Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

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TrucklessYooper
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Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby TrucklessYooper » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:45 am

I’m a Michigan hunter currently hunting the west side of of lower Michigan. I only hunt public land and i carry in and take out my stands every sit. I live in an area with limited amounts of public land and high hunter density. Deer density is high as well but the amount of doe tags is great too. Since moving here, I have scouted many of the public areas to hunt. What I have found troubles me. Most of the areas I can hunt are around 40 -80 acres in size. When I scout, I find good deer sign. What I also find is a lot of hunter sign. What I mean by hunter sign is tree stands and ground blinds. Just last weekend I went into a new area to scout postseason. It’s a wet,thick area butting up to a marsh and large river. Hard to access on foot. I found 16 hang on tree stands in less than 40 acres. I could tell one person owned 6 stands because they were identical to each other with bright eyes trails leading to the river. So my ethical question is...in a small public land tract, if a fella hangs 6-10 stands for varying wind conditions, does this automatically prevent a guy guy like me from setting up anywhere near his other unused stands? Does he get “claim” to this area? What are the hunter ethics such a dilemma? If the multiple stand fella has” claim” to the area, what’s preventing me from putting up a bunch of “decoy” stands to “hold” and area for me? What do you guys think?


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Jonny
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Jonny » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:57 am

Hunter ethics are about as consistent as weather reports. What you might think is ethical, another hunter might not. My experience with guys who have stands out like that, is that they expect it to be their spot when they are there.

Not saying don’t hunt it, but if you do, I hope you have a few back up plans and thick skin. Me personally, I would travel farther and look for nastier areas to hunt since I am not a people person in the woods.

Or try to find spots that don’t have stands. There are overlooked spots somewhere.

If it’s illegal to have the stands out now, I’d call a warden and offer to meet him out there to show him the stands.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby EdC » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:19 am

I suspect if you find that much activity they already mucked the area
why spend valuable time the deer must have the hunters patterned already

I'm pretty sure I saw something about Dan mentioning
he considers hunting about 1 out of 10 properties he scouts

ethics mean nothing in that environment so I go where they don't
works like a charm for finding deer
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Rome » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:49 am

While this is a different scenario, it is something I questioned myself on regarding ethics of public land hunting. On my public hunts this year, I targeted areas to hunt where there were no trees close enough to effectively hunt the beds, as well as stalked some beds. That was my Beast mixed with Whitetail Adrenaline style of hunting. It was a blast, most fun I had on public. Lots of failures, no success in tagging a deer, but HUGE success in learning. I can't wait for 2018.

With this style, I go in super early, and I so super slow/quiet. So, there was never a vehicle in the parking lot when I headed in. A few times, there was one or more vehicles there when I walked out. One time, I was at 32 yards from a bedded buck, could just see his rack, figured that when he stood up, I'd have a clean shot of the body. The wind swirled and he got nervous, I could tell he was going to bolt pretty quick, so I drew my bow figuring I'd get one chance as he stands up to drill him before he took off. When he stood, he turned away from me, so I really had no shot at all, then bounded off a bit, then could watch the cattails move and glimpses of his rack as he headed towards a sea of cattails. It was such a rush. Here was the issue...as I was heading out at close, a guy was packing up his stand just onto the mainland as I reached it. The sound of the cattails must've covered the sound of him taking the stand down, otherwise I would've done a wide circle around him (I avoid people on public). He flicked his light on me, and said, "What the he!! are you doing out there? I've been scouting that buck for 5 weeks, and you go stomp on his bed!!!" I just walked away. But, it did make me question if what I was doing was ethical. After a lot of thinking, I realized that it was public land, what I was doing isn't exactly common, but it's also something that's been done for years. I felt it was ethical after putting a ton of thought into it.

