Being stealthy is one thing on private land that can be controlled, but being stealthy on public land is an entirely different matter. No matter what you do to try to control your smell, sound and shots, you’re at the mercy of all the other hunters around you.
“I’ve set up perfectly on the downwind side of a grass patch bathed down in scent killer only to have somebody else come walking by making noise and smoking a cigarette,” said Bogalusa deer hunter Robert Duncan. “If you’re hunting public land, there’s always human scent and human sound.”
Duncan, who successfully hunts Pearl River WMA, Bogue Chitto NWR and Ben’s Creek WMA, believes the blanket of scent that covers these areas doesn’t spook deer as much as it might on private land, but he thinks that it does put them on guard quicker.
“They may not abandon an area because they smell human scent,” he explained, “but they’re going to be able to pinpoint you quicker because they have to if they want to stay alive. The first thing these public land deer do when they come out into a grass patch is to check every tree around. So many hunters have climbed those trees over and over again that they can tell when somebody is up there or not.”
To remedy this situation, Duncan, like so many other successful public-land deer hunters, hunts deep into the properties as they can go. Unlike David Dellucci who stays on his perimeter and access roads, Duncan says that’s not the way to hunt public lands.
“Get away from the edges and get in the middle,” Duncan insisted. “If everybody is hunting the grass patches that are easy to get to, you want to get in the bottoms. So many people come and go in these places, and they’re leaving sign and scent, you’ve got to go where most people aren’t willing to go.”
The basics still apply, though. So no matter how deep you go into a public property, keep the wind in your face. Just be ready to accept the fact that somebody else may come in and set up with the wind to their backs.
It’s all part of hunting public lands.
Editor’s Note: This story appears as part of a feature in Louisiana Sportsman’s October issue. To ensure you don’t miss any information-packed issues, click here to have each magazine delivered right to your mail box.
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