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jnorm1984

Public land puzzle??

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I have been awful frustrated this bow season. I am relatively new to hunting public land, this is my 3rd fall goin after it here in the Brainerd area. The 2 years prior to this year I have had ok luck, and have taken a doe each year with the bow. But in 3 years to this point I have only saw 2 bucks (one monster 8, and a fork). This year has been especially frustrating, when hunting public stuff I have only saw 3 deer while on stand, and don’t think I don’t hunt enough, in the last 7 days ive hunted 5 of them (2mornigs and nights, the rest nites), and it has been like that since the opener (give or take a day er 2). I am lucky enough at my job to be able to have access to aerial photos n stuff, and I know where public stuff is and what is there before I go in to a new area. Maybe I over analyze and don’t just hunt. What ever it may be, I need help finding deer on public land. Maybe the numbers are down idk, but simply put how does everyone on FM go about hunting public stuff? I must be doin something wrong this year...

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First off, not all public land is created equal. In your area there are some big sections of public. Trying to determine a good section from an average one can be difficult. Although it isn't help to you now, one of the best ways to gauge deer activity is when a fresh snow falls. This will allow you to see how much activity your area is getting. My feeling is the easiest way to hunt public land is to find the food sources. If you find a piece of public that butts up to some private with a corn, bean or alfalfa field I would start there. If farm fields aren't an option look for mast crops, like acorns. Otherwise areas that were recently clear cut have some great browse for deer and they flock to them. Just some ideas...

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jnorm1984,

Hey I live in the lakes area too and tried the public stuff and it can be very frustrating. What you might want to do is find some small private property in the west part of Baxter with about 10 acres or so. There is usually hidden jewels wihtin the city and have a ton of deer activity all year long. Another tip is find a county plat book and research smaller out of the way county land in small parcels.

This is what I do and see on average 4-8 deer a night/morning and i'm now seeing more bucks than does all within the last two weeks!

mr

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jnorm1984

I also do a lot of bowhunting in the Brainerd Area. I do have a couple of private land spots I hunt but a majority of my time is spent on public land. It can be tough but don't give up. Like Coach said not all public land is created equal. It look me a lot of trial and error. I would try and find as much public land as you can and then hunt it to narrow down your best options. You might also have to use a bike or canoe to get far enough back where the deer are less pressured. I also hunt really hard the first couple weeks of the season when you can catch the deer by suprise and later in Oct when they really start moving. During the Oct Lull I use my time to do a little scouting and maybe a little grouse hunting. Just hang in there and maybe spend more time scouting and you will start to have some better luck.

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