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Does anyone out there have any good tips for hunting heavily pressured, public land? I am starting to get really discouraged. I went out opening morning(NY), and had to spend 45 minutes sneaking past a hunter 80 yds deep in the woods. When I finally got past him I spotted another in a tree stand 60 yds up the trail. There are so many people who hunt here, but I dont have any private land access.:wacko:
 
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got to get in the way back. say a mile in on public land is not unusual. head in earlier by head lamp. hunting is work and hunting public land is even more work. start looking for private land to hunt. check with friends, relative of friends, just knock on doors and ask permission. most landowners really just want to know whose on their land. if you ask a hundred people and only 5 say yes thats 5 more places than you had before. worse that can happen is they say no. be sure to thank them for their time and leave. this asking is best done before the season, early summer, wearing street clothes. good luck
 

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The only thing I would ad is, Get in the woods earlier!!! Be in you tree and let other prople drive the deer for you.
 

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The only thing I would ad is, Get in the woods earlier!!! Be in you tree and let other prople drive the deer for you.
I agree. Sounds like you slept in instead of getting you tail out of bed. Also you need to find a different access point so to be able to come in from behind these guys. Lastly wait until the first few days are over and hunt the last days DEEP in a thicket in a far quiet corner of the property. Biggest thing is get your tail out of bed earlier. Sleepy head:lol: Just teezing you!
 

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getting discouraged...

I'm not sure where in NY you are hunting but I hunt in Virginia and all the military bases usually open their ranges areas for hunting here. Most require some form of hunting class and they have a system of area assignments for hunters so that noone is tripping over another. I hunt Quantico and they assign a percentage of the passes to Active Duty military who are assigned to the base, Active duty assigned elsewhere, Retired Military and Civilians. They have a good system. It is by far more controlled than say a state wildlife management area so it gives you good opportunity to score as long as you follow the rules. That being said just do a search for military bases in your area and I wouldn't be surprised if you hit on something. You may have to start next year to meet the class requirements etc but it should offer you a better option.
 

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Here are the main items a land owner wants to know about a hunter.
1. Is he safe?
2. Is he a person of integrity (can he be trusted and is he honest)?
3. How will he treat my property (goes back to item #2)?
4. Is he an ethical hunter (goes back to item #2)?
5. Am I being played (goes back to item #2)?

Ask the land owner(s) if there is something they would like you to do to show them you are safe, responsible and trustworthy. Ask if you can help with the property. If they have buildings, ask if there is any maintenance that you can do on the buildings (only ask this if you have experience in that area). If they use firewood, ask if you can help them with the firewood. If they have livestock, ask if you can help with the fencing or working with the livestock. You might end up helping to clean barns, pens an another undersirable job. If so, are you willing to do the dirty job and the work? If not, don't say you are willing to show them you can be trusted.

I grew up on a farm, but I now live in a city a long way from home. When I go home, I go home to see my parents/other family members and to help with the farm work. I don't go home during the hunting season.

I got to know a couple who knew I came from a farm. One day the husband asked if I ever deer hunted. I told him my hunting background (I had shot some deer while growing up on the farm) and the ethics/safety my dad had taught his sons (my sisters did not hunt). He asked if I would be interested in hunting on their land. I told him the truth - that I was very interested. I thanked him for the oportunity.

We hunted together for years. The times when I got a deer and he did not, I gave them half or more of the venison (I paid for the processing). If we both got a deer, I still gave them some venison and the item(s) they enjoyed the most. If he got a deer and I did not, they gave me some of their venison.

There were times I would go out to their farm to target practice and discover they could use help getting the crops planted. It was more important for their crops to be planted than for me to target practice, and I was glad to help. I was like another child to them, and they were like a second set of parents to me. We totally trusted each other. The husband has since died, but the wife is still living. The son that has bought the land is not a hunter. I have his permisson to hunt there, and I do still hunt there. If I get a deer this year, they will again get venison of their choice.

Another posiblility is joining a hunting/sportsmens' club. Quite often, the members of the club do work for the landowners in exchange for hunting privileges. Check to see if a hunting club is in your area. I hope this helps.

One last thing, always leave the land better and cleaner when you leave.
 

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:goodposting: I agree with the above poster. I don't have to hunt public land but if I had to bale/haul hay, clean up, mend fences, or whatever to gain acess to private land I would. The main thing is be sure to use your manners, show respect, and watch your mouth and actions while on these landowners property.
 

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Excellent advice+

got to get in the way back. say a mile in on public land is not unusual. head in earlier by head lamp. hunting is work and hunting public land is even more work. start looking for private land to hunt. check with friends, relative of friends, just knock on doors and ask permission. most landowners really just want to know whose on their land. if you ask a hundred people and only 5 say yes thats 5 more places than you had before. worse that can happen is they say no. be sure to thank them for their time and leave. this asking is best done before the season, early summer, wearing street clothes. good luck
The above is all totally good. Also consider Googling (or hit TerraServer) for an aerial view (free, of course) of the entire area of the public land you are getting depressed about. Check out all access points. Pinpoint the one you've been using. Evaluate the overall situation. Get the topographical layout (same source as above). Look at the blue lines (creeks) and the elevations. Evaluate the best locations to set up a hunt based upon likely deer trails, water, ease to get in and out, elevations and realize 90% of your hunters will not go deep and will leave early. Plan to hunt from dark to dark.

