New public land hunter anxiety...

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Hookslinger
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New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Hookslinger » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:52 pm

Was hoping to get some feedback/tips from you guys and gals on this subject. So I'm pretty much new to hunting public land, as well as Beast style hunting. I'm scouting quite a bit, and its been tough but I have found some good sign. I guess I'm just a little apprehensive/nervous about diving into the world of public land. I hunt in southern MI, so pressure is high. A few things that make me nervous are being in the woods with strangers, leaving my nice vehicle in the lots, dealing with shady individuals, private land owners not allowing me to retrieve a deer that crosses property lines, ect.

To be honest its mostly dealing with other guys, not knowing who you might run into in the woods or back at the parking lot (especially if your dragging a deer out at midnight), and someone messing with my vehicle. Now I would love to give all hunters the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are good people, BUT thats not the world we live in. I know there are some rough necks around that wouldn't think much about messing with a vehicle or worse. I know this for a fact because I grew up around guys like this.

So needless to say, I do have a little bit of anxiety about starting this journey. I'm sure this has to be pretty common for new guys like me to worry about this stuff. Any words of wisdom that might help ease my mind on this? I want to enjoy the adventure here. I don't want to have a bunch of doubts going in. I'm sure I'm just being paranoid, but if anyone has any input feel free to chime in. Thanks.


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Hawthorne
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Hawthorne » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:02 pm

I also hunt public in southern Michigan for years now and have had none of the problems you mention. In fact everyone I’ve talked to in parking areas or the woods have been friendly. I have seen some shady individuals tho hanging around out there. Mostly in the summer time. Good to keep your guard up. I’ve had one dispute with another hunter in 30 years of hunting and that was on private land and it started with him leaving a note on my truck. Even that turned out to not be that bad. It just ruined one hunting area and I moved on
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:19 pm

I avoided public land for years, it was a bit intimidating. But I sure was getting tired of sitting on that same little 40 acres of my buddy's year after year. After some encouragement from a friend, I finally decided to give public a shot... and I loved it! So much space and freedom.
I ran into some guys in the parking lots, or walking down trails. Everyone was cool, friendly. We sometimes chat a bit. I've yet to run into any bad characters, but I do agree... they are out there. So it never hurts to keep a "friend" in your pocket to back you up if need be. You'll be fine, I'm sure.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Hookslinger » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:33 pm

Hawthorne wrote:I also hunt public in southern Michigan for years now and have had none of the problems you mention. In fact everyone I’ve talked to in parking areas or the woods have been friendly. I have seen some shady individuals tho hanging around out there. Mostly in the summer time. Good to keep your guard up. I’ve had one dispute with another hunter in 30 years of hunting and that was on private land and it started with him leaving a note on my truck. Even that turned out to not be that bad. It just ruined one hunting area and I moved on


Cool, thats what I figured. I too had a bad experience on a chunk of private that I hunted for a season. But thanks for the input. It makes it even better that you hunt in the same area of the state. I know that most people out there on the public are just normal dudes, but all the shot up signs and empty liquor bottles thrown around can paint a different picture. :think:

wolverinebuckman wrote:I avoided public land for years, it was a bit intimidating. But I sure was getting tired of sitting on that same little 40 acres of my buddy's year after year. After some encouragement from a friend, I finally decided to give public a shot... and I loved it! So much space and freedom.
I ran into some guys in the parking lots, or walking down trails. Everyone was cool, friendly. We sometimes chat a bit. I've yet to run into any bad characters, but I do agree... they are out there. So it never hurts to keep a "friend" in your pocket to back you up if need be. You'll be fine, I'm sure.


