Public land hunting is an exciting adventure for many outdoor enthusiasts, but you’ll want to watch out for the 5 big mistakes public land hunters must avoid.
Public land hunting is an opportunity to explore vast expanses of untouched wilderness and pursue game while contributing to conservation efforts. However, public land hunting comes with its own set of unique challenges, which can lead even the most experienced hunters to make costly mistakes. Let’s dive into the top 5 mistakes public land hunters make and provide helpful tips on how to avoid them for a successful and enjoyable hunting experience.
Insufficient scouting and preparation
One of the most common mistakes public land hunters make is not spending enough time scouting the area before the hunting season begins. It’s essential to understand the layout of the land, the different types of terrain, the distribution of wildlife, and the habits of the game you’re targeting.
Insufficient scouting and preparation can lead you to waste time and energy searching for game, and can also result in missing out on better hunting opportunities. To avoid making this mistake, invest time in researching and scouting the area, using resources like maps, satellite imagery, and the expertise of local wildlife officials. Check out our article on how to use onXmaps for hunting on public lands, which can greatly help your public land scouting game.
Neglecting to consider other hunters
Public land hunting often involves sharing the area with other hunters. Failing to account for their presence can lead to a decreased likelihood of success and in some cases, decreased safety. To avoid making this mistake, always be aware of the hunting pressure in your chosen area. If you notice a high concentration of other hunters, consider moving to a less crowded area or adjusting your hunting strategy. Additionally, maintaining clear communication with other hunters and respecting their hunting space is essential to safe and responsible public land hunting.
Ignoring wind and scent control
Many hunters underestimate the importance of wind and scent control while hunting on public land. Due to the increased hunting pressure, the game on public land is often more sensitive to human presence and disturbance. Ignoring wind and scent control can result in game detecting your presence and avoiding your hunting area, significantly reducing your chances of success. Keep track of the wind direction and use scent control methods, like wearing scent-reducing clothing and using scent-eliminating sprays, to maintain a low profile and increase your odds of a successful hunt. We cover some of these strategies in our article – 7 tips for hunting elk on public land in Colorado.
Inadequate camouflage and concealment
Another common mistake public land hunters make is not employing proper camouflage and concealment techniques. Even if you’re hunting in a remote area, the heightened sensitivity of game due to increased hunting pressure can make your presence more detectable. An exposed hunter in the field is a deterrent for game and can lead to missed opportunities. Utilize blinds, natural cover, and camouflage clothing to blend with your surroundings effectively and minimize your presence in the field.
Failing to adapt and adjust strategies
Public land hunting often requires a more adaptive approach than hunting on private lands. Conditions can change quickly, and game patterns can shift in response to hunting pressure and changing weather patterns. One of the most significant mistakes a public land hunter can make is sticking to a single strategy or plan, even when it’s not producing results. To avoid this issue, be prepared to adjust your tactics, explore new areas, and target different game species if your chosen prey proves elusive. A flexible mindset can greatly increase your chances of success when hunting on public land.
Though public land hunting presents its unique challenges, avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure a successful and rewarding hunting experience. By investing time in scouting and preparation, considering the presence of other hunters, paying attention to wind and scent control, using proper camouflage and concealment techniques, and being willing to adapt your strategies to changing conditions, you can significantly improve your odds of success on public land hunts. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, get out there, stay safe, and happy hunting!
Primal Pioneer is a food blog and public land hunting resource by Mike and Jennifer Shreckengost. We’re a husband and wife team who combined their two passions – a love of the outdoors and food – into a joint effort with Primal Pioneer! You’ll find resources on planning and executing your own DIY over-the-counter public land big game hunt, along with wild game recipes featuring mostly venison and elk.