of cedar or other vegetation, you can plan your approach accordingly. Take into consideration wind direction and position yourself in a concealed location where you have a clear shooting lane. Patience and stealth are crucial when hunting near thick bedding areas, as any sudden movements or noise can alert the deer to your presence.
Spotting Cruising Bucks in Cedar and Drainage Areas
Cedar and drainage areas are known hotspots for cruising bucks during the rut. Bucks will actively seek out does and cover a lot of ground in the process. By scouting and identifying these areas, you can position yourself for a shot at a cruising buck. Look for signs of buck activity, such as rubs and scrapes, as these indicate that a buck has been actively marking his territory. Set up in a concealed location downwind from these signs, where you have a clear view of potential travel routes. With some patience and persistence, you may just spot a cruising buck and have a shot at a harvest.
Using Decoys Near Ponds and Waterways
Ponds and waterways can attract whitetails, especially during the rut when bucks are actively seeking out does. By using decoys near these areas, you can increase your chances of attracting a buck within shooting range. Place a doe decoy near the water’s edge and position yourself downwind from the decoy. This setup creates the illusion of a receptive doe, enticing bucks to approach. Be patient and vigilant as you wait for a buck to respond to the decoy. When the opportunity arises, take a well-placed shot to harvest your target buck.
Executing Bump Hunts for Successful Harvests
Bump hunts can be an effective tactic for a successful harvest when hunting whitetails on public land. Bump hunts involve purposely “bumping” deer from their bed or feeding area and then setting up in a strategic location to intercept them as they move. By carefully approaching a known bedding area or feeding location and intentionally disturbing the deer, you can force them to move and potentially present a shot opportunity. Timing is crucial when executing a bump hunt, as you want to catch the deer off guard and unaware of your presence. This tactic requires patience, careful planning, and a thorough understanding of deer behavior and the terrain.
Hunting whitetails on public land provides a unique set of challenges and rewards. By employing the tactics mentioned in this article, such as finding fresh deer tracks and natural food sources, scouting cedar thickets and oak ridges, utilizing saddle hunting gear, hunting in river bottoms and creek crossings, experiencing close encounters with bucks, harvesting bucks near thick bedding areas, spotting cruising bucks in cedar and drainage areas, using decoys near ponds and waterways, and executing bump hunts, you can increase your chances of a successful harvest. Remember to always practice ethical and responsible hunting practices, respect the land and wildlife, and enjoy the adventure of hunting on public land. Happy hunting!