Something New – Public Land

20 Aug

Last week I went on a little scouting mission on some public hunting land near my home. The previous couple months I had been driving around the area doing some glassing from my Honda Civic and noticed a good amount of deer visiting a bean field that boarders the state land. Every time I would drive by I would see anywhere from 5 to 15 deer feeding in the beans and hay. With that being a good sign, I though this year I would give hunting public land a try for two main reasons:

1 – Short drive from my home so I will be able to hunt during the week.

2 – I need to fill the freezer. I have plenty of big bucks to chase on my main hunting property during the weekends, so this will give me the opportunity to thin the heard so-to-speak. I did spy through my binos the last two trips a nice 10 pointer that may go 140-145. Anything can happen.

 

I have only hunted on public land a couple times. This is going to be interesting.

I have only hunted on public land a couple times. This is going to be interesting.

 

Strategy Breakdown:

Well… after walking the area I was able to find the food, bedding, and the main trails leading to and from those locations. Aside from a couple acorn trees, there are three main food sources. Corn, beans, and clover. As you can see from the map above there are 5 main trails that run to the food sources. Because the the corn and bean field is private property I will have to park on the road to the east and walk through the timber along the fence line to get to all of my stand locations. This will suck but it is the only option as of now.

West Stand:

This stand will be a son-of-a-bitch to get to. The walk in is about a half mile, I will have to cross a very deep ravine, and do this all as quite as possible with a full load on my back. But the deep ravine can also be a blessing in disguise. I will be able to drop into it and travel it to the northwest until I hit a less-steep point to climb up where I can walk right to my stand. I will more that likely hunt this stand on a southwest or north wind where my scent will be blowing up the ravine or out into the corn field. My plan is to catch them coming to the corn field or before they cross the ravine heading towards the clover or beans. This stand location also had the most amount of sign including an active scrape that looked to be worked in the last 24 hours. Depending on what I see in terms of other hunters and deer movement from the road I probably won’t hunt this stand right away as not to put any additional pressure on the area with the most sign.

 

Here is an active scrape that was about 30 yards from the stand.

Here is an active scrape that was about 30 yards from the stand.

 

Central Stand:

This stand will be perfect for a north or south wind catching the deer coming to the clover field. They are making their way up one of two draws both ending in the same location. My goal is to get a shot to either tail as the draw flattens out towards the northwest corner of the clover field. The first 10 or 15 yards into the timber is extremely thick before it opens up enough for me to get a stand hung. I will not have a shot into the clover field. But, the trail running to the south of this location seems to be the heaviest used trail in the area.

 

This seems to be the most used trail in the area coming up from the ravine and to the south   of the central stand location.

This seems to be the most used trail in the area coming up from the ravine and to the south of the central stand location.

 

East Stand:

Of the three stand locations this will most likely be the first stand I try to hunt as a majority of the trails come to a point and cross the fence here. Plus, I can see most of the bean field and almost all of the clover plot. In order for me to hunt this stand I will need anything but an east wind as I feel the deer will be coming from the west. I can see an issue or two with this location. The biggie being it is the easiest to get to and the most accessible to other hunters, but because I will be hunting the public land during the week and not the weekend I should see less hunters.

 

This doe bed was in the middle of the of the clover field. They must feel safe here.

This doe bed was in the middle of the of the clover field. They must feel safe here.

 

Overview:

I feel it best to go into any situation expecting to fail but having confidence in your decision making and preparing to be successful. Because of the larger population in the area I am expecting to run into other hunters every time I go. I have to be willing to sit longer, go in deeper, and have more patience than the next guy. This means I may not see deer every time I go out, and I’m OK with that. This public land hunting thing is my “extra” time in the tree during the week this year. And any extra time in the tree during the season is a very good thing.

As the season gets here I will keep you all posted about my failure and success with my new public hunting adventures. Also make sure you check out the Facebook and follow me on twitter.

Thanks again for reading and remember to wear your safety harness when setting up and taking down your tree stands. Safety first.

Dan (Dallas Ft. Worth)

3 Responses to “Something New – Public Land”

  1. Ross Wittry August 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Very nice article Dan! I really like the detailed explanation of your on stand locations chooses. Also the detailed map illustrating the main trails and bedding area really brings it into perspective. Keep up the good work! Also, please keep articles like this coming. So far this and the pinch point article are my favorites to date. Thanks!

  2. Ross Wittry August 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Very nice article Dan! I really like the detailed explanation on your stand location choses. Also the detailed map illustrating the main trails and bedding areas really brings it into perspective. Keep up the good work and also keep articles like this coming out. This one and the pinch point article are my favorites to date!

    • Dan Johnson August 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

      Glad you like it. As the season progresses I will have more articles like this. Thanks for reading!

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