Public land hunters

R

RidgeRunner94

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
157
Location
knoxville
I asked for a link to tva land a week or so ago and y'all were very helpful. Looked at some of the land, and to me it seems if you have a boat you could keep away from some of the hunters. Am I right in assuming so? I'm looking for a new challenge mostly because I don't like to drive to middle tn every weekend, and I've killed my fair share of pretty good deer on private farms, at least to me they were good deer to me. Anyways I feel like public land would be challenging but very gratifying if you did kill a deer. So any input and or tips of the trade are welcomed. I'm tagged out this year so just kinda day dreaming about next season which is why I'm posting this. Thanks
 
T

tahtah

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
224
Location
Mid-TN
I went from private farm land to public hardwoods 8 years ago. Wow, it's very different. I had to relearn how to scout and what to look for in deer sign.

Here's how I got started and what I would recommend. I checked out a couple of public land areas closest to me and picked one. Then I spent time learning it. I haven't set foot on all of it, it's big, but I've had boots on the ground over a lot of it. Another hunter I encountered during my first few years gave me this advice, pick an area and focus on it. That was excellent advice. I'd simply add to it, spend some familiarizing yourself with the whole area, use google maps, topo maps, and just get out in it. If you're like me, I want to be away from other hunters. I not only looked for spots other hunters would avoid, mostly due to distance of the walk, but I also observed the patterns of other hunters. Once I found an area that I liked, deer sign, fewer hunters, etc, I focused on it. It was 5 years before I killed a deer there. I didn't kill in year 6, killed again last year and I've tagged out this year. It's rewarding to know you've been successful on public land where it's tough hunting.

I'd like to add one more comment about other hunters on public land. That was my number one concern about hunting public land. However, all those that I have encountered have been friendly and courteous. Those with experience have been willing to share advice, without giving up their spots. On top of that, the biggest buck I've killed, a 140'sh deer, came out on the same path as another hunter, who had exited the woods about 45 minutes before the deer. We were both about a mile from where we'd park and I had no idea where he was or that he had gone in further than me. I never met or spoke to him. He politely smiled and waved as he walked out past me as quietly as he could. Since I'd planned to sit all day, I decided to sit it out. It was well worth it.

Good luck!
 
D

DRSJ35

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
1,732
i hunt public land and have for many years.I did have private land i hunted for about 6 years.Then i had to go back to public.It is challenging for sure.Just try to go where you find thick nasty stuff.don't be scared of it.And be very patient deer are there just have to find them.
 
catman529

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,431
Location
Franklin TN
A boat is very helpful on TVA mainly because how much of the land does not have road access. You won't get away from hunters just by having a boat, many other hunters also have boats. However being able to access the most land will help you find more spots that don't get hunted as much.


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TX300mag

TX300mag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
12,747
Location
Crosby, TX
In my opinion public land hunters are very courteous and friendly. Sharing the woods (and the deer) with other hunters is a way of life. In general they seem more laid back and enjoy hunting than the average hunter. Meanwhile there are guys who control thousands of area of managed land but their season's ruined when one of their neighbors shoots a six-pointer. :D


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F

fishboy1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2003
Messages
12,035
Location
Warren Co
Don't be shy about hunting close to the road. Cheatham WMA had a couple spots where the hunters were "going deep". About sunrise, deer would be slinking along 50 yds from the road avoiding those hunters who pushed "way back" to get away from the pressure.

We hunt from the boat a lot in Louisiana thinking we are getting "way back" away from other hunters. We still spend the 30 minutes before daylight shining off other hunters walking in to the point it looks like a disco. We are rethinking our strategy and trying to use all the "way back" hunter pressure to our advantage.
 
H

Hduke86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
3,374
Location
Soddy Daisy, yes it's a real place
catman529 said:
A boat is very helpful on TVA mainly because how much of the land does not have road access. You won't get away from hunters just by having a boat, many other hunters also have boats. However being able to access the most land will help you find more spots that don't get hunted as much.


THIS^^^

My plan of attack is to find multiple places that have the least amount of access by land, and a couple of spots that produce regularly are no bigger than 50-75 acres and I ALWAYS key in on neighborhoods that were developed but TVA has property between the neighborhoods and lake cause it’s usually it beat down with trails within 50-100 yards off the lake.
 
FTG-05

FTG-05

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
2,656
Location
TN
Besides National Forests (there are none around me) and TN WMA's (none of those either), how do you find other public lands?
 
