Editor’s Note: Josh Wade from Charlestown, New Hampshire, has been a Mossy Oak Pro for 7 years and been hunting whitetail for 18 years with a bow, a rifle and a blackpowder gun. “Here in New Hampshire we don’t have many deer, so we primarily have to hunt states like Missouri, where we can hunt in all three seasons.”
I’ve hunted a 1200-acre property near my home all my life. When I walk a mile away from the truck to reach the center of that property, I may see five hunters in the place I’m hunting. To reach that spot, I may have to walk 30 minutes to an hour and realize if I take a deer down there, I’ll probably spend 1-1/2-hours getting that deer out. More than likely, I’ll have to call some friends to get them to help me drag the deer out. This place I hunt is down in a deep gully, and many hunters who hunt this public land use man-drives to try and spook the deer to where other hunters can get a shot. Since these man-drives have been used on this property for years,the deer have learned that the only way to get away from that hunting pressure is to come down in this gully where I am where the deer rarely see a hunter.
The place I hunt on this property doesn’t have easy access; it’s very remote. I’ve learned that regardless of what public land you hunt on, identifying somewhere hunters won’t hunt will be where most deer have to go to dodge hunting pressure. Many public-land hunters are afraid of success and may judge where they hunt by how far they’ll have to drag a deer, if they’re successful. I hunt with a group of friends who help each other drag deer out. Each of us lets the others know where we’ll be hunting by marking our hunt sites on a map.
I think the secret to hunting safely and effectively on public lands is to have the same group of hunters you always hunt with for safety, efficiency, the ability to find and take the most deer and a way to overcome the public-land hunters’ greatest fear of how they’ll get deer out of the woods, if they’re 1/2-mile or more away from their vehicles. Too,I always take a screen shot of a Google Earth map on my phone that shows the exact place where I’m hunting and send it to my wife. Then, if don’t get home or check in with her after dark, she knows exactly where to send someone to look for me. I’ve never had to use this precaution, but my wife gets concerned when she doesn’t know where I’m at when I’m hunting. If I’m dragging a deer out of the woods and know I can’t be home when she’s expecting me, I’ll call and let her know that I’m safe,and that I’ve got deer meat for the freezer.