In the article “Scouting People: A Key Strategy for Hunting on Public Land,” the author shares their passion for hunting on public land and their desire to explore different states each year. They have experience hunting in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, among other states, and highlight the potential for finding big bucks in various public land areas. The article emphasizes the importance of scouting people to avoid heavily hunted areas and suggests using aerial photos and topo maps to identify potential hunting spots. The author also discusses the significance of access points and the role they play in hunting success. Overall, the article provides helpful tips and strategies for hunting on pressured public land areas.
The video “5 Ways to Deer Hunt Pressured Public Land” by Whitetail Habitat Solutions offers further insights for hunting on public land. The speaker discusses the importance of separating yourself from other hunters and shares tips on scouting, using a compass, and finding effective access points. Additionally, the video emphasizes that hunting on public land can offer plenty of opportunities and a rewarding hunting experience, even if you end up shooting smaller bucks. By following the advice presented in the video, hunters can increase their chances of success in hunting on pressured public land areas.
1. Importance of Scouting People
When hunting on public land, separating yourself from other hunters is crucial in increasing your chances of success. By scouting people and avoiding heavily hunted areas, you can find untouched spots with great potential for hunting big bucks.
1.1 Separating Yourself from Other Hunters
To avoid competition and give yourself a better chance at success, you need to separate yourself from other hunters. When scouting during the summer, be mindful of not crushing down ferns or vegetation. By clearing patches of exposed soil or sand, you can easily detect if others have been in the area. Avoid stepping in muddy areas or leaving any signs that may lead other hunters to your spot. By covering your tracks and being discreet, you can maintain the secrecy of your hunting location.
It is also important to learn how to use a compass and read topo maps. By understanding topography and learning to navigate using a compass, you can confidently explore remote areas. This knowledge becomes especially valuable when your phone or GPS fails. By relying on these skills, you can find your way to specific locations without relying on technology. Taking these precautions will help ensure that you can hunt undisturbed and increase your chances of encountering big bucks.
1.2 Avoiding Heavily Hunted Areas
Many public land areas have a few primary access points that are heavily frequented by hunters. To avoid this competition, consider finding alternative access points. Look for areas that might require a more difficult or longer walk-in but guarantee more solitude. By taking the road less traveled, you can distance yourself from other hunters and increase your chances of encountering deer.
Additionally, be sure to explore the areas between parking lots. Sometimes, a short walk away from a popular parking area can lead to exceptional hunting opportunities. These locations may be overlooked by other hunters, offering you a chance to hunt undisturbed. Always consider backdoor approaches that allow you to avoid the main access points and find quiet pockets of public land where deer movement may be concentrated.
2. Utilizing Access Points
Access points play a significant role in your hunting success on public land. Understanding their impact and strategically utilizing them can greatly improve your chances of bagging a big buck.
2.1 The Impact of Access Points on Hunting Success
Access points, such as parking lots or designated entry areas, are vital for hunters to enter public land. However, not all access points are created equal. Some areas may have limited access points, while others may have several within close proximity. Understanding the impact of these access points can help you make informed decisions on where to hunt.
Areas with fewer access points often result in less hunting pressure, as fewer hunters are willing to make the extra effort to reach them. These often-overlooked locations can offer exceptional hunting opportunities, as deer may be less wary of human presence. On the other hand, areas with numerous access points may attract a higher concentration of hunters, increasing competition and decreasing the chances of deer encounters.
By carefully considering the location and availability of access points, you can devise a strategy that allows you to reach unpressured areas with minimal hunting interference. This strategic use of access points can significantly impact your hunting success on public land.
3. Scouting Techniques
Effective scouting is essential for identifying potential hunting spots on public land. By utilizing aerial photos, topo maps, or a combination of both, you can efficiently scout specific locations and narrow down areas with high deer activity.
3.1 Scouting by Air Using Aerial Photos
One efficient scouting technique is to use aerial photos. These photos provide an overhead view of the land, enabling you to identify distinct features such as ridge lines, hills, and shaded areas on the shaded side of hills. By studying these photos, you can pinpoint potential deer movement areas and identify spots that may be worth exploring further.
Aerial photos can also help verify hunting spots and determine if baiting is allowed in specific areas. They allow you to survey the land and identify areas where baiting may not be permitted, ensuring you comply with local regulations. By utilizing aerial photos for scouting, you can save time and energy by narrowing down potential hunting areas before setting foot in the field.
3.2 Exploring Topo Maps
Topo maps, which show U.S. topo lines and topography on National Forest Overlay or state land public land, are invaluable scouting tools. They provide detailed terrain information, allowing you to identify potential hunting spots based on elevation changes, vegetation, and other key features.
By studying topo maps, you can determine areas with suitable habitat for deer movement. Look for edges in habitat, such as transitions between thick cover and open fields, as these areas often attract deer due to the availability of food and cover. Topo maps can help you identify trails, saddles, and other features that indicate deer activity. By understanding the lay of the land, you can narrow down your scouting areas and focus on locations with a higher likelihood of encountering deer.
