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Public Land? #7908221 07/21/20 07:35 PM
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HTXdude123 Online Content OP
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I'm new to dove hunting and have been talking plans for this upcoming season with some of my more experienced friends. Most of them try to avoid hunting public land or straight up refuse to. They mention safety and crowds but have no real-life examples, just stories. What are ya'll's opinions on hunting public land for Dove? Are most hunters practicing safety and awareness of the other hunters in the area? Advice?


Keep it Safe, Keep it Clean, Aim High.
Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7908310 07/21/20 08:57 PM
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If talking about Waller area dove fields, expect a lot of hunters and probably not a lot of birds. Sometimes it’s a hot spot, 90% of the time your happy to shoot a dozen shells.


See y’all around the campfire.

Originally Posted by Grizz
Wingshooting is like sex for me - I love doing it but I'm just not that good at it.

Re: Public Land? [Re: rickym] #7908358 07/21/20 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rickym
If talking about Waller area dove fields, expect a lot of hunters and probably not a lot of birds. Sometimes it’s a hot spot, 90% of the time your happy to shoot a dozen shells.


The place on Hebert Road wasn't available last year for hunting. They have also made dramatic changes to the one outside of Chappell Hill over the last few years.


It takes beer to make thirst worthwhile - J. Fred Schmidt
Re: Public Land? [Re: rickym] #7908363 07/21/20 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rickym
If talking about Waller area dove fields, expect a lot of hunters and probably not a lot of birds. Sometimes it’s a hot spot, 90% of the time your happy to shoot a dozen shells.

I'd have been thrilled last year to have shot 12 shells in Waller all of last year. The couple of dove fields in the Western Houston area I've been to on public land have been pretty crowded opening weekend, but completely empty after - maybe half a dozen people on them. Outside of opening weekend being crowded, I wouldnt worry about that issue, the main reason I lost interest was just quality of the field - i didnt even see a dove most of my hunts.
OP I see your tag mentions you're in Austin too, my buddy who hunts near New Braunfels said those public fields produce pretty well.

Re: Public Land? [Re: JB1316] #7908389 07/21/20 10:00 PM
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I appreciate it. I'm back and forth between Houston and Austin a lot so I'll be sure to scout near new Braunfels then. I'm mainly trying to figure out if it is worth my time researching public lands or if I should just focus my attention on finding private land to hunt. And if most hunters on public land are actively aware of where they are shooting and who is around them.


Keep it Safe, Keep it Clean, Aim High.
Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7908805 07/22/20 11:08 AM
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Knuckleheads can be anywhere, public and private lands. Same with good hunters too. Id concern myself with quality of hunting. Private lands on average will be better than public, but affordability weighs in too.


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Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7909294 07/22/20 06:13 PM
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Just about any huntable public land located within 2 hours of a major city WILL be crowded on opening weekend/week of dove season. That is a guarantee. The crowds will fizzle out pretty quickly though.

I can't speak for down south - but the fields in the northern part of the state were at times good 15-20 years ago, but I've noticed a lot less birds the past 10 years.

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7910331 07/23/20 03:14 PM
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Public hunting lands can be productive, but also a pain. I lived just a few miles from public hunting lands in Waller in late 90's to mid 2000's. Since I lived close to the area, I could drive by and scout them. The best thing to do if you can is scout out a possible place you may want to hunt.
I scouted a PHL spot near my house about 4 or 5 days before the opener, thousands of whitewings in the field and in the trees, about pissed myself I was so giddy. Went back the evening before opener, not a damn bird in sight.
If you can, try and pick a place that has food and water source near by.

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7912347 07/25/20 01:43 AM
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My experience with Dove hunting on public lands....

You try to leave a safe distance between you and the next guy and at least 2 idiots will set up in that space between.

You cannot count on safe distances from 7 1/2 or 8. They will show up with whatever they find in the closet. #6, BBB goose loads...


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Re: Public Land? [Re: nak] #7912821 07/25/20 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nak
My experience with Dove hunting on public lands....

You try to leave a safe distance between you and the next guy and at least 2 idiots will set up in that space between.

You cannot count on safe distances from 7 1/2 or 8. They will show up with whatever they find in the closet. #6, BBB goose loads...

one time was one time to much for me bang


hold on Newt, we got a runaway
Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7912943 07/25/20 08:10 PM
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I've had a few positive experiences and about a dozen negative. I've learned to wear orange when I walk to and from the spot I'm going to hunt. Once I get there I take it off.

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7913110 07/25/20 10:55 PM
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With opening day mid-week, I would expect lower numbers...based upon that, I might try opening morning on public lands. No way Id do the weekend or the evening on opening day.


