Finding Sheds on Public Land | White Gold Series


JEREMY FLINN

03/29/2016

Public land offers a lot of opportunities for deer hunters, yes even in March and April. Believe it or not sheds can and will be found if you take these public land shed hunting tips in mind.

Public land comes with a lot of opportunities for any type of hunter, turkey, deer, waterfowl, or small game, but there is a big catch…hunting pressure. Public land is open to anyone, and is subject over pressuring and diminished openings for success. This is a small hurtle to jump, but many hunters see it as a 10ft concrete wall with razor wire, they simply cannot overcome it. Shed hunting these parcels can be even more difficult. Hunting white gold is tough enough on private land, adding the off chance that most have been picked off by other shed hunters creates a challenging scenario. Use these public land shed hunting tips to find white gold this year on public ground.

Regulations

Anytime you are approaching public land get the correct information on the restrictions on that parcel. In recent news there are circulations that some states are coming down on shed hunting on public ground. Just be sure you are legal to shed hunt in your state and on that particular piece.

Study the Map

Simply, the best way to beat the hunting pressure of public land is to get away from it. Take a hard look at the aerials and topo maps. What are you looking for?

The farther you are from a private ground entry point and a public land parking lot, the better off you are.  Once you have located these areas that likely have less pressure, find where the deer will be. Food sources and bedding areas are the two best places to find sheds. Look for food sources such as ag fields, old field type habitat, and thickets with greenbriers, blackberry’s, black raspberry’s, and saplings under 6ft. Pay attention to browse pressure, traffic, and other deer sign when walking through these areas to indicate the level of use. As far as topography goes, look for south slopes, especially with different tiers as they give separation of bedding for does and bucks. South slopes receive the most amount of sunlight and offer great vantage points for bucks. Saddles also give you a chance to hit a high traffic run, enabling you to get a better idea of what areas they are traveling to.

Earlier or Later?

“The early bird gets the worm” – the phrase literally defeats hunters before they even get out of bed, and while true for many aspects of hunting, sheds are not necessarily one of them. The question is when is the best time for shed hunting? First you should understand when deer shed their antlers. After knowing this you might feel anxious to get out, but there is still a good chance waiting later in the game is better. After studying the map you will locate areas that are not only great bedding areas, but far enough from the reaches of the parking lot that there still might be sheds. If you are right then going in to early, before a buck has shed in that area might cause you to push him out. If you feel confident in your area, wait. Besides this, another key ingredient might come about to really help you during late March early April.

Fire

March and April are the last months of shed hunting, but they are the months of the fire season. Many public land parcels and wildlife areas will receive prescribed burns during these months. Thickets, old field, and native grass stands on public land are common. They are also extremely hard to shed hunt on. Once this thick vegetation is burned off and a fine black layer is laid down, shed hunting white tines can become very easy.

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