Hunting Public Land
By Mike Bleech
You may think hunting on public lands means too much competition from other hunters. Yes, hunting pressure does tend to be heavier on public lands than on private lands. However, not every public place gets a lot of hunting pressure, nor do other hunters create the same kind of competition as you often get on private lands. Many of them actually give you weak competition.
You can avoid being weak competition yourself, though, by not making the mistakes many casual deer hunters make. You should always learn from your own mistakes, but nothing says that you cannot learn from the mistakes of other hunters, too. Here are a few mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1 – Hunting close to roads.
One particular area I frequently hunt has a reputation for holding very few deer. I hear about it often. When I suggest that hunters get farther away from roads the reply is always the same – they tell me they do get deep into the woods.
I know better. During a normal deer season I see absolutely no tracks in the snow farther than 1/8-mile from the nearest road, other than those of my own hunting companions. Of course, I dare not tell that to anyone who claims to get deep in the woods. Egos get too deeply involved.
Most of the moving that deer do during hunting season results from the movements of hunters. If no one is far enough into the woods to jump deer, usually they bed all day, or most of it anyway.
Mistake #2 – Moving too fast.
Of course, by getting deeper into the woods you run the risk of pushing deer to other hunters. This is why you should avoid moving too fast. Moving fast tends to get deer running. Just one hunter moving recklessly can make hunting close to roads almost futile. It is absolutely essential that you see deer before they vacate the area.
Moving slowly, cautiously, tends to just nudge deer along (if you are not shooting at them.) They may make a few bounds, but in many cases they will not move far or fast. It is not unusual for a skilled still hunter to be able to cut ahead of deer by taking advantage of their slow movements when the course of the movement is accurately anticipated. That comes from experience and scouting.
Read more at Havalon Knives.