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What to Know Before Hunting Public Lands

Hunting public land may not give you as much personal jurisdiction over the hunting ground as you’d get with your own private land, but there is plenty to be said about hunting public. Public land is easier to find, you can meet and share tips with other hunters, and you can hunt varying locations when the deer start to get wise.

It’s Easy to Find

Public hunting land can be found across every state. When you’ve exhausted your hunting options in one town, you can hop to the next town over. You can vary your hunting locations without having to knock on a door in every town. Hunting public lands also means you can travel out of state for a hunting trip. As long as you have the proper licensing and tags, you can find public land anywhere.

Meet Your Fellow Hunters

Hunting public land gives you a platform to interact with other hunters. You could stumble across a potential hunting mentor, someone to swap trade secrets with, or someone to share your harvest with. Though the camaraderie has the potential to create friendships, be prepared for potential conflict as well. Make sure you are aware of other hunters in your area before you start hunting. Keep an eye out for their locations because you don’t want to accidentally try to shoot the same deer. Leave enough distance between you and the next closest hunter so that you are out of range of their shots. Wearing blaze orange is an easy safety precaution you can take when hunting public land.

Lower the Pressure

When you hunt public land, you should be prepared to navigate deer that are exposed to hunting pressure from other hunters. Try to avoid hunting close to the entrance, near the parking lot. Go deeper into the woods to find the deer that ran away from the hunters at the front. Keep in mind that other hunters may have this same plan, which will switch the hunting pressure and push the deer the opposite direction. Pay attention to the trends of other hunters and adjust.

Trail Cameras Can Reveal a Lot

If you notice an influx of hunters in a certain area, review your trail cameras to track the direction of deer activity. This is why it’s important to set up trail cameras at varying locations throughout the hunting area: so you can monitor the herd migration. Trail cameras are also an excellent way to keep an eye on the big buck you’ve spotted. When you’re hunting public land, you run the risk of another hunter nabbing that big buck before you do. If you have trail cameras in place, you can monitor its behavior and you’ll notice if all of the sudden it goes missing. This will help you know whether to hold out, or go ahead and take the shot on another deer.

Public lands are easy to find and can produce a very fruitful harvest if you know how to navigate them. Stay respectful of other hunters’ space, pay attention to hunting pressure, and learn when it’s time to switch up your location. All of these skills will help make your hunting experience on public land enjoyable.

Do you hunt private or public lands? Let us know your plans for this season in the comments below!

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