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Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:24 pm
by msmith
Does anyone have any suggestions for increasing deer hunting success when hunting in national forests? As you know, you cannot plant food plots.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:21 pm
by jv
All I can say is do your homework scout scout and scout some more. Get in there and look for trails rub and other sign. I would find a ditch or creek and find where they are cross good and hunt that area. Also it wouldn't hurt to ask others about areas of better huntin.

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Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:25 pm
by BigRic
find a good water source. every thing needs water.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:01 pm
by patinlouisiana
I have never hunted public lands but land is land. Get good topo and forestry service maps. Study them well. Many moons ago the thought was to get as far from your access point as you can without getting closer to another. Basically find the middle of nowhere on you map the look for a feature, water, funnel area, edges…. Look for anything that might present a logical travel pattern for the deer. In more recent times hunters and deer have wised up. I think deer (mature bucks) lay low closer to the main drags than you would think and the hunters walk right on by them on their way to hunt the deep woods. Some hunters I have read about hunt the middle of the day wait for the morning hunters that are returning to their trucks for lunch to drive the deer back to them. The main thing I feel is to put in the hours needed to discover the best possible area that you are capable of reaching. And always let someone know where that is! Leave a map at home or camp with a pin marking your hunting area.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:08 pm
by glenn
All are good suggestions. I would add that I always start scouting on the internet using areial photos, Bing, Google Earth etc. Look for water, creeks, ditches, funnels, bedding areas, hardwoods and try to put as many together as possible. Find several areas that look good and then go wear out some boot leather looking. A good creek crossing on the edge of a good deep water hole between a thick bedding area and some good hardwoods with little human traffic would be my preferance.

This is also a good time to figure out the places that have a lot of traffic. A great looking spot isn't so great when you're sharing it with a dozen other people. Be willing to do what you have to so you can get away from the crowd. You may have to go very deep, or sit right on the side of a main highway. Don't overlook the stuff everyone else goes by. Just remember, no matter how good a spot looks the deer will be where the people are not. Good luck.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:11 pm
by glenn
I was typing while Pat was posting. I could have saved the wear and tear on my fingers. :)

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:48 am
by gtk
:welcome:
Welcome msmith

Like the others have said.. Scout, Scout, Scout.. Use other hunters to your advantage, let them pressure the deer towards you... Hunt odd hours (11:00 - 3:00) when the deer are pressured the least.

While you can't plant food plots, you can take a couple bags of triple 13 (13-13-13) and fertilize a secluded patch of honeysuckle ...

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:10 am
by jv
I didn't vote in the poll because i hunt both....i do hunt privite land more but you will be surprised at how little some public land is used.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:06 pm
by msmith
Thank y'all for the good advice. I appreciate it.

Re: Hunting in National Forests

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:53 pm
by bigsteve
I also hunt both public and private but public land is very good hunting if you do your home work.
first find the primary food source and locate the bedding area.hunt between these areas close to bed in the am and close to food in the pm watch the wind and hunt . if you can hunt during the week when there is less pressure.plan your hunt's during the rut for the highest buck activity. i never miss thanks giving through dec 20th in north miss. i took 3- 8pts with my bow [2 ark and 1 miss ] this year on public land the best was a 130" give it a try you will be supprised how many deer live on public land.
some of the public places have horn restrictions and very limited gun hunts the deer herds are fantastic a lot of deer bucks and does.