It will come as no surprise to many of you to hear that I spend a lot of time hunting public land. North Georgia has a huge amount of public WMAs where Whitetails flourish and much of it is within a 1 hour drive of my house. Those that follow me on Facebook and Twitter also know I do participate in a hunting lease as well and I plan to spend a lot of time on the lease this fall. However, with a busy schedule, I like knowing there is public land, some as close as 30 minutes from my front door, where I can partake in an early morning or afternoon hunt whenever time permits. I also happen to enjoy the additional challenge public land brings where I not only have to figure out the deer but the other hunters as well.
Over the years, through a lot of trial and error, I have developed a set of strategies for hunting public land whitetails. Being a Traditional Only Bowhunter I have to get close and I have had to fine tune in order to do so. I truly believe most of my tactics will work anywhere if you are willing to fine tune them for a particular area and over the next few weeks I intend to share some of what I have learned with you. Much of this information may be pretty basic for you more seasoned readers but my hope is that everyone may gain something useful along the way. This will be a three part series on my Whitetail tactics for hunting public land but most of these methods will also work well on private land. The three areas I will cover are “Food”, “Terrain” and “Pressure”. I plan to publish one each week beginning next week and I would appreciate your comments and feedback if you have had similar experiences or if you have found different methods that work for you.
A Little Teaser Information
Hunting food sources is the greatest factor I consider when hunting Whitetails. After all, they must eat and drink to survive and in fact, this may be the greatest constant in a Whitetails life. Sure, I get excited about rubs and scrapes but even when I find these during early season, my first thought is “where is the nearest food or water source” based on what I know about the area. Same goes for bedding areas, I try to stay a good distance from known bedding areas. Instead I consider food sources around or near bedding areas and then focus on locating an ambush point between feeding and bedding areas. Part I will cover the food sources that I will typically target for Whitetails. I will include information such as identification, where to look, when you may expect the mast to be targeted by deer and other information you may find useful.
Next I will focus on terrain. How terrain affects Whitetail behavior and how you can use it to your advantage. I will also provide information on how I pre-scout areas using topographic maps while in the comfort of my home. Lastly there will be some information regarding terrain and how it can affect wind patterns and thermals.
The final topic will focus on hunting pressure and how I use hunting pressure to my advantage. There may also be some surprises here as I have found some odd locations where deer sometimes retreat to when the hunting pressure picks up.
May all your arrows find their mark.