I hear you, hunting the same old property every time gets stale. I'm not 100% sure but I think it might be illegal in MI to carry a concealed handgun while bowhunting, could be wrong on that though. Trust me it crossed my mind, but then again it just seems like overkill/unnecessary and just one more peice of gear to carry in.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby mipubbucks24 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm

I hunt public land in southern Michigan. Have not had a bad experience yet with another hunter. Bow can be real hit or miss with seeing people. It seems that certain parking lots get the most of the pressure so if you are mobile and willing to move around you should have no problem. As far as losing deer to property lines, that is an issue on private in most of southern Michigan. My advice would be:
1. Don’t hunt first couple days of Gun (pumpkin patch)!!!!
2. Avoid areas where everyone is parking. (Most likely the deer have been pushed out of there anyways)
3. Always remember that it’s not your public it’s everyone’s and treat other hunters the way you would like to be treated.
4. Don’t throw away your private spots, it can be hard to find a mature buck on some of the public, for many reasons.
5. If you can avoid weekends, hunt week days. I hunt mostly Sunday and Monday, I run into guys the first week, and then when the rut starts kicking in. Friday and Saturday seems to be the busiest days.
6. Don’t be worried, treat every hunt like an adventure.

I would now rather hunt public then private pretty much any day during bow season. Gun season is another story but that depends on the area also.
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wolverinebuckman
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:51 pm

Hookslinger wrote:
wolverinebuckman wrote:I avoided public land for years, it was a bit intimidating. But I sure was getting tired of sitting on that same little 40 acres of my buddy's year after year. After some encouragement from a friend, I finally decided to give public a shot... and I loved it! So much space and freedom.
I ran into some guys in the parking lots, or walking down trails. Everyone was cool, friendly. We sometimes chat a bit. I've yet to run into any bad characters, but I do agree... they are out there. So it never hurts to keep a "friend" in your pocket to back you up if need be. You'll be fine, I'm sure.


I hear you, hunting the same old property every time gets stale. I'm not 100% sure but I think it might be illegal in MI to carry a concealed handgun while bowhunting, could be wrong on that though. Trust me it crossed my mind, but then again it just seems like overkill/unnecessary and just one more peice of gear to carry in.

Just for clarification, legal to carry if you have your CPL.
Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Hookslinger » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:13 pm

wolverinebuckman wrote:
Hookslinger wrote:
wolverinebuckman wrote:I avoided public land for years, it was a bit intimidating. But I sure was getting tired of sitting on that same little 40 acres of my buddy's year after year. After some encouragement from a friend, I finally decided to give public a shot... and I loved it! So much space and freedom.
I ran into some guys in the parking lots, or walking down trails. Everyone was cool, friendly. We sometimes chat a bit. I've yet to run into any bad characters, but I do agree... they are out there. So it never hurts to keep a "friend" in your pocket to back you up if need be. You'll be fine, I'm sure.


I hear you, hunting the same old property every time gets stale. I'm not 100% sure but I think it might be illegal in MI to carry a concealed handgun while bowhunting, could be wrong on that though. Trust me it crossed my mind, but then again it just seems like overkill/unnecessary and just one more peice of gear to carry in.

Just for clarification, legal to carry if you have your CPL.


Thanks for the clarification. I'd be curious to know how many people actually do carry while bowhunting in places that you don't have to worry about bears and other large predators. Probably slim to none, but then again there are people that wont even take their morning crap without their gun.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby sureshotscott » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:50 pm

Hookslinger wrote:Thanks for the clarification. I'd be curious to know how many people actually do carry while bowhunting in places that you don't have to worry about bears and other large predators. Probably slim to none, but then again there are people that wont even take their morning crap without their gun.


That's a stat you're not going to find. But I do carry pretty much all the time when I leave the house except when it's illegal.

