Public Land Bucks

Hunting is a very unique past time in that it creates an unique bond shared by fellow hunters. It always amazes me how I can meet another hunter and almost instantly become engaged in conversation like we are old friends. I once heard this quote which I think really sums up what I am talking about. This is para phrasing as I dont remmeber it exactly but it went something like this – “I encourage friends and family alike to step into the wilderness to hunt such that they might know a little more about who I am without a single word needing to be spoken.”

This weeks story comes from a fellow I met on day at work and who was great enough to share a story with our readers. He is a hardcore bow hunter and shares some wonderful insight into chasing monster whitetails on public land. Furthermore he chases thes brusers from the high purch of a tree saddle and if you are looking for a new ‘twist’ on bow hunting you should check these out! Just have a gander at the giant buck in this story. Happy reading!

Great photos from Charles in his tree saddle.
Great photos from Charles in his tree saddle.

Hi James,

I appreciate the help and am especially appreciative of our opportunity to share our passion for hunting whitetails.  I do some of my bow hunting on a public land bush which I have been studying for about 3 years.  It’s pounded by other bow hunters as well as gun hunters. I’ve seen quite a number of juvenile bucks and does ( even some monster mature ones )  but never a mature buck. 

The primary scrape I had visited about once a week had been very active but I had never seen a decent buck there.  Following the kind of pedestrian information so common in magazines and espoused by so many of the faithful, I purchased doe in estrus urine and some buck urine ( both legally synthetic ) and applied some to the deepest scrape under a late season apple tree which has lots of cover around it and  within 15 yards of a deciduous tree I had prepared in spring. 

I climbed my tree confident that I’d been too cautious about using such brilliant tactics and tried to remain calm knowing that it was very likely a herd of feral mature bucks would be charging in to fight off this intruder buck and joust with each other to determine which of the local patriarchs would get to claim the doe.  Wouldn’t you know it within 20 minutes I spotted a mature buck about 60 yards away and close to downwind of the newly scented scrape.  I grabbed my crossbow and prepared to claim this unwitting victim of my newly acquired genius as he angled closer. 

Well obviously someone should have dropped off some of the magazines in the bush so the bucks could  do a refresher on proper etiquette with primed scrapes because when he got directly downwind of the area you would have thought he’d been shot. He turned inside out and did a kind of back flip in his haste to exit the area.  I was beside myself with regret at having treated these cagey wily pressured deer in the same way as those we read about in unpressured areas. 

Since then I’ve talked to a bow hunter that hunts two adjacent properties.  One of the properties is public, the other private.  He claims he can successfully call in deer on the private land but not on the public property.  Because he hunts both properties frequently, he’s sure he’s hunting the same deer on each property but that they  ( does and bucks ) reacte differently to tactics depending on which property they’re on.

It’s just way too easy to underestimate an educated deer compared to an unpressured one.  Moving forward, November 22nd made it almost 3 weeks since I had been in the area I had seen the mature buck so I figured given wind etc. the time might be right.  The scrapes were unworked but green apples hung off the tree so I was happy with my choice when I arrived. What appeared to be the same buck moved in from the same area with about half an hour of light left and sauntered into a shooting lane about 20 yards away.  The shot rang true and he ran about 70 yards before expiring.  While he is no monster buck and not the largest I’ve arrowed, I’ll always remember how he educated me and I’ll be feeling like a true bowana until the next mature buck appropriately humbles me. 


Charles with is public land trophy
Charles with is public land trophy

Thanks so much for sharing Charles! This is some great insight into public bucks and definitely some great information. Most importantly I am sure I have made a life long friend and look forward to sharing many hunting stories in the future.


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