What do you guys think? I mean, I know this could totally ruin a Beasts hunt sometime, and trust me, I have often pondered it. It's a super aggressive tactic, but something I think can be successful.
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strutnrut716
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby strutnrut716 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:53 am

I agree with the above responses. I would look for another location. Keep looking Yooper ! All it takes is one other spot that you get excited about to change your attitude. One HUGE thing I learned after joining the BEAST is the phrase "Hunt the Hunters".......find where the hunters are and go someplace else... you will be happy you did. I think at this spot you have a good indication that there are one, OR MORE, other hunters here.....
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby whitetailassasin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:55 am

I hunt Michigan public land as well and this is how I hunt areas with high hunter pressure. Is there a mature buck worth going after in said area? If there is then I scout the hunters stands and access points and look for the overlooked area, or I simply locate the buck. Hunt accordingly. If there isn't a mature buck I know of being there, I scout another piece of public that has less pressure or one that's holding a buck worth my tag.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Horizontal Hunter » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:56 am

Everyone pays the same pay to play fee. Public land is first come first serve. I always have a backup plan(s) and give others as wide a berth as I can. I wish others would do the same and most do. There are always some Richard Craniums out there.

One of the things I do is hang a branch on the steps of a stand to see if it is being used. Patterning other hunters is a part of hunting public land.

Bob
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby TrucklessYooper » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:13 am

I like the idea of putting a branch on the steps. That’s a great idea. As for mucking up an area, the deer densities are so high here that human scent from walking into an area only spoils the mature deer. In these areas, I’m trying to fill doe tags and does here are everywhere. My concern was the placement of multiple stands to “ claim” an area and if it’s ethical. Thank you fellas for the responses. The pay to play price was a good point and makes me feel better about trying to hunt the limited amount of public land that I have around me.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Jonny » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:25 am

TrucklessYooper wrote:I like the idea of putting a branch on the steps. That’s a great idea. As for mucking up an area, the deer densities are so high here that human scent from walking into an area only spoils the mature deer. In these areas, I’m trying to fill doe tags and does here are everywhere. My concern was the placement of multiple stands to “ claim” an area and if it’s ethical. Thank you fellas for the responses. The pay to play price was a good point and makes me feel better about trying to hunt the limited amount of public land that I have around me.


I’d gps mark every stand and put it on google earth, along with the access points. Try to find a pocket that isn’t hunted, or look to the predominant DOWNWIND side of the stands just out of sight. Smart deer scent check the stands. They know what’s up
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby hunter_mike » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:44 am

I am going to go against the grain a bit here. I hunt a couple small parcels and see some of the same things you have mentioned. I have found some good consistent buck bedding areas that are only 100-200 yards from where there is all kinds of hunter sign. I think these guys see the obvious buck sign in the area and set up shop and just hunt the crap out of the spot. But they are not in the game as far as I am concerned. They are too far from bedding to kill anything and they are hunting in an area that is in between where I can access and where I can kill a buck.

I am not going to NOT hunt the area just because they are nearby and if I have to walk right through their setup to get to a kill spot I will. Its a bummer and I am sure they could get angry about it, rightfully so. Now ideally I like to find a way to go around these guys, one so I don't anger anyone and two so they don't see me hunting somewhere and follow me. Once again, I don't like walking through someones setup but I have done it and I will do it again in a scenario where I already have a plan that involves walking through right where they are set up. It would be different if I was just scouting along with no destination in mind, then I would try to avoid their setup. But when I have all the proper scouting in place, I am not going to let a guy in a tree stand sitting right in the middle of my access route stop my hunt.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby wolverinebuckman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:52 am

Rome wrote:While this is a different scenario, it is something I questioned myself on regarding ethics of public land hunting. On my public hunts this year, I targeted areas to hunt where there were no trees close enough to effectively hunt the beds, as well as stalked some beds. That was my Beast mixed with Whitetail Adrenaline style of hunting. It was a blast, most fun I had on public. Lots of failures, no success in tagging a deer, but HUGE success in learning. I can't wait for 2018.

