Try These Public Land Spots This Season
Mature bucks (4½ or older) reside all over the public areas we hunt, but rarely get shot. Don’t believe that? Just put out a few trail cams and see what roams thru at night. Once bucks reach an age of 4½ or older, the reason they rarely get shot is because they rarely leave the security of their bedding area in daylight. Furthermore, they seek out places people don’t go. I have shot my share of mature bucks and have noticed they almost always come from overlooked spots where others seldom hunt, or even walk. Mature bucks have an uncanny ability to find these isolated hotspots and to hide and live out there lives there. Below is a list of the best overlooked hotspots that produced my best public land bucks.
1. Roadside Hotspots
When you look at a pressured public property, you have to wonder how mature bucks survive there. The key? Most of the hunting pressure is on 90 percent of the land. A smart hunter concentrates on the left over 10 percent. Big bucks don’t get big by hanging out where people hang out. If you’re hunting pressured public ground for mature bucks, you can throw out everything you learned on TV hunting shows and in most magazines. Bucks are not going to be where people think they are going to be. If they are, they won’t live long.
I like to take an aerial and topo and eliminate areas I think people will be hunting. This means any dry land with easy access and parking. I also like to think about the patterns of hunters —even more than I consider the patterns of deer. I learned long ago that hunters park in a parking lot, follow a trail way back, and then go left or right. Some head to the middle of the property, some to the edge of private on the far side, and some hunt closer to the parking lot, but very seldom do I see anyone deer hunt along the road between parking areas.
As such, big bucks survive by going where they seldom smell people. Many of my biggest public land bucks were shot a stones throw from the road. You still need bedding cover, but when the ingredients are there, this can be one of the hottest areas to concentrate on. You might feel a little ridiculous watching cars drive past, but when that giant walks out, you will be wondering why you never tried this before.