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Discussion Starter #1
How many of you bow hunt deer on public land? There are some game lands here is SE Pennsylvania that are 10 minutes from my house which I scout regularly. The problem is that these lands get constant foot traffic from people on walks, fisherman going to the river, and other hunters. Dove season opened 9/1 so the deer are constantly hearing gun fire. Bow season will open the same day as the last day for doves (9/30) and then there's only about a 1 week respite where the only hunting action will be bow season. After that, squirrel season opens and the assorted youth and muzzleloader seasons. Hunting this parcel of land for deer is probably about as hard as it gets. The only deer I see during the season are at last light as they pop out of the standing corn and hedgerows after being in lockdown mode all day. And the sighted deer are always young does. I know good racked bucks exist there because of the sign I see but they've got to borderline vampires and only showing themselves well after dark.

I'm thinking my only shot at sighting one of the bucks during legal shooting hours is going to be at first light in hopes that I can catch one who stayed out a little too late. I found some very good sign yesterday with three trees in a row rubbed and beat up pretty good and I've seen it in this same area about three years in a row now. The way I see it, the best window of opportunity I have here is going to be while bow season is the only game in town. After that, all bets are off and the small game season orange brigade will move in.

What methods do some of you use for hunting public land that falls under intense pressure? These lands are only 150 acres and flat. Options are limited.
 

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If there is any water access,attack those by canoe or jonboat to get back to areas that don't get hit as much. Grab chest waders to get thru the sloppy deeper swamp stuff and hunt the islands in those swamps (great escape routes) You need to be willing to go or do what most guys aren't and that is work harder and hunt harder and smarter! Goodluck my friend.:darkbeer:
 

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Don't let the people taking walks bother you!!! I was out scouting the other day on some National Forest land and seen twenty some deer on my journey. 6 of which were bucks and 5 of those 6 were within 30yrds of a state trail that I seen atleast 10 people go by walking or riding bikes!! Deer get familiar with what they see the most and become acustomed to it!!!! I've got to check the laws and hopefully I'll have a stand right were I spotted them!!!!
Also find a topo map of the area you can hunt and the surrounding area as well!!! Find a funnel!!!!! Look for them on your property and the neighbors as well!!! I guarentee that if you look close enough you'll find one ( even if the funnel is on the other land, it'll probably begin or end on your land).
 

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Here is what you do, it is a true and tried method that really works, you take the word "Hunting" for what it says. The deer are there at night so they are there during the day also, put on your best camo and go out there and HUNT them darn deer.
You will have a much better story to tell us about how you had to go out there before daylight and how you had to walk here and there looking for your deer and then finally, you spot him. There he is in the distance, about 4 to 5 hundred yards and so now your stalk is on. Also you can tell us how you had to fianlly crall thru the brush the last 50 yards to get with in bow range of him, the whole time expecting him to hear, smell or see you and jump up and run off. After 2-3 hours (your not sure cause you mind is focused on getting with-in bow range), WOW, your finaly close enough, so you get in your kneeling position, draw back your bow and then he happens to look your way and you have to freeze the whole time your bow is drawn back, you can feel yourself shaking from the excitement of the hunt. And then it all starts to come to gether, he turns his head away giving you the broad side shot and you were waiting on and and so you let your arrow fly and then you can not believe it after 4-6 hours of searching, stalking and finaly crawling to get with in bow distance, YOU MISS.
Now, doesn't that sound a lot more interesting story to tell, then just telling us you got up early, climbed up your stand and sat there for an hour waiting for legal shooting light and then when it was time he was just standing there waiting for you to shoot him like you knew he would be, so you shot him through both lungs and now your hunt is over.
And, just remember all the people out there doing there daily or weekly walking will be an advantage to you, since the deer will be distracted by them and not you sneaking up on them for the kill. Just let us know how it goes for you, good luck. I just hope you have lots of fun while your out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The land also has multiple strips of standing corn which cannot be entered to hunt in PA without landowner permission. The land is owned by the PA Game Commission so that isn't an option. And like we all know, deer can live in standing corn and never have a reason to leave during daylight hours.

The bulk of the sign I see on this land is along the fringes of the boundary lines and the bucks just don't venture out during daylight. I've plowed through the thick stuff on these lands in the last few years with my dog hunting pheasants and the deer are rarely ever hunkered down in it.

If I can kill a buck on this land, it will be a trophy regardless if rack size. I've taken this on as a personal challenge and will be ecsatic if I can connect.
 

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Find access points that will help in concealing scent and hunt the very thick cover.

To conceal scent, I would actually use the main trails, because people on the main trails would be a common scent, and big deer will avoid it during the day. From there go down small creeks ditches, etc that a deer typically wouldn't so you can get to your stands. The other option it to park along the road and follow a terrain feature, hopefully a creek to your stand.

The mature deer there will use the thick cover for condealment. They are there, and have figured out it is all but impossible to see them while in this type of stuff. Find pinch points in the thicket cover, and hunt them when the wind is right, and you can approach as cleanly as possible. If a spot has good thick cover that connects through a terrain funnel (creek crossing, ditch crossing, saddle, etc.) then it's that much better, and a "must have" travel lane for a mature deer.

I hunt cover like this and it is tedious, because the deer may not be visible until closer than 20yds. You have to be ready and realize you may only get one decent shot. If the shot isn't there, don't force it in the thick stuff. Hopefully you can fool this deer again, and blood trailing in the thick stuff is terrible, so you want it to be a good shot and short blood trail.

This type of spot isn't hunted by a lot of folks because you can't cover much area, and looking at the same small place is boring. But, deer love tight thick spots like a rabbit loves a thorn bush. It's where they feel safe.
 
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