I also hunt MI public land. Everyone I've met F2F has been nice except one private landowner who didn't like where I parked. My vehicle has never been damaged. Worst incident is I had a cam hung over a pinchpoint that was damaged and had the card stolen. That was partly my fault as I know that stuff happens, and I usually hang my cams high, but it was mid-december when I hung the cam and I thought no one would ever walk past.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Pudster » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:18 pm

It seems you can avoid people for the most part if you look for the overlooked areas on heavily hunted land.
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Johnny-6-fingers
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Johnny-6-fingers » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:53 pm

I hunted Michigan public land this year. 20+ hunts. I didn't run into many other hunters. Part of that was probably because I was the first to get there and the last to leave, but I was also intentionally trying to avoid areas that I knew other hunters would be. The few times I did run into another hunter, it was always a positive experience.

On my last hunt of the year I decided to go to this area that I thought for sure very few hunters would ever go. To my surprise (and disappointment), when I got to the parking lot I saw an old beat up truck. I pulled up and there was this 70+ year old dude putting on some waders that looked like they were about as old as he was. He looked surprised to see me to but I immediately introduced myself and asked where he was heading to make sure I wasn't going to mess up his hunt.

This old timer proceeded to spend over an hour talking with me about the area. He had been hunting there for 50+ years and was still going strong. He had accumulated such a wealth of knowledge about the land and the deer that lived there. It was incredible. He looked at maps with me, taught me a lot about movement patterns, showed me photos of SEVERAL monster bucks that he had taken in the area (including one this year), and answered all of the questions I could come up with. I was so thankful for his willingness to share his knowledge with me that I gave him my number and offered to help him with a drag if he ever needed it. I still don't know why this guy was willing to share all of that information with me, but he sure wasn't the stereotypical Michigan public land hunter.

My theory - be respectful. Nobody wants to intentionally sabotage your hunts, just like you don't want to ruin anyone else's hunt. Don't blame others for your shortcomings. If you are running into too many people, you probably aren't hunting the right areas. Be respectful and don't be afraid to start up a conversation with those old codgers... you never know what you might learn.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby BuffaloBill » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:12 pm

I have had those same fears. I really started hunting public land within the last couple of years. So far anyone that I've ran into has been pleasant. One guy gave me some tips on some areas to check out. I just avoid areas where other vehicles are parked so I don't step on any toes. Sometimes that can be tricky because it can get crowded during gun season. Fortunately with my work schedule I usually have a few days off during the week and there's usually only a handful of people, especially during archery. That being said I usually carry my M&P Shield 9mm. It's legal here even during archery.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby treeroot » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:14 am

The best advice I can give is to just go. Public land isn't as scary as you think.

As far as carrying if I could in NY I would. Not for bears, or people. I'm more concerned of coming across another rabid/ odd acting animal.
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Jonny
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Jonny » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:50 am

I seriously wonder where these rumors of public land being the old Wild West where guys shoot at each other and at anything that moves started from.

It’s very rare to ever see anybody outside of parking lots in my experience
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby Hookslinger » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:17 am

Thanks for all the info guys. My work schedule will allow me to get in some hunting during the week, so I'm going to take advantage of that. It will be a little intimidating starting out, but I'm looking forward to it.
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Re: New public land hunter anxiety...

Unread postby PK_ » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:10 am

You are much more likely to run into a criminal or bad situation at the convenient store. Are you anxious about going there?

The fact that you are worried about this means that you are a respectful individual and non-confrontational. Which means you will likely be able to diffuse any situation before it becomes a situation.

Be respectful, be apologetic. Also, yes there are some bad apples out there so do be aware and be careful. But I have been doing this for about 25 years and I can count on one hand the amount of ‘bad’ experiences out of thousands of encounters with other hunters. From the South to the Northeast to the Midwest...

As far as the vehicle, that is one thing that worries me too, but I haven’t had a problem yet. I lock everything. I lock my tailgate. Cable locks thru anything left in the bed and/or a locking topper or tonneau cover is good. Don’t leave anything in view in the cab. Wheel lock lug nuts.

Leaving a boat on a lake shore is another thing I worry about, I take the key to the motor out and with me. Bolt and lock the motor to the transom. I use a 20’ cable lock and lock the boat to structure. It’s probably overkill but it makes me feel better.
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