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 met a friend in college, Jacob Kraft,from Freeman, Missouri, right on the Kansas border. He invited me to come home with him and hunt Missouri and Kansas. I went home with him a few times, and we hunted the Sugar Creek Conservation Area in Missouri, which is public land, and we saw a ton of deer there. I’d see more deer in a week in Missouri than I’d see in the entire hunting season in New Hampshire.That was when I woke up to the idea that there really were places in the United States where a hunter could see as many deer as the TV hosts saw on the TV hunting shows. I also hunted in Indiana while I was in school and saw tons of deer on public lands there.
I took a buck in both Indiana and Missouri. The best buck I took in New Hampshire was an 8-pointer. In the Midwest and most areas of the country, the size of the buck is determined by the number of inches that a buck’s rack will score.However, in New Hampshire, we determine the size of the buck by how much he weighs.That 8 pointer weighed 178 pounds field-dressed. My best Maine buck weighed more than 180 pounds, and we did measure that buck’s rack, and it scored 130.
I’m pretty much a 100% public-land hunter. I’ve been asked, “Why do you hunt public lands?” The answer is really simple, “You don’t have to pay to hunt public lands.” Where I grew up in New Hampshire, hardly anybody posted their properties, so there were many places where we could hunt for free. Although Maine had a lot of posted land, there was also plenty of public land to hunt. When I was in college in Maine, generally we could hunt private property by simply asking permission. I found in Maine that the landowners didn’t mind you hunting their lands; they just wanted to know who was on their properties.
I’ve learned a lot from hunting in other states.For instance, I’ve learned that wearing hunter orange doesn’t spook deer, and I consider it a safer way to hunt.Even when I’m hunting at home in New Hampshire, I wear hunter orange. I’ve also learned that regardless of what state you’re hunting in, what property you’re hunting, and whether an area you’re hunting has numbers of deer or a few deer, if you put in your time studying maps and scouting, you can harvest deer. As I’ve mentioned earlier, we don’t have many deer in New Hampshire, yet I take deer every season there. All I’m doing is putting more time in scouting than the people do who are unsuccessful. Most of the people who hunt deer around my home don’t do any scouting.They just go to the places they’ve always gone to and expect to have better results than they’ve had the year before.