Then, well before the season, like now, get out there and evaluate the difficulty of getting in (in the dark) and out (with a deer), with or without a cart, if you hunt alone. After you have studied the whole situation, you will know if you should move to 'greener pastures'.

The suggestions related to private land are perfect: find a farmer who has a good woodlot and always offer to share the hunt. 9 out of 10 times your offer will be declined with a smile, especially if the farmer hunts. Remember that deer do alot of damage to crops, so most farmers will be open to thinning the herd.

The most important thing is not NOT GET DISCOURAGED. Be patient, out think your competitors in the hunt for venison and use the resources at your disposal intelligently - the TerraServer aerials will show you where the larger stands of likely cover are, then you will narrow your search for landowners open to hunting their properties. Scouting is critical to shortening the odds in your favor. Safe hunting, brother!
 

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I hunted state land the first few years out hunting.It is tough you need to spend a lot of time in the woods this is key. Try and hunt the spots nobody else wants to. This will take some time on your part. Do you remember were you saw all those people? This is a start they will probably be back! The first two years on state land I hunted the morning in a stand and then walked and walked somemore, it took me a long time but I know a spot that no one will even try to get to. This year I saw a huge buck up there in the off season! I am fortunate now because i have gained permission to hunt some private land. These guys are right take the time to talk to the land owner, even go out of your way to do this it makes a diffrence I will be back on that property this year without a doubt! Good Luck!
 

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I agree with countryboy

What everyone has said is true: get up early, walk farther than the others and scout where you want to hunt. Public land is a great thing but can be difficult especially when there is a lot of pressure.

The only thing that I would like to add to countryboy's post is meeting the farmers.

In my experience if there is a small town near by then there is a bar. Go there to get some food or beer and just chat with the locals. At first some might be hesitant but there is always at least one that will talk your ear off. Buy him a beer and start asking questions. Do you know of anyone that would trade a weekend of hunting for a weekend of work?

This won't happen over night. I've been going to the area for 13 years now. Too many people, in my opinion, ask farmers to hunt on their land and don't offer anything in return. There is always something that needs to be done and your willingness to help will set you apart from the others.

I hunt if Western MN and have more land that I can hunt than I could possibly cover in one season. I did this by buying beers and always offering to help not matter what time of year it is. Soon you will meet other people and gain credibility by being around while other hunters are not.


Good Luck!
 

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another thing is get a topo map of the area, this won't help until AFTER the season, go back in the woods for 2 reasons. First look and mark on your map where most folk set up their stands, get in the woods an hour or 2 before them. Second deer change their movement patterns after the pressure of hunting season starts, winter, after the season a great time to see the new trails. The first day or so they will be in their normal pattern but it will change, have at least 2 stands marked and 2 ways into each one.
Also shed hunting in the spring or spring gobbler season is a great time to look for a stand.
 

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hunting heavy pressure

I've found that these public hunting areas produce good deer. First find an area away from other hunters,no foot prints or candy wrappers. Hunt an area where no one else wants to go, also hunt the middle of the day while hunters have stopped for lunch or just got discouraged.
 

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I've been stuck hunting public land most of my life. I utilize aerial and topo maps and look to get in very deep because many hunters are basically lazy. Locate where a deer is likely to go ( the thickest stuff you can find) when pressed. Find where the best ambush point is and set up to catch him when he's trying to sneak away from other hunters. Get into your stand very, very early. Let the woods settle down before first light then let the other hunters drive him to you. Plan on staying all day. Hunters move around a lot when bored, hungry, or cold. This means they'll be jumping and pushing deer a good bit of the day. If I don't tag at dawn, I usually get another chance when every one else comes back into the woods in the afternoon and at dusk. I knocked down a pretty 8 point while everyone was leaving the woods to eat lunch at their vehicles.
 

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Hi the info is great I would add that most city hunters and new hunters make a mistake of moveing around alot so if you get setup sit still all day while these hunters go to there car or truck to eat or get warm you sit still let them move the deer around for you hope it helps .
 

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My grandfather always said when hunting public land you got to go where no one else is willing to go that means to the highest gap of the mountain or the deepest hollow with the thickest thicket that is where the deer will go when the rest of the woods fill up with light weight hunters that barely get out of site of the truck.
 

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i also had to knock on doors its a little nerve wrecking at first but remember they are people to and most of them are really nice but if you dont have a choice but to hunt public. then as they said before find where others say there are no deer there thats where i would hunt because no one else is there and a lot of those guys are lazy and wont walk a mile to get to a stand site i knew a guy who put a basket on the back of a bicycle and would find the easiest route to a far secluded corner and hunt there because noone else would walk back there.
 

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A lot of good advice. I have hunted a lot of state land also. The only thing I can add that I haven't seen yet is if possible, find water. Somewhere that you need hip boots to get to and even hunt right in the middle of it. The best years I had on state land were when I was hunting in a swampy marsh surrounded by hunters in the woods. Then one year the beaver dam that had created the swamp washed out and it was all dried up. The spot was never any good after that. Also, if you do shoot a buck, wait until after dark to drag it out if possible so that nobody sees it, otherwise you will have company the next year. If there is snow on the ground try to get a friend to help you carry it out (after dark or it could be a target for some of the clowns out there). Believe it or not, I have actually had people back track my drag marks to find out where I shot a buck. It's sad because you wish you could just show it off to anyone you pass and they would be happy for you, but reality is, there are a lot of lazy hunters who don't have character.
 
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