WHITETAIL DEER HUNTING: Avoiding Crowds on Public Lands

BWCA DeerBy now you’ve probably noticed a common thread to avoiding public land crowds – walk the extra mile, identify over-looked lands and seek lands that seem inaccessible. All of these tips also hold true for hunting whitetails, but there’s plenty more to add to it…

Crossing a natural barrier is one tip suggested in this post from Cabela’s. In general, if there’s a river, cross it and if there’s a briar patch, go through it. If you want to avoid hunters consider what most other hunters do, then do the opposite. Most hunters aren’t willing to pack a pair of waters to cross a river or crawl through thick brush and the deer that have been around for a few years seem to know this.

In a related post from Bass Pro Shops, the author suggests hunting public islands only accessible by boat. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of this strategy to find large numbers of virtually un-hunted deer. Few are willing to load up a boat to access deer hunting grounds and so with a little extra effort you can escape competition. Minnesota BHA members have had similar success accessing lands with little hunting pressure by canoe – lands within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (see picture above).

Another strategy worth considering (also mentioned in the waterfowl hunting post) is to hunt small parcels of public land. When pressured, deer will often seek refuge in less-hunted parcels, sometimes as small as a few acres.   Hunters are most often attracted to large tracts, so go where the hunters are not and you just may find deer.

No matter what you’re hunting, crowding tends to occur in areas with easy access. If you want to be successful, don’t try to take the easy way out. After all, who ever said that hunting was supposed to be easy?

Have these techniques ever worked for you? Or do you have other tips not listed? Please share.

About Caitlin Thompson