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Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7916843 07/29/20 02:53 AM
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Opening day can be a circus. Anytime after the 1st week on public is basically wide open.


Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7917652 07/29/20 10:20 PM
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I hunted public land for dove three times on three different spots last year. The opening day for dove in Bowie was pretty crowded but most hunters didn't move more than 100 yards from the entrance. I was able to find a nice spot for me and my dad over a pond with no other hunters around. The next two times I hunted two different places a couple weeks into the season with a buddy and we never saw another hunter.

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7917735 07/29/20 11:47 PM
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Be careful what outfitter you hunt with opening day as well bc some of them will jam as many hunters as they can into a field.


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Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7917792 07/30/20 12:20 AM
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New Braunfels didn't have many birds last year. Went 3 times. Got a total of 3 shots. Last half of the season no one was out there. Hope this year is better.



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Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7919958 08/01/20 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HTXdude123
I'm new to dove hunting and have been talking plans for this upcoming season with some of my more experienced friends. Most of them try to avoid hunting public land or straight up refuse to. They mention safety and crowds but have no real-life examples, just stories. What are ya'll's opinions on hunting public land for Dove? Are most hunters practicing safety and awareness of the other hunters in the area? Advice?



Man it depends on what you can spend and how you vent outfitters/leases. I hunted public dove around Dallas several years back. Only one field did we do ok (near Forney and now that a subdivision). The rest was an absolute nightmare. Example...one year opening day it was POURING rain 2 hours before shooting light. I figured me and my young son would have this field to ourselves. I get there and the parking mud lot was PACKED. Needless to say we just tried to stay alive that morning. Another hunt on a paid day hunt in Frisco...it was when the cops were called as some idiots were shooting toward a school across the road....that hunt I swear it was a quarter mile sq field and there was no more than 20 yards distance from GROUP to GROUP....not man to man around that field!!! They packed us in like sardines no chit! And to top it off me, my 3 boys and all there other idiots on our 1/4 mile line were TRESPASSING. They put us on neighbors property (it was a bit confusing and nobody got a ticket) .

Do what you can with your budget ....then find a private lease thats decent and try to hang on to it.

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7922718 08/03/20 09:51 PM
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Public land hunting in texas can be pretty good at times. I've had some really good hunts on public lands. However, get ready to have your hunts ruined by inconsiderate people and understand that frustration can often be involved.


Noah Blackmon
Re: Public Land? [Re: decook] #7929742 08/10/20 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by decook
Knuckleheads can be anywhere, public and private lands. Same with good hunters too. Id concern myself with quality of hunting. Private lands on average will be better than public, but affordability weighs in too.


If affordability issue, better off hunting1/3 less upon private with good outfitter......opening day cluster regardless unless hunting w private group you trust. Too many Rednecks out there. Not safe



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Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7942322 08/19/20 06:20 PM
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Let me know how your public land hunting goes for opening. I have a private lease with a few fields some of them just outside of the Austin area and couple more in the San Marcos/Kyle/Marion area that I can take you out on if you're interested.

Re: Public Land? [Re: Herbie Hancock] #7942379 08/19/20 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
Originally Posted by rickym
If talking about Waller area dove fields, expect a lot of hunters and probably not a lot of birds. Sometimes it’s a hot spot, 90% of the time your happy to shoot a dozen shells.


The place on Hebert Road wasn't available last year for hunting. They have also made dramatic changes to the one outside of Chappell Hill over the last few years.


None of the Waller land is available this year. Looks like a few places are gone for this year.


Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7943103 08/20/20 02:39 AM
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Find a lease that you can hunt all season long. Opening day and the next few days will be crowded. Nuts show up at times. With a lease you can hunt the cool fronts that come the third week in September and in October. That can be done on public leases through TPWD too. Just don't expect few people to be on a public or private lease the first week. If you are interested in a good quail hunting location near Austin for released birds contact me with a PM.

Re: Public Land? [Re: browning66] #7944184 08/20/20 10:58 PM
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Is there a way a person can get data(# of birds, deer.etc) from a public lease from the year before?

Re: Public Land? [Re: JMS] #7944649 08/21/20 12:03 PM
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I've been saying that for a couple years now. Tpwd collects data from those check in stations. Why not publish it in the public lands book every year?

Re: Public Land? [Re: HTXdude123] #7946777 08/23/20 07:03 AM
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was at the opener last year in new braunfels. got in before sunrise at day light the laz city slickers just rolled in by the hundreds. I got 2 birds and when I went back to my truck they were shoulder to shoulder along the main power line and then the rest sitting in the beds of trucks in the parking area. This year im looking to pay for a opener or going to go to my secret spot in granger, its a hell of a walk but I doubt many else will be there.

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