If you are anything like myself, being part of the public land hunters is just about the only you know for hunting grounds. To say the least, being a public land hunter is a constant hustle. It is another frustrating variable to add to our very limited time as we juggle full time jobs with this full time obsession. I cannot help but find it a bit comical after years of dealing with it and essentially finding these 10 things to be commonplace for the public land hunters.
1. Everyone has been hunting your spot for ten years
It never ceases to amaze me that after months of scouting, planning, and hunting a location, we suddenly find ourselves met by another hunter who claims to have been hunting that location for over ten years. The particular enigma in these situations is that, not only have we not seen them this year despite a constant presence, we haven’t seen them in any of the years previous that we have hunted it. Their general claims to the location are unfortunately just as invalid as our own, because after all we are hunting public land.
2. Your treestand had become community property
We have all had that awkward moment when we arrive at our treestand and there is already a hunter in it (I am using the term hunter loosely). We all have had very different reactions to these encounters and can all agree to the level of frustration experienced.
3. You cannot find your treestand in the dark, and end up standing next to a tree
We all having been waiting for that perfect morning where the cold snap is a sure promise of good deer movement. We motivate ourselves to be ready that much earlier because this is the “day”. In the cold dark of morning as we attempt to be quiet in the crunchy leaves, we cannot find the stand we walked to a million times. Our flashlight fills the calm darkness with obvious human light, only to confirm your treestand has been stolen.
4. Trail camera purchases are based on a one for me, one for them theory
We often find ourselves buying trail cameras not because we wanted more, but rather we are replacing all the ones stolen from the year previous. This is something we are just used to as public land hunters, and our biggest frustrations come from the idea of never seeing the pictures that were on the camera. This leads us to the next one.
5. Posting trail camera photos of thieves are as common as posting them of big bucks
A lot of us can say that the excitement of catching a thief on your trail camera is sometimes more exhilarating than finding a big buck. Many online forums and social media outlets can sometimes resemble manhunts rather than big buck bragging boards.
6. Trucks pulled over on the side of the road make your stomach turn
Our spot has been unhunted by other guys for a few years now. One day while driving down the road to just check things out, there happens to be another truck. We assume the worse, our once “exclusive” spot has turned into sharing the playground.
7. Out of state plates ignite a certain level of fury
Hunters are territorial and nothing fires up public land hunters like out of state plates. We have all felt the level of dread, anger, irritation, with these invaders taking over our areas, bringing in out of state “tactics” that we have all developed as a preconceived notion of why we do not want them in our area.
8. The opening day army
Opening day of gun season could not come soon enough. We have found the perfect location and haven’t seen a single public land hunter scouting the area. We pull up to the spot extra early only excited to see no other trucks. As we wait in the dark we are sure that we have heard multiple deer moving around us. The light reveals a different story, multiple orange blobs visible in almost every direction.
9. Mature bucks often behave like a creature of the night from a Bram Stoker novel
Public land Whitetails are as clever as they come, from years of conditioning and surviving an onslaught of anywhere from amateur hunters to experienced woodsman. They have developed the survival habits of vampires, only becoming active in darkness and avoiding humans at all costs.
10. The never ending buck legends
We can’t help but find a certain level of humor in legendary public land bucks. The highlight of that humor is the level of inaccurate information surrounding it. The tall tales of all the public land hunters that saw him and the amazing ability for this deer to be over 15 years old after one decade of the “same” supposed legendary buck. Plus the never ending commitment of hunters over hunting the supposed den of this next world record Whitetail.