North America remains the top residential real estate to whitetail deer. There are more of this species of deer than most people could ever imagine. It is true that the deer population has since dropped in recent years compared to the pre-1990s era, but it is unrealistic to think that all types of habitats could house a record-number of deer for long. There is also considerably less competition for the deer species in several parts of the United States. The population of hunters in the country has also declined with hardly any of the later generations to fill the gaps.
The hunters out there reading this are probably smiling at the thought of there being more deer than shooters to handle, but you must also realize that good, wooded areas where deer frequent are shrinking in size and number. The building of malls, suburban residences, industrial parks, and roads force its way across the landscape. Introducing new residential areas into former deer territory increases the land value, inviting further infrastructure development projects. As a result, the deer and other game species have to find new homes and usually set up camp in public land spaces.
Most hunters out there don’t have the luxury of owning a million-dollar plot of land to serve as home to game animals. Instead, they’re left out in the freezing cold, left to find their own paths into public pieces of land across the country. This might sound like an adventure, but it poses its own challenges. One of them being all of the good spots are already taken. If you’re having trouble looking for good public land to hunt on, then perhaps these following tips can help you during your next hunting trip.
Check out roadside hotspots
If you were a deer, where would you be? The most popular answer is hidden somewhere in the woods and out of sight. Hunters who attempt to think like deer will venture into wooded areas and come out empty handed and disappointed. The problem is that 90% of deer live in the woods and almost 100% of the hunters visit those woods. There’s not enough deer to go around, so the next thing to do is think where the 10% of the rest of the deer go?
Big bucks don’t grow up big and strong by following the herd and getting shot by two-legged monkey-men with guns. If you’re having trouble finding the 90% of the deer population in your area, then check out the more untraditional spots where deer are likely to pass through. A great place to begin your hunt is checking out roadside areas. Deer need to crossroads in order to find sustenance and safety. You just need bedding cover and you’re ready to go.
Look for oxbow lakes and rivers
An oxbow is a bend in a river, creek, or lake that forms a bowl-shaped loop, virtually turning the land within into a mini peninsula. In oxbow lakes and rivers, the wind blows in from dry land, and deer face the water source when drinking and as a way to make a quick escape. However, waiting in oxbow bends only works if there are not any annoying canoes or kayakers. You can most likely find a good place for cover around the river edges. Wait for deer to pass by, take a sip of water, or just wander aimlessly around the area.
Search for areas isolated by water
For some reason, hunters have a natural fear of water. Perhaps it is because they do not want their clothes and boots to become waterlogged, slowing down their movement and making squishy sounds as they walk. However, water is deer’s dearest friend. Bucks thrive in wetlands, and it is extremely easy to find a hill or elevated piece of land around water sources. Make sure your rifle is next to you, since you will be needing it soon to shoot a thirsty deer.
Travel to swamp and marsh islands
Islands in marshes and swamps can be an incredible place to hunt for deer, especially if they are in remote, hard-to-access areas surrounded by shallow pools of water. Islands that can support large oak trees can be a great spot for early-season hunting due to the limited quantities of the trees in wetlands. These trees provide acorns which feed the deer, and fewer trees make the site more desirable for small herds.
Around these swamps and marshes, hunters can become easily concealed among the cattails and dogwood found in shallow waters. Basically, there are more places to hide in wet areas than there are on dry land.
Choose the best day(s) and time
If hunting season has begun, then most likely hunters will pack up and take a trip into the woods on Friday evening or the early hours on a Saturday. Basically, the weekend is the ideal time for people to begin hunting because of the two-day break they get from work, school, or whatever. If you have the time, try and plan a hunting trip during the week. On weekdays, public lands are more deserted than they are on the weekends.
However, hunting season is also a call for people to forget their work- and school-related fatigue and head out into the woods. This poses a problem since vehicles produce a lot of noise, and the noise can drive herds of deer away from optimal hunting spots. The best times to go out hunting is in the early hours of the morning – right before the sun rises – and late at night (if allowed, depending on the state).
There are just a few tips that hunters can take into consideration the next time the hunting season bells chime. Depending on where you live in the United States, you might not find the same exact terrain or locations mentioned in this article. The most important thing to take away from this article is that you should visit inland bodies of water. Deer, like every other creature on Earth, need to drink at some point. If you play it right, the deer will walk right into your waiting arms.