With this style, I go in super early, and I so super slow/quiet. So, there was never a vehicle in the parking lot when I headed in. A few times, there was one or more vehicles there when I walked out. One time, I was at 32 yards from a bedded buck, could just see his rack, figured that when he stood up, I'd have a clean shot of the body. The wind swirled and he got nervous, I could tell he was going to bolt pretty quick, so I drew my bow figuring I'd get one chance as he stands up to drill him before he took off. When he stood, he turned away from me, so I really had no shot at all, then bounded off a bit, then could watch the cattails move and glimpses of his rack as he headed towards a sea of cattails. It was such a rush. Here was the issue...as I was heading out at close, a guy was packing up his stand just onto the mainland as I reached it. The sound of the cattails must've covered the sound of him taking the stand down, otherwise I would've done a wide circle around him (I avoid people on public). He flicked his light on me, and said, "What the he!! are you doing out there? I've been scouting that buck for 5 weeks, and you go stomp on his bed!!!" I just walked away. But, it did make me question if what I was doing was ethical. After a lot of thinking, I realized that it was public land, what I was doing isn't exactly common, but it's also something that's been done for years. I felt it was ethical after putting a ton of thought into it.

What do you guys think? I mean, I know this could totally ruin a Beasts hunt sometime, and trust me, I have often pondered it. It's a super aggressive tactic, but something I think can be successful.


I hunt a similar style. I am on the move quite a bit, and I do see other stands. There is only so deep you can go on this particular piece of se Michigan swamp, and I haven't found an area where someone else hasn't found yet.
If I see a hunter, I'll back out and go around. But just because someone has a stand stuck up somewhere isn't going to keep me out of the area if there is good sign...I'm hunting deer.
Dnr allows stands up on a certain day and down by a certain day. If say stands can be hung 9/1, and ten guys hang stands all over that piece, should all the hang and hunt guys just stay out for the season? Ground hunters too?
On another tip, you are very right in that your hunting style is old school. Stalking and still hunting far outdate hanging a stand on a tree and waiting. Not hating on stand hunting, I spend some time in them too, but I believe natives were masters of finding sign, tracking, stalking, and killing their game.
Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby wolverinebuckman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:02 am

whitetailassasin wrote:I hunt Michigan public land as well and this is how I hunt areas with high hunter pressure. Is there a mature buck worth going after in said area? If there is then I scout the hunters stands and access points and look for the overlooked area, or I simply locate the buck. Hunt accordingly. If there isn't a mature buck I know of being there, I scout another piece of public that has less pressure or one that's holding a buck worth my tag.


When I listened to your beast podcast, you mentioned climbing down those cat tail trails and taking a deer in his bed when he stood. That is phenomenal!
Question, if you had to pass a stand 40 yards back on the last tree before the run, or you knew you could slide in another run and kill that "tag worthy" buck in his bed, knowing that hunter could be in his stand, do you still go in to kill that buck, or hunt another buck?
Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Hawthorne » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:23 am

There are stands all over public in southern mi. Go in early and come out late. I do this and hardly ever see hunters even though there’s pressure all around. Boots on the ground scouting to find the little holes. They’re arent many out there but they are there with tons of scouting. One huge piece I hunt I might have 2-3 spots I could possibly kill a 2.5 or older every year. Its several thousand acres big.
Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me.

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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby Boogieman1 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:29 am

Do the rules allow for unlimited amount of stands to be left out permanently? If so not much u can do. If not I would confront the guy and ask wtf is his problem. Then I would shoot a deer elsewhere and spend the rest of the season following the guy around and sit in the tree next to him smoking cigars. In a high % of cases u will notice the hunter will relocate to greener pastures. Some may see this as I'm no better and u are welcomed to your opinion but if some knuckle head tried to claim an entire public ground I'm not gonna just bend over and take it. I would say call the dnr so they could remove his stands, but I tried that last week and they didn't seem to care.
There's more fun in hunting with the handicap of the bow than there is in hunting with the sureness of pulling the trigger.
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Re: Ethics of public land in high Hunter density areas

Postby wolverinebuckman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:41 am

Boogieman1 wrote: Then I would shoot a deer elsewhere and spend the rest of the season following the guy around and sit in the tree next to him smoking cigars.

:laughing-rolling:
Hey, how's it going. See anything today? Me either, don't know why.
Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.

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