If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our friends at Antler Geeks, it’s that big deer can be shot on public land with regularity. But you have to hunt with the determination, perseverance and intelligence 95 percent of public land hunters won’t dedicate to their pursuit. One strategy, which has proven effective many times, is to let private land hunters push the deer to the fringes of public land.
Here is how you can plan a hunt like this:
Pore over any maps you can get your hands on - Google Earth, government maps, topos, etc. - and become very familiar with the boundaries of public land hunting areas. Then hone in on areas that may be sanctuaries where the deer will head once pressured like thick cover close to fields that border private ground. It’s amazing how many hunters will drive an ATV right through the field deer are feeding in to get to their stand in the morning.
Deal With Rejection
After finding areas suitable to fit the plan, drive around and approach the landowners for hunting permission without really expecting to get it. What you’re doing here is scouting for information. Try to figure out how many hunters use the property, how often they hunt and if they have shot anything this season. For the most part, people are friendly and may even show you trail camera pictures of bucks in the area.
Pick a Spot
After studying maps and talking with landowners, try to pick the best place where deer will be pushed in your direction. This is a total judgment call. If you happen to talk with a hunter who is serious about QDM or only allows a few hunters on his property, chances are they know to keep the pressure low. That’s we your best opportunity will be around properties used as hunting clubs.
Once you pick a spot, execute a normal hunt plan by picking a good route to the location, getting there early and staying late. It doesn’t always work out, but this is a solid strategy to see more deer and put a tag on better-than-average public land bucks.
If you are sitting on the couch because you don’t have a piece of private land to hunt, give this tactic a try. Deer do not know they are on public or private land. If you can find an out-of-the-way spot where deer will be driven by private land hunters, you could be in for a great sit.