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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Y'all! I Solo Deer Hunt on Public Land Around North East Indiana. Ive only Hunted Public for 3 Years, Maybe 30 Hunts. Mostly Run and Gun with a Hang on and a Bow. I Scout During the Summer, But I Live an hour from the nearest public land so it takes a lot of planning and time to be on stand before light or till after dark especially when I am a Mile From the Car. It also creates some scouting challenges. I can't just run out real quick in the evening for a 2 Hour round trip to see what fields have been harvested or glass to see what the action is like for the next mornings hunt. I Thought It would be cool to have a thread where anyone who hunts public land could get on and share info. (you don't have to give away your hotspot) But information about what crops are coming out around the public land you hunt, Or wether bucks are chasing in your area. Or updates on your season so far/ Plans for your next hunt. Stories of success and failure. Really anything That Could Be helpful or interesting.
 

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Well, I'll kick this off. Indiana honestly no matter what is said, has some of the best public land opportunities across all states. Our public land here is well taken care of by the IDNR and also our conservation officers. I have hunted only 2 properties. Wilbur Wright in New Castle where I live and also Brookville Lake. Wilbur has over the years not the property, but the people has mad me angry. I have had stands and cameras stolen. I have had one guy walk in front of me ID myself to him and then shoot back my direction. I still go there every year and will be there again opening morning this year and evening will be in Brookville. The way Indiana actually set up Public Land or still hopes to I believe is so that any Indiana resident that can hunt is within or about an hour away from a public land source. I love it. I pay my dues which is by sitting in the stands, letting small deer walk and cleaning any trash I come across on any property. I usually take a bag with me every time now. But like anything else some people do not treat it with respect and due to no real safety regulations that prevents people from shooting at people or respecting one who is in the tree, you will have some issues. I had my turkey hunt this past spring sabotaged by someone coming in and shooting before legal shooting light. It happens, the problem is by a CO he said its hard to prove sabotage, there must be a history of that person doing stuff such as that so people will do anything to get an animal. I love Indiana and respect the hardwoods anywhere. I'm not sure what are you hunt but NE Indiana there are some opportunities I believe. I have learned a lot over the years, I have one spot on wilbur I can pretty much gurantee to see one, and more than likely get a shot now so thats pretty good. I have helped 1 harvest a buck out of my tree stand and another atleast get his first shot on a deer within 40 yards of each other except his bolt ended up forever stuck in a tree lol. There are big deer on public last fall I let what most would consider a shooter buck walk at 28 yards because of that specific property in Brookville, there are giants walking those hills and hollers. People will say oh do you have trail cam pics of bigger deer? Nope and won't bc I'm not hanging trail cams on public land anymore. I guess its just the thrill, the excitement of using old school tactics. One pic I did get was of an old monarch walking under my stand in daylight shooting hours and guess where I was? In the bed. lol Time thats all it takes is time. Give back when you can help out pick up trash and mother nature will give.
 

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I've been scouting alot in southern indiana. I've put alot of time and energy into these public lands and we will see results. I agree with bonecollector14. I'm excited for the season and am happy to hunt public, it adds to the bowhunting experience.
 

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I was given access to an ununted farm just south of Bloomington and you know I only spend prime time there. Any other day I am on a piece of public land. Bow season is prime time public land. At Wilbur in New Castle they have completely pretty much quit managing the property. I have never seen it so thick. I even had to find a new way to get to my stand this year. That isn't bad bc I'm actually walking the creek bed now to my stand but, its so thick without any management it will be a tough deer season. I still have my spots but it certainly will be way easier for anything heck a moose could disapear out there now.
 

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I was given access to an ununted farm just south of Bloomington and you know I only spend prime time there. Any other day I am on a piece of public land. Bow season is prime time public land. At Wilbur in New Castle they have completely pretty much quit managing the property. I have never seen it so thick. I even had to find a new way to get to my stand this year. That isn't bad bc I'm actually walking the creek bed now to my stand but, its so thick without any management it will be a tough deer season. I still have my spots but it certainly will be way easier for anything heck a moose could disapear out there now.
so will it be worth the effort to bow hunt wilbur?
 

