5 Keys To Hunting Public Land Bucks

If you’re like the majority of whitetail hunters out there then you probably share the timber with a number of other folks. However, all is not lost. You can still be successful on public-land bucks; mature ones too! What’s the secret? Read on….

Post-Season Scouting

This strategy holds two main advantages. First, you don’t have to worry about spooking deer because whatever disturbances you make will be forgotten long before the season starts. Second, you can scout to your heart’s content and still go undetected by other bowhunters in the area; many of which are at home taking a lackadaisical approach to the off-season.

Unlike misleading pre-season sign, I routinely find that post-season rubs and scrapes, bedding and feeding areas, transition routes, and security zones, will likely be used again the following year. Therefore, I build my fall hunting strategies around this reliable “game time” information.

Utilize Topographic Maps

A topo-map will tell you whether or not a certain location is worth a closer look; without spending an entire day walking the property to find out. This method saves time and energy and promotes a more thorough understanding of the surrounding terrain and how deer use it. Aside from the revealing practice of charting bedding and feeding areas, rubs and scrapes, and deer travel routes on my map I also like to record the whereabouts of other bowhunters in the area.

Go Where You Don’t Belong

Study your map carefully; as if you were the buck you’re trying to kill. Do your best to get inside his head. Now, you’ve got to move safely from Point A to Point B. Of course that means avoiding human contact at all cost. Just avoid the plotted “ambush spots” marked earlier on the topo map. Now, that may sound like an odd way of choosing a stand site, but when you consider what other bow hunters in your area are doing and how their actions influence deer movement, I promise your success rate can only go up.

Tagged Out On Tuesday

If you want to be more successful, on public or private hunting land, you’ve got to change your “when and where” habits. Not only is hunting on week days a smart tactic, so is hunting when others are at home; like when the weather is less than hospitable. If you can make it happen, opt to do most of your hunting in the middle of the week while the “weekend warriors” are busy working. Deer that react negatively to the predictable “Saturday/Sunday” mayhem may very well let their guard down during the middle of the week when things are much quieter.

Keep Your Mouth Shut

If you decide to work hard enough to find regular success on public-land (or anywhere for that matter), and wish to continue that success, it would behoove you to do one thing….keep your mouth shut. Don’t say a word about where you hunt or what you’ve seen from the stand. I guarantee after you put a nice buck or two on the ground, everybody will want to know where you’re hunting and what you’re doing to get so “lucky”.


They say the definition of insanity is performing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you’re normal routine isn’t getting the job done then give these 5 off-beat tactics a try.

Written by: Sportsmen Only
Date Published: August 18, 2020

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