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will be hunting public land this year for the first time. What time do you get in the woods. What do you do if you set up to close to another hunter without knowing it. Don't want to disturb anyone but this is my first time. Any help would be great
 

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I have hunted nothing but public land. my first tip, is go as deep into the woods as you can. going to the thickest, toughest stuff to hunt. Usually becaues the average weekend warrior is going to set up 100 yds from the truck and call it good. but sometimes even that doesn't work.

Its really hard to pattern deer on public land with the fear of getting a trail cam stolen.

Secondly, since it's public land, you WILL get disturbed by another hunter and you WILL disturb another hunter. Just one of the fact's out there. Try not to get too upset, nothing good can come from it.

Hope this helps!! good luck!
 

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Hunt the spots other hunters don't. That may be a mile in or it may be a thicket 200 yards from the parking area everyone else walks right past. All of us who have hunted public land for very long have disturbed others & have been disturbed. Thats part of it. Just try to be respectful of other hunters & usually they will show you the same respect. I have even found new hunting buddy's by being disturbed or disturbing others. If two of you are hunting the same general area then it usually pays off to wait for the other guy at the parking area & talk to them. Let him know what days you hunt etc. & let him know you'll try not to disturb his spot again. Most guys are thankful & will do the same for you.
 

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Look at a map of your public land. Try to spot the little spots others would pass. If its a tiny area of public surrounded by private, hunt it. My best spot is a tiny piece surrounded by private, with houses around. I get more deer activity at that spot in a day then most guys see in an entire season. If you have an area that goes wayyy back, go there. Like Bassmaster said, most weekend warriors will not go too far off the beaten path. The farther you go, the better you should be. Don't be afraid to ask others about the land. I have given, and received great info on our public land that has helped me and others put meat in the freezer.
When you leave in the evening and are driving home, watch the fields. That will tell you where the deer go when the pressure is on and where you need to be to intercept them in their travel route. My second day of my first season, I got back to my truck and started driving out. There were 8 trucks sitting in the road watching this huge herd of deer coming out of the woods. The woods were private land, but behind it was public. Thats where I was sitting, but I had gone too far in. The next night, I paid a little more attention and found the trail they used. I set up there and whacked a nanny the next night when they came through.

Good luck!
 

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public land should be hunted just as you would anywhere else just keep in mind you may encounter other hunters. i have had great succses hunting public land. you just have to be in the right spot at the right time.
 

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Buy Mapping Trophy Bucks by Brad Herndon. Read it twice, then refresh once a year after that. Best advice anyone can give you.
 

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agree on the mapping book...

do not hunt the sign. If I see a rub or scrape I hightail it at least 400 yards away asap
 

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even on public land there is some unspoken comfort zone of how close you can hunt to someone else without violating some sense of decency. If you can see a guy, you are probably too close.

here is what I do -- when i see someone's truck parked, I go the other way as far as i can get. Sometimes seclusion from other hunters is the best sign that you've found a good place to hunt undisturbed deer -- even if the deer sign isn't quite what you might otherwise hope it to be.
 

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Be prepared to be mobile. If you are running into other hunters and not seeing many deer, move to a different area fast. Far away from the roads and parking spots if you need to. Early season I look for fresh sign , acorns , shat, tracks, rubs. Toward the rut I like to set up on ridges, saddles with a funnel or pinch point. Preferably near thick cover.
 

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Find their escape routes and hunt them when other are stomping around the woods.
 

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I hunt public quite often. One spot I walk a mile and three tenths and I do well there. I have shot two nice bucks 200-400 yds from truck also. Avoid other hunters is all it amounts to. Sometimes they walk right past good sign close to the parking lots cause they think this must get hammered. If you find a good spot close take advantage of it. But like stated before be prepared to move and walk long distances. You can usually tell if many other hunters have been in an area by looking for there sign just as you do for deer sign. Tracks, Trash etc. If I find most vehicles on one side of the area I drive to the other side and start there. Just my .02
 

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Lot's of good advice here. I'll add that having a blaze orange hat or similar on you comes in handy. It will show others where you are and help prevent them from walking up on you (although there will always be the inconsiderate few). Also, it's safer. If you are decked out in camo and get a small game hunter near you, don't move, then make sure you notify him that you are there (whistle first then wave). There are people out there that have, for whatever reason, shot at movement.
 

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try going in a bit later say around 8:30 am so when most people are leaving you are in the woods deer some times move around in mid morning and early after noon when the woods are the quitest
 

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Be the first one there if you want your spot. Nobody but nobody beats me to a public area. Being a longtime duck hunter has gotten me used to being out there very early.
 

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Lot's of good advice here. I'll add that having a blaze orange hat or similar on you comes in handy. It will show others where you are and help prevent them from walking up on you (although there will always be the inconsiderate few). Also, it's safer. If you are decked out in camo and get a small game hunter near you, don't move, then make sure you notify him that you are there (whistle first then wave). There are people out there that have, for whatever reason, shot at movement.
That's real good advice. Most of the public land here is archery only. Some places allow shot gun small game hunting. I'm always nervous when a squirrel hunter is in my area.
 

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.....

What I have learned from 20+ years of hunting public land:
1. Go during the week if possible.
2. Be prepared to see other hunters. (Squirrel hunting with dogs is big where I hunt). However!!! If you have squirrel hunters near you...don't get mad and leave! I had a small 6 point near me last season and a squirrel hunter shot within 100 yards of me and the deer. The deer looked up for a moment and went back to feeding.
On public land the deer seem to get accustomed to it.
3. Have a couple spots marked on your GPS. Somehow...if there are 9,999,999 trees in the woods... You and another hunter will meet at that 1 tree you picked out. Be able to go to a different area.
4. The "Obvious" spots sometimes look too obvious and nobody hunts them b/c they assume everyone else does. I hunted a food plot on public land that was within a mile of the highway. I never saw another deer hunt that plot (saw several walk past it) and I saw 2 good bucks that evening.
5. I DO try to outwalk people. I get a map and look for a point that Is farthest from all roads or parking areas. If its not pressured then bucks will likely be there.
6. Get a boat! If there is land you can access through waterways its easier for u to get away and not many people (compared to those that would walk) use a boat. I hunt a place that takes 10 minutes to get to in a boat but would take 45 min to an hour to walk.
7. Be persistent! I have no ideas why or how...(Maybe I'm lucky or I go so much) but I can kill deer on public land. I do it every year. Don't expect to kill one every time you go...but be confident that there are a LOT of things that have to go right for a person to kill a deer on public ground. I have killed several deer and thought "man I'm in the honey hole...nobody knows about this place!!!" Only to see lock ons, trees that are skinned from climbers, and lots of sign that other hunters hunt the same spot! So be there when they aren't!
 
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