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Yes sir. Now worth the effort is in the eye of the beholder. I am on 12 years almost hunting Wilbur and have harvested 3 and shot at maybe 6 or 7 total missing 1 giant buck and being froze up and too star struck to even shoot at the biggest deer I've seen on that property. I had not shot at 30 yards yet going from instinct to sights, and I just didn't want to injure him. I was always taught if you don't take that marginal shot or wound him theres a good chance he will be back. On public land that is just simply put bullshit. You have to take your shots when you get them bc they may not ever be back mostly not. You also will not see deer every single trip. I have gotten to where I'm seeing deer probably every other trip now and on 1250 acres of public land thats pretty good. There are still some areas I have not hunted bc my small areas about 30 yards most to shoot, produce good deer sightings and sign. I have lost 2 does. 1 was a shot that didn't go all the way through and the other was simply over looking where she had went with zero blood. I grid searched and still didn't see her but found her later in pieces. I think it was her could have been another I'm not sure. There are plenty of deer and if you put your time in you may catch a big boy slipping. I have probably 10 pope and young deer on cam over the years and 2 Booners so far. Only ever saw 1 of them on the hoof. They will go from Wilbur to the prison grounds.
 

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Yes sir. Now worth the effort is in the eye of the beholder. I am on 12 years almost hunting Wilbur and have harvested 3 and shot at maybe 6 or 7 total missing 1 giant buck and being froze up and too star struck to even shoot at the biggest deer I've seen on that property. I had not shot at 30 yards yet going from instinct to sights, and I just didn't want to injure him. I was always taught if you don't take that marginal shot or wound him theres a good chance he will be back. On public land that is just simply put bullshit. You have to take your shots when you get them bc they may not ever be back mostly not. You also will not see deer every single trip. I have gotten to where I'm seeing deer probably every other trip now and on 1250 acres of public land thats pretty good. There are still some areas I have not hunted bc my small areas about 30 yards most to shoot, produce good deer sightings and sign. I have lost 2 does. 1 was a shot that didn't go all the way through and the other was simply over looking where she had went with zero blood. I grid searched and still didn't see her but found her later in pieces. I think it was her could have been another I'm not sure. There are plenty of deer and if you put your time in you may catch a big boy slipping. I have probably 10 pope and young deer on cam over the years and 2 Booners so far. Only ever saw 1 of them on the hoof. They will go from Wilbur to the prison grounds.
That is good enough for me I can be patient and I have a good schedule to where I can hunt the weekdays and I'm also a state employee and can have access to the state property.
 

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Well I'll give you some pointers. It is split by zones. Zone 1 and 2 are up top as I say and 3 and 4 are in the bottoms I call them. 3 and 4 are located on the backside of the prison ground across the big blue. 1 Road takes you all the way back and you can park in either area. Ofcourse sign in at the little house first. If you forget then go back and sign in. Wilbur no longer forces you to carry a card with you but you still want to sign in. 1 is very thick but if you sitting in the parking area to 1 there is food to your left beans at the moment so they will travel back into 1. There are trails and open areas to go in early and set up. There also is an old big shed or building DNR uses for equipment back in there anywhere around that shed or east of the shed is good. 2 is basically hardwoods and huge ridges. These are your acorn and greenery or foraging deer. Anywhere in 2 along water is a good spot. 3, is the bottoms where they used to rent out the fields for planting. They no longer do that so its just overgrown fields now probably 7 foot high weeds and the backside is all private corn or beans depending on the year. The fields come first then a strip of smaller hardwoods, thick all the way to the river with fire lanes cut out all the way across. 4 is where I caught a booner on cam. 4 is just strips of trees and fire lanes cut out. Thats it but its overgrown enough deer move from the prison grounds across it to access food. Then back across right at daylight. I don't hunt 4 or 3 much becuase of the traffic. As they say get in early and be the last to leave let others push around the deer and you'll get your shot.
 

