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#6187002 - 02/17/16 12:27 AM Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do?
AmerMirza Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 134
Loc: Plano (Dallas), Texas, USA
I am a new hunter (2015-16 my 1st season) who has successfully harvested deer towards the end of the season thanks to some good people on this hunting forum site. For next season, I am considering whether to try Public Hunting or not. First hand experience, can someone tell me pros and cons of it? Is it crowded? Are really hundreds of shots fired from all directions when a deer is visible and everyone claiming they shot? Any experiences? Recommendation for a fairly new hunter like me?

I want to harvest a BUCK and give my dad the trophy as he doesn't hunt and wants the head. I will eat the meat. If I hunt at private ranches, the cost is well over $2500 for a Buck. I read stat that in 2014 there was 1 fatality only and over 1 million hunting licenses were sold. But was the experience worth it?
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#6187413 - 02/17/16 11:23 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
kdub Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 7510
Loc: In the yak
I haven't hunted public deer, but I bet if you put in the miles and time scouting you could find somewhere to hunt that holds deer and is away from the crowds. Hunting will be harder than sitting on a feeder. You might want to look into bow hunting, less people.
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#6187472 - 02/17/16 12:03 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Harrier Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 294
Loc: San Antonio
Welcome to the forum, and to hunting.

I enjoy hunting for deer on public land. It's definitely a different challenge compared to sitting in a comfy blind overlooking a feeder. On Texas public land, no baiting is allowed, and you can't keep structures up more than 72 hours. Most don't allow vehicles, so you'll be on foot. It takes a good deal of scouting, looking for trails & food sources, etc. Once you've identified a good spot, be prepared to hike in before dawn and stay until after sunset.

The good news is, it's usually only crowded on opening weekend, and even then it's nothing like you describe with hundreds of shots from all directions. If you can hunt during the week or later in the season, you'll probably never come across another hunter.

Get your annual public hunting permit (APH) and study the booklet that comes with it for all the regulations and places where deer can be hunted.

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#6187730 - 02/17/16 03:09 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
GoBears870 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 84
Loc: Dallas, TX
Take a look at the TPWD drawn hunts online. There are multiple opportunities there - just apply for all of them ($3/each) and you will have a good shot of getting drawn for one. I think the updated book comes out in July and the drawings are late summer. The drawn hunts by definition aren't a free-for-all since they control how many hunters are out there at once; and usually the WMAs in this program don't get over hunted.

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#6188065 - 02/17/16 07:24 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Whiptail Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/13/13
Posts: 118

If you want to hunt BUCKS you're better off going private.
The demand vs supply is astronomical and if your luck is average you could wait 20 years before you get to go.
I still apply but don't get my hopes up.

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#6188480 - 02/18/16 07:09 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Redskins4ever Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 01/28/16
Posts: 30
public land maybe good for doe but big bucks forget it

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#6188587 - 02/18/16 08:07 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
GoBears870 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 84
Loc: Dallas, TX
There are some monsters in Gus Engeling, Kerr, and others. No, your odds are not great of getting drawn and bringing down a giant, but it's absolutely worth a shot. Also bow hunting gives you lots more options.

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#6188845 - 02/18/16 09:53 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
AmerMirza Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 134
Loc: Plano (Dallas), Texas, USA
Thanks everyone for your replies but I am confused still. So, if you get a Public hunting permit, you just cant go to the Public hunting land? Your name needs to be drawn? Because I called TPWD few weeks back and they said just to show up on the hunting land. Based on all the feedback I am getting, I feel like its not as dangerous to hunt on Public Land as I think. Maybe worth a try.


Edited by AmerMirza (02/18/16 09:53 AM)
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#6188906 - 02/18/16 10:16 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
GoBears870 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 84
Loc: Dallas, TX
For deer hunting, there are a few WMAs that just require the Annual Public Hunting Permit and are open throughout all or part of that county's deer season. There aren't many that are like this, though. The majority of WMAs work off of the drawn hunt program. All you do there is enter the drawing; if you are drawn you can buy a permit for that particular WMA.
https://www2.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/public_hunt_drawing/

The APH permit gets you onto all the WMAs year-round so you can scout, hike, fish or do whatever activities are allowed there. Hunt seasons and species vary by WMA. Generally speaking it's only deer and turkey that require you enter the drawing system - most of the time waterfowl, pigs, squirrel, and dove only require the APH permit and whatever federal/state tags you need.