3.3 Combining Topo Maps and Aerial Photos for Efficient Scouting
To maximize your scouting efforts, combine topo maps with aerial photos. By cross-referencing the information from both sources, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the land and identify the most promising hunting spots.
Use topo maps to identify areas with favorable terrain features, such as ridges, valleys, or funnels. Then, refer to aerial photos to verify the presence of cover, food sources, and other factors that make an area attractive to deer. By utilizing this combination of scouting techniques, you can efficiently break down large areas into smaller, more manageable sections and focus your scouting efforts on the spots that offer the greatest potential for success.
4. Identifying Potential Hunting Spots
When hunting on public land, identifying potential hunting spots is crucial. Understanding key features and searching for specific habitat types can help you locate areas with high deer movement and increase your chances of a successful hunt.
4.1 Key Features and Edges in Habitat
When scouting for potential hunting spots, look for key features and edges in habitat. These areas often provide prime opportunities for deer encounters. Transitions between different types of habitat, such as thick cover and open fields, are particularly attractive to deer. These edges offer a balance of food and cover, making them ideal locations for deer movement.
Additionally, consider areas with noticeable features, such as benches, creek crossings, or pinch points. Benches, which are flat areas on slopes, can often act as travel corridors for deer. They provide easy movement between feeding and bedding areas. Creek crossings and pinch points, where the terrain narrows, can concentrate deer movement and increase your chances of a successful hunt.
By paying attention to these key features and edges in habitat, you can narrow down your scouting areas and focus on locations that are more likely to hold deer.
4.2 Marshes, Wetlands, and Steep Topography Areas
Marshes, wetlands, and areas with steep topography can be excellent hunting spots on public land. These limiting features often discourage other hunters and create isolated pockets where deer can feel secure.
Marshes and wetlands act as natural barriers, restricting human access and reducing hunting pressure. These areas provide cover and attract deer due to the availability of water and food sources. By exploring marshes and wetlands, you may discover hidden gems that are overlooked by other hunters.
Similarly, areas with steep topography can deter hunters who prefer easier terrain. Steep hillsides and rugged landscapes create secluded pockets where deer can find refuge. By venturing into these challenging areas, you can discover untapped hunting opportunities and potentially encounter mature bucks that seek shelter in these remote locations.
5. Hunting on Public Land: Opportunity and Enjoyment
Despite misconceptions, hunting on public land can offer a wealth of opportunities and a deep connection to the land. By understanding and embracing the unique aspects of hunting on public land, you can find fulfillment and enjoyment in the pursuit of deer.
5.1 Overcoming Misconceptions
Many hunters may be deterred from hunting on public land due to misconceptions. Some believe that public land is heavily hunted, devoid of quality bucks, or lacking in suitable hunting areas. However, this is not always the case.
There are numerous public land areas across the country that hold the potential for hunting big bucks. By utilizing the scouting techniques mentioned earlier and strategically choosing your hunting locations, you can find public land areas that are underutilized, providing you with ample opportunities for success.
5.2 Connection to the Land
Hunting on public land offers a unique connection to the land. It allows you to explore and appreciate the natural beauty of various landscapes while pursuing your passion for hunting. Each new state or public land area you visit presents an opportunity for adventure and a deeper understanding of the diverse ecosystems that support wildlife.
By immersing yourself in the challenges of hunting on public land, you can foster a profound connection to nature and develop a greater appreciation for the natural world.
5.3 Fulfillment in Shooting Smaller Bucks
Hunting on public land may require adjusting your expectations and being open to shooting smaller bucks. While the pursuit of trophy-sized bucks is exhilarating, it is important to appreciate the experience and fulfillment that come from any successful hunt.
Public land hunting often leads to encounters with smaller bucks, as they are typically more abundant. Embracing the opportunity to harvest a smaller buck can still provide excitement and a sense of accomplishment. These hunts can be just as rewarding as larger trophy hunts and offer valuable learning experiences.
By focusing on the overall enjoyment of the hunt and appreciating every encounter, regardless of size, you can find fulfillment and satisfaction in hunting on public land.
Hunting on public land presents unique challenges and opportunities. By separating yourself from other hunters, utilizing access points strategically, and employing effective scouting techniques, you can increase your chances of hunting success. Identifying potential hunting spots based on key features and habitat edges, as well as exploring areas with marshes, wetlands, and steep topography, can lead to rewarding experiences.
Despite misconceptions, hunting on public land provides an opportunity for a deep connection to the land and offers enjoyment in every hunting encounter. Whether shooting smaller bucks or pursuing trophy-sized game, hunting on public land allows you to immerse yourself in nature and appreciate the beauty and diversity of the great outdoors. By following these tips and embracing the challenges of hunting on public land, you can create memorable experiences and continue to explore the vast hunting opportunities that await.