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Public Land Etiquette

1407 Views 26 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  smesk403
I am starting this thread because I had an experience tonight that I have never had before. I'll tell my story and then I am hoping others can post up there stories, but most importantly hopefully get a good discussion of basic etiquette that should be practiced while hunting on public land.

My story: I went to the field this morning (10:00) to hunt some public land that I had been hunting since moving to a new town recently. I always pack in my LW stand and set it up/take it down each time. I decided to hit a spot that I had seen some good activity in early Sept but hadn't been back to cause I was focusing on filling the freezer with a doe and didn't want to spook the buck that I thought was in there with a less than perfect setup and weather conditions.

I entered my spot, set up my stand and was feeling pretty good about things. About 1 hour before sunset I see another hunter walking into the wind and ends up about 35 yards from my stand. He sees me and I see him and wave. He waves back and turns 180 degrees and walks away. He walks about 20 yards and stops. He then turns back around, skirts my stand on the outside of the trees I'm in (50 yards) and travels upwind of me. About 70 yards upwind of me he stops at a tree and starts putting his climbing sticks on the tree. I then realize he had a stand in the tree and was going to hunt it. His stand was right over the trail system my stand was over and I was directly downwind of him....end of hunt for me.

I took my stand and climbing sticks down, packed it all on my back, and walked toward his stand. I made contact with him and said, "70 yards upwind of me? Thanks man!" He said he didn't know I was there, I said, "You waved at me!". He then yelled that this was the only stand he had. I told him to "have a good hunt" and left. I was livid, but never swore or called him any names.

On the walk out I was thinking about what fellow sportsman should do in a situation like that. I myself would have turned around upon seeing someone in the area and chalked it up to them beating me to my spot and putting in more time then me....hes deserves to hunt there undisturbed this time.

Can the AT community chime in on what should be done in a situation like this as well as provide some other useful tips for someone like myself who is new to bowhunting public land?

-Deadfall
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I would probably be ticked off and tell him off the moment he gets down, but I get rather emotional when idiots show up right before dusk/dawn, and have the gall to hunt by me even though they know I'm there.

Useful tips? Well yelling won't help:)
 

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public land editcuttie

I personally would have whipped out hunting knife cut last two ropes on stick and walked away with the bottom two sections. I would have gone home and slept good.
 

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That has happened to me a couple times. 1 time 2 kids walked literally right under mystand and right down the trail for me. after i had been in the stand for 30 minutes. saw them and made sure they saw me, and yelling didn't help.

second time bird hunters walked circles around me...

just one of the bad things in public land. Since then I walk as deep into the woods as i can without walking out. trying to avoid all future encounters.
 

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Last year I hit as spot I had scouted during the summer. I walked in and picked a tree a bit off a nice creek crossing I had remembered. I was completely set up and began climbing the tree when I notice a guy and girl in camo coming through the woods. As luck would have it he pointed to a tree not to far from where I was set up. He told me I could hunt up the stream a bit and I didn't mind cause he did have steps in the tree. I declined noticing I would be up wind and the other spot I scouted in the area would have been up wind of them too. I wished them luck and called it quits for the day.

It helped that they had a camera on the trail with only five pics from the previous week...:wink:...courtesy...what goes around comes around I hope!...:darkbeer:
 

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Hmmmm.....the joys of public land.....:sad:
You all my know me as a supporter of hunting whether it be public land, private land, high fence, no fence, whatever.... I just love hunting. It's just stories like these that make me appreciate the private ranches I hunt back in Texas. Just last month I had a morning hunt ruined out here in AZ. I put in my time, got out to my "spot" at around 4 a.m., seemed like the sun started to come up about 5 and at around 6:30 I had a doe that I was watching bolt on me, lo and behold a hiker comes up behind her. Hunt over. Never have had that problem on private land. That being said, I am looking forward to my upcoming elk hunt where I will just have to go back further than any other human is willing to go to avoid a repeat.
 

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Well first off hunting is alot different for me here on the west coast than for you-all, but I'm always hunting public land where anyone can show-up at any time to ruin the hunt or at least alter it. A good portion of my years hunting I've spent trying to avoid other hunters as much as posible. At times I'll use other hunters to my advantage but generally I hunt the steeper often brushier ground, or further back in the bush to avoid others simply because you can't really say squat about what others do but they can sure change your plans for you and it sucks every time. Many hours of time and effort can be wasted by some idiot that has no clue. Just remember though, the fact that it is public means it has to be shared and you don't have rights above and beyond what others have. Fist come first serve should sufice but it's not law. Good luck in spite of the idiots. :darkbeer:
 

· JB WELD PRO STAFFER
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Guy wasnt being bad he had a stand up on a trail and probly felt that to be his spot! You moved in and didnt notice his stand (your in no way wrong for that). He decided hey what the heck its my only stand and its 70 yards away we can share this spot! You decided that you didnt want to share it as he was hurtin you with his wind, Thats cool. The problem I see is where you get mad at him and call him out:zip:

Its public land you should expect that and though its can suck at times its also free!

What I would have done is waited till after the hunt then I would have approched him and gotten his number in hopes of avoiding this situation in the future. I might have even tried to buddy up with him in hopes of getting him to let me use his stand freeing mine up for other spots.


Try being nice then walk away if someone wont let you then you get nasty.

Also look at it from his view, H emay have had that stand there the whole time and it very well could have been the truth when he told you it was his only spot. If that had been you would you have still hunted. I would have and if you would have came at me the way you did I would have been alot more polite but I still would have stayed in that tree.