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#6189489 - 02/18/16 02:53 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Mickey Moose Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 02/05/12
Posts: 2560
GDE (gun deer either sex, adult not youth) drawn hunt success (kill) rate for the previous four seasons (15-16 not included since that data isn't published yet, so 14-15 and back three years) is 48.5%. Youth rate is lower.

-Mickey
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#6189671 - 02/18/16 04:34 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Harrier Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 294
Loc: San Antonio
Originally Posted By: AmerMirza
Thanks everyone for your replies but I am confused still. So, if you get a Public hunting permit, you just cant go to the Public hunting land? Your name needs to be drawn? Because I called TPWD few weeks back and they said just to show up on the hunting land. Based on all the feedback I am getting, I feel like its not as dangerous to hunt on Public Land as I think. Maybe worth a try.

There are two different kinds of public land hunts, and you've heard about both.

1. There are "walk-in" hunts where you just show up at the designated hunting site during the season. There are only a couple of these places in Texas where you can hunt for deer with a rifle. A few more allow bowhunting, and several others allow hunts for hogs, small game, predators, etc. That's all spelled out in the booklet. In approximately 15 walk-in deer hunts at these sites, I've shot exactly one deer -- a small doe. But that's my favorite all-time deer hunting success.

2. There are also "drawn" hunts where you enter a drawing for a particular hunt at a particular site and take your chances on getting drawn. The chance of getting drawn is pretty low, but IF you get drawn, your chance of successfully hunting an animal is pretty high.

I hope that helps clarify things. Public hunts, especially walk-in hunts, are a great way to gain experience scouting, patterning and tracking deer, but not the best way to harvest a giant buck. They're also great for dove, duck, rabbit, etc. hunting if you like that kind of thing.

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#6191847 - 02/20/16 08:48 AM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Bigfoot Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 586
Loc: Galveston Bay
I agree with Harrier. If your definition of a trophy is a decent buck then you need to look elsewhere or better be prepared to put several years of hard grinding and scouting to produce a quality buck on Public Land. They are there but the amount of effort and scouting required is immense. However if your goal is to go out have a great time and enjoy your hunting experience no matter what happens then Public Land will work well for you. I consider any animal taken on Public Land to be a trophy. Pig Doe buck Coyote or bob cat. That is why I love hunting public land. Because it is tough! I am also learning things the hard way about hunting and tracks. Effort and sweat is what it takes to make it happen on Public lands.
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#6192139 - 02/20/16 02:17 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
Coonhunter78 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 05/21/13
Posts: 29
I have been hunting public land for years,and have been to a bunch of the different WMA's most all of them hold small number's of deer that is pretty much a waste of time trying to hunt. If I was wanting to shot a nice buck I would go to Angelina Neches dam b WMA, there's good deer there you will need a boat to get around you can also rifle hunt it all deer season, you never hear anybody talk about this particular WMA it goes unnoticed.

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#6195014 - 02/22/16 07:20 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
BDB Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 327
The best public hunting in Tx is for species other than deer. Your choosing a hard earned endeavor to earn. Good luck.

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#6197391 - 02/24/16 01:08 PM Re: Public Land Hunting: To do or not to do? [Re: AmerMirza]
colt.45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 03/16/12
Posts: 9307
Loc: wondering about the woods
Defenision of a Trophy Buck ? What are you looking for ? Does pudding a price on it make it a trophy ? Biggest difference in public & privet land is price tag ...
Public land for deer, as many have already posted can be very tough hunts... Few allow rifle, most are Archery only, & believe none allow baiting... Draw hunts might be the exception... Draw hunts are more like the hunts on privet land in the order of you will be assigned a spacific area to hunt & some allow, even recomend atv...
Right now several have the hog hunts going on... A good time ta get introduced ta public hunting... Boots on the ground or as pappy says: pudding one foot in front of de udder can learn a wealth of info for future deer hunts & draw hunts... One step at a time...
Best wishes.... Person can be suprised at what ya see... flag
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