Every year big bucks grow old and die on public land.  They live their entire lives just out of sight of hunters.  Finding one takes work, but it is possible.  Here are some tips on getting it done.

Tip One.  Study the habits of deer during different stages of their life cycle.  A deer behaves differently in early fall than during the rut.  He is a different critter in the post rut period.  They will feed and bed according to the hunting pressure in the woods.  That is, with a lot of hunter in the area at the beginning of the season, deer will tend to go nocturnal.  They will hide out in thick cover and emerge only in low light or at night.

In cold weather, deer feed more often.  They need the additional calories to maintain body temperature.  In rainy weather, they will often hold up in thick cover where they drink from standing water in puddles near their feeding and bedding area.  In dry, hot weather, deer move to creeks and ponds to drink.

The number of times a buck drinks is dependant upon weather and his physical activity.  During the rut, he frequents a water source more often than during the pre-rut.  Post rut, he will need more water to replace that lost during the rutting frenzy.

Tip Two.  Keep a map and notes of deer activity in the area you plan to hunt.  The maps you can usually get from the county highway department are good. They are accurate but still have room for making notes right on the map.  Topographical maps are also good. They reveal elevations.  Use a spiral notebook to note deer activity at different times during the season.  Note deer activity under specific weather conditions too.  Keep notes from your hunting excursions too.

Tip Three.  Scout the area as often as you can.  The deer will get accustomed to your presence and will not change their patterns.  Wear you hunting clothing while scouting so that they relate your presence to a harmless intrusion into their environment.  Use binoculars to observe the animals from a distance and a range finder to note distances to specific landmarks and game trails.  A G.P.S. works well to record the waypoints as well as the fact that many contain maps now.

Tip Four.  Select treestand locations with the prevailing wind in mind.  Locate them so as to allow you to approach the stand from down wind and yet not cross any game trails.  Be aware that the wind might be coming from a different location in the morning, than would be the case in the afternoon.

Tip Five.  Time your deer.  Keep notes as to when the deer are doing what.  That is, which direction to they wander when going to water or feeding areas and at what time of day do they do it.  The same is true of trips to bedding areas or loafing areas during the day.  Deer are always doing something.  If you know what, then you can be there before them.

The more time you spend studying deer, the more intelligent your hunting will be.  On public land, other hunters will disturb the deer patterns.  However, they will return to their routine as soon as possible.  The number of other hunters decreases as the season wears on until toward the end you could have the place to yourself.  If you have done your homework, public land hunting could yield that big buck that hid out from everyone all season.



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  1. Pingback: FIVE TIPS FOR PUBLIC LAND DEER « Don Gasaway's Blog | Hunting Reviews

  2. Very good advice about locating your stand position, and entering it from downwind.

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