In IA all I had was public land so I got really used to hunting next to people. I actually had a guy put a stand 10 yards from me once:mad: said he liked the spot but didnt like my stand so when my truck wasnt there he hunted his stand . We smoked for deer of that trail:darkbeer: and both missed a tropy buck:wink:

Just my.02
 

· JB WELD PRO STAFFER
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I personally would have whipped out hunting knife cut last two ropes on stick and walked away with the bottom two sections. I would have gone home and slept good.
Till you woke up with me and the Sheriff at your door.:wink:


That kind of stunt would have been about the dumbest thing you could do next to threating to shoot the guy.
 

· A.T.Under Sophist
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It's public ground, so there's not much you can do. If you are forced to hunt public land only, about all you can do is hunt where the other guys dont. The upside is, the deer are trying to find those spots too.
 

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I had the same thing happen to me. I spent a great deal of time pre-scouting a south Texas refuge hunt I and my hunting partner were drawn for. I found a great place and saw a buck well over 160 and several more nice deer. I got stands set for both of us, pre hunt---and even gave my buddy the area where I saw the bigger buck.

Well, first day he sticks a nice 10 pt. Second day he sees the BIG 10 but no shot. After dark I see his light wandering around about 60 yards upwind of me. I crawl down and he has moved his stand directly upwind of me about 60 yards. I said surely he didn't plan to hunt there that his wind would foul up my hunt. He said maybe then I should consider moving my stand.

Well, I called my hunt over, went to the truck to get the necessary tools to disassemble my tri-pod, and dropped him at the camp. I returned to town and have no idea how he made his way home. Moral--even those that you may consider friends use poor judgement in the pursuit of deer. And no, I refuse to even consider hunting with him, even on the several private ranches to which he has access.

I have hunted public land in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado and never encountered a problem of this nature.

Sorry for the rant but the thread struck a nerve.

Marc:darkbeer::):darkbeer:
 

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I hunt alot of public land in CT and hunted tons in Florida. Sometimes I think people feel that leaving a stand set up in a spot claims that area for themselves. Personally, I have no problem setting up in a tree right next to another stand that is just sitting out on public land.

He who wears the crown, rules. If I'm walking into a spot and someone is even in the vicinity, I back out and leave. I hope to get the same respect although that doesn't happen all the time.
 

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ah what you did was what i would have done, leave but let the guy know he did wrong and by some small chance he might think twice before doing it again. some people do get their education in the feild, i did some stupid stuff not knowing when i first started out. it's kinda our job as sportsman to educate our fellow sportsman, not kill them, just let him know, because there are hunters out there that simply do not know.
 

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With a bow, at 70 yards you can be hunting totally different deer. It is public land and belongs to everybody. You can make it work. Sounds like he atb least tried not to disturb your area and as he stated he was pretty much "pot committed". You should have stayed till dark and enjoyed the hunt. You may have found out the "other" guy was actually a good fella, know a lot about the area, when he hunts that area, etc. You should have stayed put and stayed quiet. (PS I hunt public 99% of the time).
 

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It happens. For the most part, the guys I run across on public land are pretty good about this kind of stuff.

Like Sit's in Trees said, some people just don't know yet.

POINT 2: Your probably waisting your time waiting for perfect weather / wind to hunt a particular spot on public land.

POINT 3: Hunt weekdays and not weekends
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies fellas.

txcookie, you are correct, I could have handled this differently but at the time I was upset and wanted to let the guy know it. What really chapped me was when he turned around after seeing me, walked away, and then turned around. In my mind he was walking back to his pickup and said to himself "F-it I'm gonna hunt my stand even if it is right upwind of him." I could be wrong on this and it's suggestions like yours that I will try to remember in the future. Thanks.

Spec, in the area that we were sitting it would be nearly impossible to not be hunting the same deer. If this was the case I would have stayed. The area was a little open and I could see him and his stand from where I was at.

Pizzle, you are also probably correct on me waiting for the perfect conditions to hunt a piece of ground like this one. I thought I was doing well heading out on a Thursday morning. I never hunt this area on the weekends.

I do a lot of waterfowl hunting and have been taught that the "early bird gets the worm (or duck)." If I show up at a site hoping to hunt waterfowl and someone is already there, I turn around and drive home or try to find another spot (it's happened). Now, I usually try to get to my spot while waterfowl hunting 3-4 hours before light and hope that any other hunters afford me the same respect that I do to them!

In the case that started this thread I was expecting the other hunter to do the same as I practice while hunting waterfowl. Am I wrong to expect this?

Also, are there any "golden rules" to hunting public land that I can learn from you AT'ers so I am not the guy ruining someone's hunt?
 

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It is not a right or wrong issue...

It is a legal issue...I would not have hunted had I been in his shoes but I also know many other public land hunters who would. That is something (as crappy as it seems) you must learn to live with on public land...As an issue of law in Montana yelling at another hunter on public land is considered harassment and you can be ticketed for it...If you had done something stupid (like cut his climbing stix) you could end up in jail...I am not saying you shouldn't be angry but honestly I would have walked away...I can't think of any animal that is worth a ticket or jail time...
 

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Get a mountain bike and get deeper in. Of course it works only if your public land has trails.
 

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I hunt on some very heavily hunted game lands in North Carolina. I have this sort of thing happen to me every year. I've learned to deal with it. I would have asked introduced myself and asked the guy how often he hunted this area. He could have turned out to be a good guy.

I went to hunt an area one morning and didn't get in the woods until it was light . As I was walking in I passed a climber hangin on a tree at ground level. I was hunting 2 or 3 hundred yards past it, so didn't think much about it. I came out around 2 to meet a friend to hunt a different area that afternoon. Well, the guy was in his stand. After I appologized we ended up walking to our trucks together. The guy told me alot about the area and some places I should check out to hunt. He put me on some good spots.
 
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