Backstrapcrazy

Backstrapcrazy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
1,491
Location
Vonore, Tennessee
Boat keeps you away from most hunters, I have hunted some islands on Douglas lake; but did not have island to my self.
 
D

dbierman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
88
You just gotta be willing to do the work no one else is willing to do. You can't just jump out of your truck and walk 5 minutes to a ladder stand and kill a deer you been watching on camera and feeding all summer. There's work involved, but put in the work and the reward is satisfying.

My best/favorite spot is a place that's very difficult to get to. Takes about 30 min to walk to in the dark, thick brush and swampy with a climber and a day bag on my back. I have to use a Garmin GPS (60csx) in the dark to find it and I've made that walk a bunch of times and still get turned around or off track from time to time.

The payoff to going to a spot like that is there probably won't be anyone else going back there so it's all yours. I've yet to be bumped and I've been hunting there since 2011.

Killed a 13pt there last season, not a huge deer but my personal best, and that was very rewarding. I haven't been able to spend as much time in the woods this year due to work but I've had a couple chances to fill my tag, I've just decided not to shoot yet.

I love public land, there are several thousand acres around here, more than I could ever afford to lease. I don't have to maintain it, worry about trespassers or worry if I'm gonna loose it next season and have to scramble to find a new place and scout it, the best part is it's free.

Find the nasty stuff and make it yours, you'll be glad you did.
 

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Buzzard Breath

Buzzard Breath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
5,207
Location
Middle
tahtah":1dgqxn5e said:
I went from private farm land to public hardwoods 8 years ago. Wow, it's very different. I had to relearn how to scout and what to look for in deer sign.

Here's how I got started and what I would recommend. I checked out a couple of public land areas closest to me and picked one. Then I spent time learning it. I haven't set foot on all of it, it's big, but I've had boots on the ground over a lot of it. Another hunter I encountered during my first few years gave me this advice, pick an area and focus on it. That was excellent advice. I'd simply add to it, spend some familiarizing yourself with the whole area, use google maps, topo maps, and just get out in it. If you're like me, I want to be away from other hunters. I not only looked for spots other hunters would avoid, mostly due to distance of the walk, but I also observed the patterns of other hunters. Once I found an area that I liked, deer sign, fewer hunters, etc, I focused on it. It was 5 years before I killed a deer there. I didn't kill in year 6, killed again last year and I've tagged out this year. It's rewarding to know you've been successful on public land where it's tough hunting.

I'd like to add one more comment about other hunters on public land. That was my number one concern about hunting public land. However, all those that I have encountered have been friendly and courteous. Those with experience have been willing to share advice, without giving up their spots. On top of that, the biggest buck I've killed, a 140'sh deer, came out on the same path as another hunter, who had exited the woods about 45 minutes before the deer. We were both about a mile from where we'd park and I had no idea where he was or that he had gone in further than me. I never met or spoke to him. He politely smiled and waved as he walked out past me as quietly as he could. Since I'd planned to sit all day, I decided to sit it out. It was well worth it.

Good luck!
^^^ Real good information right here ^^^
 
Heath423

Heath423

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2017
Messages
737
Location
Soddy Daisy (just North of Chattanooga)
I like all the comments above. New to the site and recently decided to get back into hunting after a 14 year break. How rewarding it is to just be in the outdoors. I am also only hunting public land at this point. I think that finding access to some of the public land may be the greatest challange (as stated above).
 
JeepKuntry

JeepKuntry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
19,566
Location
Clinton, TN
I hunt both public and private. Most of the public land is within 30 minutes of my home. I walk quite a ways in. Looking to change it up and am also in the market for a jon boat. Think I've found one, but who knows. It may be sold and the website not updated yet. My tactics somewhat change as the season progresses. I've had spots close during bow season when I mainly have spots to myself. Now as more people put pressure to them, I go towards the thickets.
 
Pinwheeled

Pinwheeled

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
575
Location
Nashville, TN
Killing deer on public ground doesn’t always involve hiking in miles. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times it does but def not required. Some of my best public spots in TN and IL were within eyeshot of roads, parking areas, etc. You just need to find stuff most guys overlook.

I killed this deer on IL public land this weekend. It’s a long ways back but not terrible. It just doesn’t get hunted much because it is on the edge of the county and if you were looking at the plat map, it looks landlocked and inaccessible. I knew better and had the place to myself both days I was up there. Killed him on my second morning.

5ce9db531eff8b4a2a3e7913503619d3.jpg



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