With millions of acres of Public Land available across the country, picking the right area to scout and ultimately hunt can be overwhelming. And since public land is public, sometimes your scouting and hunting methods have to be a little ‘unconventional’ compared to the status quo to be successful. When looking for the right piece to hunt and spend your season on, give some thought to these two methods on your next scouting trip.
- 1- SEARCH FOR SMALLER SECTIONS
Often times people get wrapped up in looking for large sections of public land where they can ‘break away’ from other hunters simply by walking father. While this is true, there is something to be said about smaller sized sections of public land. Often times these smaller sections are quickly overlooked and written off by many hunters because they are trying to find the larger ones where they think they have a better chance of spacing out from the crowd. These smaller parcels usually have limited road access to them as well. Meaning no parking lots and very short road frontage for accessing the area – which leads to these spots being again overlooked. If you can find the right one, a smaller section will produce better hunting due to less pressure from other hunters than a larger chunk with more hunters in the area.
- 2- STOP SCOUTING FOR DEER SIGN
As hunters, there’s not many things in life that get our blood pumping more than a freshly made rub or torn up scrape the size of a car hood in October. It’s always tempting to set up near these signs when out scouting public land, but the fact of the matter is you are probably not the only one who has come across that scrape or big rub. Which results in other people knowing the area, and also more pressure on the deer from human presence. Big run ways and trails that look like a herd of cattle came through the area are also easily identifiable by other hunters, so fight the temptation of setting up by those as well. Chances are someone else has their eye on them too. Instead of looking for deer sign when out scouting, be on the lookout for human sign. Human sign as in candy wrappers, pop/beer bottles, trail marking tape, reflective cat eyes on trees, tire tracks, foot prints – anything a human may have left behind while in that area. When you find anything related to human activity keep on moving. Deer don’t take well to pressure on public land during peak hunting season, so look for areas where there is no human sign. Chances are if there hasn’t been another human in that area, the deer will be there, regardless of how much deer sign is there or not.
This isn’t to say big parcels of public land and beat down deer trails are useless, it’s just a different way of thinking when scouting public ground. It’s tough hunting out there, and it takes a different way of thinking at times. Best of luck out there, and always Hunt Fearless.