Crumley's Secrets of Bowhunting Deer
The obvious answer to locating a productive place to hunt is to talk to your friends and other bowhunters. However, if you have a good deer hotspot, do you want other people hunting that site knowing there's a good chance they may take the deer you're trying to bag?
Wanting somebody to give you directions to a good place to bowhunt is much like asking someone to borrow his toothbrush or his best squirrel dog. The exception to that rule is if you have a friend with a good region to hunt who doesn't have a bowhunting buddy.
I believe in buddy bowhunting. When you hunt an area with a friend, not only do you have someone who's in the woods who can help you if you have a problem, but also two strong backs and four strong legs can drag out a deer better. Too, you can learn more about the woods and the deer's movement patterns through the woods when two brains are working instead of just one.
I enjoy buddy bowhunting because it's a safer, smarter and more enjoyable way to hunt. Often a bowhunting buddy will become the best friend you've ever had, and you can discuss the joys and the tragedies of life with him. If you do have a friend with a terrific spot to hunt and nobody to hunt with, you may be able to locate new land to hunt from this friend. But by summertime with bowhunting season approaching, betting on finding the right kind of bowhunting buddy in time for deer season is a gamble.
Realize your best chances for pinpointing a site to bowhunt will depend on your own resourcefulness and investigative powers. Make a list of all the public lands within driving distance of your home. Begin to talk to sporting goods dealers, other bowmen and conservation officers in your area to learn which of these public hunting lands seems to yield the most deer during bow season.
Also try to determine which public land has the most bowhunters. Often when hunting new lands, we only consider the number of deer harvested on that property and not the number of man-days required to harvest those deer.
For instance, if a public-hunting region near your home has 200 deer bagged during a two-week bow season, you automatically assume that region will be an excellent place for you to hunt. However, if you research the property more and learn 10,000 hunters required five days to bag those 200 deer, you quickly can see your odds of taking a whitetail on that land are extremely low.
If another public-hunting property has 25 deer taken during a 10-day season, but 50 bowhunters hunted only for two days to take those 25 deer, your chances of bagging a whitetail on this public region are much greater than the area that harvested 200 deer. When evaluating land to hunt and studying the statistics of an area and the harvest records, don't forget to learn how many hunter days were required to take the number of deer reflected in the harvest.
People Who Can Help You
If you prefer to hunt private lands instead of public lands, or if you want a deer lease for you and a few good friends, you must go to the grass-roots people in the region you plan to hunt to locate land where bowhunters can hunt or people who are willing to lease land for hunting. In every country in every state of the United States, certain folks know just about all there is to know about everybody's business in that county.
The county conservation officer or game warden will know who in a county has land you either can hunt on for free, by paying a fee or by leasing the land. The conservation officer must patrol the land in the county and is acquainted with most of the landowners.
Another good resource person is the county's sheriff, who has knowledge of the landowners in his jurisdiction. Also he probably will be aware of whether or not these property owners will grant you permission to hunt.