Deer Hunting Public Land

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deer hunting public land
Many deer hunters have had the opportunity to get a trophy buck while hunting public land.

Let's face it: trophy bucks aren't as easy to find as they once were. As hunting pressure increases, trophy bucks find their way onto private land where there is less hunting pressure or disappear into thick cover like swamps. A few decades ago, a friendly smile and a knock on a farmers' door was all it took to obtain permission to hunt private land.

Today, most large parcels of private farm ground are leased to the highest bidder, usually for thousands of dollars, or the land is developed into a shopping mall. Many hunters watch in horror as they farm they hunted as a child is transformed into a subdivision. Many hunters are asking the question, "Where will I hunt now?"

Almost every deer hunter frowns on public land hunting, but with each passing hunting season, many blue collar Americans are left with no other choice. As we slip into the sea of orange vests on opening day, many of deer hunters ask themselves, "Are we deer hunting or trying to look like a giant pumpkin?" But, with few options left deer hunters locate a big tree, sit down, and wait for some hopeless fork horn to stumble by, trying to escape with his life. This scenario takes place across America. If you are reading this story and it sounds familiar, don't give up hope. You can tag a giant public land hunting or on small parcels of private land that are often overlooked by most hunters.

An avid bowhunter from Michigan recalls a few things about finding overlooked trophy bucks. This deer hunter and his dad often travel out of state chasing whitetails. Over the years, they have taken more than a dozen whopper whitetails without breaking their bank account. "Most hunters believe that in order to harvest a big whitetail, they have to spend a lot of money hunting with a hunting outfitter. They consistently bag trophy class bucks without spending a thousand dollars on a hunt. Most hunting outfitters charge three or four times that amount."

These deer hunters deer hunt in states where tags can be purchased over the counter and in states where deer hunters are required to draw a tag. Kansas deer hunting and Iowa deer hunting are very popular for whitetail hunters. Many deer hunters put in for tags in both states. It can take up to three years to draw a tag in either state, but according to Tom Johnson, the wait is worthwhile. "Most Americans have more time than money. Applying year after year, being patient, and waiting to draw a tag has enabled us to harvest a lot of large bucks instead of hunting around home where there aren't any big bucks," Tom added.

Do Lots of Research

deer hunters do research before deer hunting
Most states have helpful tips and hunting info available online. Drawing deadlines, license quotas, and all kinds of other information is just a click away.

Kansas deer hunting and Iowa deer hunting are available on lots of private property but there are also large chunks of public land hunting opportunities. When most deer hunters draw a tag, they begin doing research. The state of Kansas has a walk-on program where farmers lease land to the state and allow hunters to hunt their land. Some of these properties are easy to find; others take a little more leg work to find. Most deer hunters prefer hunting on properties that very few people know about and are out of the way. Kansas isn't like the Midwest where there are ten hunters every fifty feet. In Kansas, even on opening day of bow season, you may be the only hunter hunting a piece of public ground. The key to success is finding the right piece for hunting public land.

When trying to locate new hunting areas, some deer hunters download maps off the internet and research them for days, looking for places that may hold large bucks. In Kansas, finding trophy bucks isn't very difficult because much of the land is farm ground. You just look for low land or rows of trees off the beaten path where most deer hunters are unwilling to go. Let's face it: most hunters are lazy.


Once a deer hunter has located a few hot spots, it is time to head to the woods. The key to deer hunting success doesn't come from being the greatest hunter; it boils down to time. If you have the chance to hunt hard for up to a couple weeks at a time you are better off. Sometimes it may take five or six days to locate trophy bucks, so the more time a deer hunter has, the better chance he has of scoring on a trophy buck. The more time a deer hunter has allows him to be choosier as well.



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