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There also is a railroad track from long time ago that runs all the way through zone 2 and 1 not far from the bridge on 103 just gotta cross the field and that will take you wayyy back there if you want to hunt along it or just off of it. There are lots of opportunities.
 

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There also is a railroad track from long time ago that runs all the way through zone 2 and 1 not far from the bridge on 103 just gotta cross the field and that will take you wayyy back there if you want to hunt along it or just off of it. There are lots of opportunities.
Damn I really need to spend some time out there.I know when I'm not hunting down south, I will be in the woods somewhere close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So Last Night I Was out on Public for the first time. It was Beautiful and I Saw A very nice buck about 150yds away across a grassy field. He was moving late and I know roughly where he was bedded. I'm trying to put together a plan to go after him tomorrow night.

Has Anyone Else seen anything exciting on public land Yet?
 

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I passed up a small 7 pointer and a smaller 8 point. They were still moving together on Sunday. Pushing a small doe. Nothing big so far. I still get asked why didn't you shoot. The number of deer I pass on this public property is stupid, I'll use does for meat and wait on the buck I'm looking for or eat a tag soup sammich every single year. I'm going down to the private farm this weekend first time on the property. I know there are several nice bucks there but haven't ran a single camera all year. I want the element of surprise. The chasing should be heating up. I'm going to create some mock scraps in some known travel areas and do a bit of calling on the small side. When I saw that 180' it was the first time in 2 years ago, I hit the can with a grunt and here he came and my safety strap woudln't allow me a shot, as I had to turn around. I should have been patient bc he was walking left to right behind the way I was facing had I just waited for sure would have been able to turn to my left and get him.
 

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Well I can tell you, Saturday morning when that nice 8 point walked by I about crashed all my Booner or nothing talk. Why? Because they are hard to find and see. I pulled back my bow but just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger he was at 27 or so something like that. He was respectable but not booner and possibly on the Pope and Young line at 120'. Having the attitude of bigger is a very hard hunting lifestyle to deal with. The reason why is because even on private property unless strictly managed, you may never see the big ones. I hunt an unhunted 300 acres with alfalfa, limestone creek and a gynormous ridge that is about 200 acres in Greene County pretty much within a mile or 2 butting again Crane Naval base. I mean prime prime ground. I have seen 1 Booner deer my first morning in. Since I have saw up and comers. One morning I recorded 10 different bucks November 1st weekend 2 years ago. Only 1 was a Booner. He stayed in the thick stuff beating up a doe and chasing her around. One was a 140" high and tight 8 point, but since then no big deer on the hoof. I havent' shot so they have no idea we are there. Case and point as I was climbing my ladder saturday some kind of deer I assume a doe was directly eye level with me walking the ridge across the creek. She looked dead at me but didn't care I was moving or pulling up my bow. She or it just kept walking. I couldn't see just yet just the white of the legs and belly. If at some point, I do decide to remove all the Booner talk I must be happy with the buck I shoot becuase I've passed probably 20 small bucks. When I started that, I was hopeful and I still am but when you don't have your own farm to manage your own way, to grow and hold big deer now I understand what people were trying to tell me its almost impossible. Low pressure won't produce a booner. They may be there or walk through but unless you have everything they want which that farm does, you may never see one. I though so hard about my booner statement in the time after that buck walked by. 11:15am or so is when he did. I was sitting late on purpose way up that ridge on the acorns. Just the number of bucks I've NOT shot some small some a little bigger and 2 really really nice bucks because they weren't big enough. It sucks but be proud of your deer. I know I wish I could tag one. I just want to succeed and in the outdoor industry, I have proof in my email from Terry Drury himself, he said keep killing big deer, you wont make it. You can't make it unless you kill big deer or have a product that people want. I've ate tags for 4 years now waiting. People will be happy for you but nobody in the outdoor world respects small deer and that was my point. Sucks man sucks to want to succeed but not have the big deer to do so. I have shot does but even those won't get you respect. Only big deer will but its getting harder and harder to continue to pass decent bucks. I understand what everyone was trying to tell me now. Be proud brother public land bucks all are trophies because they are smart.
 
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