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  #1  
Old 09-19-2017, 07:54 AM
erhunter erhunter is offline
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Default Public land question

Hey all, couple questions for you veteran public land hunters. When youre out in large tracts of open pine and hardwood hills, how do you pattern the deer? Do you start with topo maps and pick a handful of locations based on saddles, points, draws, shelves etc? Do you go to satellite first and find thin pines, could be beds then look for trails in and out?
I guess my questions center around not having many agg fields or edges to act as choke points. You've just got hundreds of acres of pine ridges and hardwood bottoms...there's potentially bedding and food in all 360 degrees around you ...so how do you know what way the deer may come as far as picking a favorable stand location relative to the wind?
Sorry long winded, just looking for people's approach to large tracts of public land timber, help is appreciated
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:24 AM
erhunter erhunter is offline
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I guess the old saying 90% of deer use 10% of the land is daunting on public land. Lots of boot leather getting burned!
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:02 AM
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I Hunt the redlands a good bit and I stay as far from the roads as I can most if the Hunter won't walk over 100 yards
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:08 AM
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Google Earth to check for vegetative boarders, funnels, pine thickets, hardwood areas.
Topo maps to check for terrain features.
Locate what looks like the best combination to me. Blind hunt the morning in the best area at least 200 yards from the road.
Then get down around lunch and scout the areas that looked the best on the maps. Move stand and hunt the evening and next day based on the scouting.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:17 AM
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I've had good luck seeing deer in funnels and borders. That's always my go to. I always sit high on ridges and overlook bottoms. There is a place I hunt that is a hardwood ridge that overlooks a good bottom and the other ridge straight across from me is pines. I've seen many deer come out of the pines and into the hardwood bottoms. Plus there's a well worn trail that leads from the pines down the ridge and then turns at the bottom and makes it's way back up the ridge I sit on.

I am also lucky to hunt NF lands that butt up against private lands that are pastures and generally have water running through it or a pond on it.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DYI hunting View Post
Google Earth to check for vegetative boarders, funnels, pine thickets, hardwood areas.
Topo maps to check for terrain features.
Locate what looks like the best combination to me. Blind hunt the morning in the best area at least 200 yards from the road.
Then get down around lunch and scout the areas that looked the best on the maps. Move stand and hunt the evening and next day based on the scouting.
I like it, no easy way on public land.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:31 AM
oldfella1962 oldfella1962 is offline
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personally I would go to Bing maps. Choose "arial" and "birds eye" views from the pull-down menu on the right. Generally one view will be taken in the summer, one view taken in winter. My point being with the winter views it's easy to spot the hardwood creek bottoms and ridges (greyish color) because they stand out from the pines (greenish). Birds eye view is taken at an angle, so you can see to some extent what types of hardwoods are there too. Then I would look at free topo maps (google up some free sites, there are several) to confirm what you are seeing in the satellite views. Granted free topo map views are generally VERY old! They won't reflect newer buildings/roads and some things they do show (like small creeks & ponds) may be long gone by now. But generally ridges, saddles, valleys, etc. never change much over time.

Then once you decide on what looks interesting get some boots on the ground to do some recon. I would sketch out a map prior based on the terrain features that have the highest priority and you can make notes as you go as you check these out, plus any other unexpected things you find.

Personally I love scouting. There's nothing like studying the terrain and saying "deer should be here, here and here" just from pictures & maps and having the deer actually show up as predicted.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:31 AM
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Also, if you dont have the HuntStand app, I would suggest it. You can see boundaries, it has topo, satellite, and terrain mapping...also you can pan to see inclines. I use it tremendously when hunting NF land.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:52 AM
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Also try like my uncle used to say and "hunt the hunters". In other words think about where other hunters might/will be and think about how that might move deer. Look for easy to get to areas or places with convenient access points, i.e. logging roads or firebreaks. Also I've found that the bigger the parking area the more folks will hunt an area. A good sized turn around at the end of a gravel road will often attract a lot of hunters.

I don't particularly like hunting that way but it can be effective on public lands, especially on opening days/weekends.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:54 AM
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If y'all are back a good ways off the road and on evening hunt, are you using your GPS to find your way back out to the roads? Or are you leaving trail markers as you go.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:06 AM
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I rarely use markers. I don't want folks knowing where I have been.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erhunter View Post
If y'all are back a good ways off the road and on evening hunt, are you using your GPS to find your way back out to the roads? Or are you leaving trail markers as you go.
Most of the places I go, I always use the GPS and night Eyes. Things start looking a little different when the sun goes down, even in places I know like the back of my hand lol.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:17 AM
erhunter erhunter is offline
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You ain't kiddin! Just the other day I got lost in the dark on property I know very well, ended up doing circles and had no idea til the sun came up and I was almost where I started
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:46 AM
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walking and hunting, man. walk the ridges. walk the creeks or draws. walk the roads and any fences. look for little things that are out of place. follow any obvious trail you find.
my experience, it takes years to really get to know the woods and how the deer use them. pick a spot and stay at it. when you learn it you can start moving out and enlarging your territory so to speak.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:58 AM
ucfireman ucfireman is offline
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I ride the roads and when I find an area I like get out and walk. I find sign and hunt. Its not rocket science. I guess in the mtns you could walk miles in and be away from people but the ones I hunt, if you walk a mile you end up a couple 100 yrds from a road on the other side. I hunt from the ground so if I don't see/like an area I move on till I find a better place.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:01 PM
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Look for edge habitat, find trails going in and out of the thick areas. Look for food sources near cover. When you find the deer sign , hunt there, if you don't see deer after a few times, find a different spot, when you find the right spot, you will see deer. Don't hunt somewhere just because it looks purdy.. find funnels where steep or rough terrain pushes deer to go around it, like through saddles or easy creek closings. Remember, deer are a lot like us, they go where it's easiest to get from point a to point b.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erhunter View Post
If y'all are back a good ways off the road and on evening hunt, are you using your GPS to find your way back out to the roads? Or are you leaving trail markers as you go.
I carry a compass and figure a back azimuth to the road when I am walking to my stand location. I love a GPS but when the batteries die or you don't get good coverage, it's easy to get turned around in the dark.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:33 PM
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Boot leather and sign. In a new place, I'll usually start with edges and ridge saddles and good food sources, mainly white oaks, or persimmons or grapes in early season.

Always take other hunters into consideration, too. Stay as far away from fields, food plots, and such as you can get. Find a good feeding spot with fresh tracks and droppings somewhere away from obvious parking areas, or a saddle with a good trail between feeding areas and bedding thickets.

After you hunt an area a while, you will get the feel of how deer use it.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The mtn man View Post
Look for edge habitat, find trails going in and out of the thick areas. Look for food sources near cover. When you find the deer sign , hunt there, if you don't see deer after a few times, find a different spot, when you find the right spot, you will see deer. Don't hunt somewhere just because it looks purdy.. find funnels where steep or rough terrain pushes deer to go around it, like through saddles or easy creek closings. Remember, deer are a lot like us, they go where it's easiest to get from point a to point b.
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Originally Posted by NCHillbilly View Post
Boot leather and sign. In a new place, I'll usually start with edges and ridge saddles and good food sources, mainly white oaks, or persimmons or grapes in early season.

Always take other hunters into consideration, too. Stay as far away from fields, food plots, and such as you can get. Find a good feeding spot with fresh tracks and droppings somewhere away from obvious parking areas, or a saddle with a good trail between feeding areas and bedding thickets.

After you hunt an area a while, you will get the feel of how deer use it.
Two great pieces of advice ^^^^^^

As NC Hillbilly has said, find a good trail between bedding and food/water, especially if it has natural edges caused by differing types trees, fields, or sometimes even an old logging road. Luckily where I hunt, there arent too many people who venture into those areas. I have a place that I hunt that is literally 150 yards from a service road and I have never had anyone come in on me, and honestly haven't had much of any traffic along that roadway. It borders a field that has a nice pond on it, and I've talked to the landowners and let them know that I'd be hunting the NF about 100 yards from their property and asked if I ever had a deer that I shot to enter their property, if I could retrieve it...they had no issues. It has been a good spot for me in the past. Only problem I have now days is getting enough time to be in the woods.

My best tip is to walk, find well used trails and see where they go to/come from. Match it to satellite imagery to see the big picture of the area and the exact why the trail is there.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:04 PM
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Fair warning, what ya see on topo and aerials make sure ya check out firsthand. I have found some good areas on spur of the moment, night before a hunt. Roll up there before daylight to find it so thick ya cannot walk into it. Make sure there is not aroad on backside of where you want to hunt as well.
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  #21  
Old 09-19-2017, 01:05 PM
erhunter erhunter is offline
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Default Appreciate all the help! Some great tips

Appreciate all the help! Some great tips
Can't wait to get back out there
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  #22  
Old 09-19-2017, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erhunter View Post
Hey all, couple questions for you veteran public land hunters. When youre out in large tracts of open pine and hardwood hills, how do you pattern the deer? Do you start with topo maps and pick a handful of locations based on saddles, points, draws, shelves etc? Do you go to satellite first and find thin pines, could be beds then look for trails in and out?
I guess my questions center around not having many agg fields or edges to act as choke points. You've just got hundreds of acres of pine ridges and hardwood bottoms...there's potentially bedding and food in all 360 degrees around you ...so how do you know what way the deer may come as far as picking a favorable stand location relative to the wind?
Sorry long winded, just looking for people's approach to large tracts of public land timber, help is appreciated
I start with sat. photos and county road maps or platt books. Looking for agriculture near by.

Next I'll drive the circumference of land with potential confirming crop lands near by and private ground, making notes of corn or beans and if there are broken up postage stamp land owners circling the potential ground.

If something still looks good, I'll go a little out of my way every time I'm near just to look and see what goes on there. Looking for worn paths where they cross roads.

Next I'll go to topos and a satellite photos again looking to see if it's over run with ATV trails, trash or drive through campers and monster trucks and jeeps. I'll look for ravines, streams and water crossings. Deer like to cross those places in exactly the same place over and over and over. If there is going to be any place with a rutted deer trail is will be on a muddy or steep bank.

If I'm still enthused here, I'll start at one of those muddy rutted tracks and follow those trails to find the food sources and safe zone.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:28 PM
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ONE thing I've found hunting the chattahoocee NF is that you can walk further than Moses but there's a road near by that someone also walked in on. This is just me and I've hunted around fannin, union and Lumpkin county. There's been a few times where I was so remote I thought for sure no one would be back there. Some idiot comes walking through right after daylight said he was walking around looking for deer(while I'm in s climber). He had no idea said he was just walking.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:25 PM
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Maybe I don't know how to read topo maps or satellite maps but. I cannot see game trails on the maps I look at. As well I cannot see hunters trucks from the satellite maps, do they update them daily?
I understand you can see elevation changes, some creeks etc but I don't see how you can tell bedding/ feeding areas. I can see how you can guess but walking in an checking it out is the only way I can tell if those hardwoods on the map are oaks or even if they have deer feeding. I don't know how many times I have looked at an oak grove and saw no sign at all.
On a property I have never been on I just walk and look.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucfireman View Post
Maybe I don't know how to read topo maps or satellite maps but. I cannot see game trails on the maps I look at. As well I cannot see hunters trucks from the satellite maps, do they update them daily?
I understand you can see elevation changes, some creeks etc but I don't see how you can tell bedding/ feeding areas. I can see how you can guess but walking in an checking it out is the only way I can tell if those hardwoods on the map are oaks or even if they have deer feeding. I don't know how many times I have looked at an oak grove and saw no sign at all.
On a property I have never been on I just walk and look.
You can see ATV trails from aerial photos on most mapping sites. You can see water sources from topo maps and sat. photos. If there is no water and you don't see a track going in or out, there isn't much alive on there.

But hey, walk it over, may be it's just hiding.
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