13 Things Public Land Deer Hunters Despise You For

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

A baker's dozen list of offenses sure to irritate your public-hunting peers

Public-land deer hunting might be more popular right now than it's ever been. It can be as good as private land hunting, too, but with some subtle twists. There are some unspoken rules of the road so if you're a public land hunter, avoid doing these 13 things, for the sake of us all. 

(Editor's Note: This gallery was originally published in June of 2017.)

 

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1 | Stomping to Your Treestand

Even though two-legged animals don’t sound like four-legged ones, a hunter might think you’re an approaching deer if you walk loudly through the woods. So the primary reason to walk quietly is safety. But it's a courtesy to other hunters, too. You don't want to spook deer for anyone, right? 

Image by Jesse Garrett

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Scouting and Hanging Stands During Prime Time

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2 | Scouting and Hanging Stands During Prime Time

Have respect for others. Don’t be walking through the woods, scouting, or hanging treestands during the last 30 minutes of shooting light. You're probably spooking deer from the spots you want to hunt, and you're disrupting other hunters who've waited patiently for the best part of the day. 

Image by Realtree

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Failing to Watch the Clock

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3 | Failing to Watch the Clock

Many public lands have strict rules on legal entry and exit times. Pay attention to legal shooting light, too. Nobody likes to hear gun shots go off on the next ridge five minutes before legal light begins. 

It’s also important to walk to and from your stands at times when it’ll affect other hunters the least. If you can only hunt for an hour or two, choose a stand location with an entry and exit route that won’t affect other nearby hunters as much.

Image by Brad Herndon

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Hiking, Riding, and Bird Watching During Peak Hunting Hours

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4 | Hiking, Riding, and Bird Watching During Peak Hunting Hours

Nothing against non-consumptive public-land users. I like to hike and ride horses both, and I love watching nature. But dadgumit, there’s no worse feeling than a horse or hiker spooking a deer as it’s walking into range.

Shutterstock Image

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Purposely Sabotaging Someone’s Hunt

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5 | Purposely Sabotaging Someone’s Hunt

Don’t steal cameras. Don’t take treestands. Don’t interfere with someone’s hunt in any way, shape or form. It's all illegal. 

Image by Dmitry Galaganov / Shutterstock

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Hunting in Someone Else

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6 | Hunting in Someone Else's Treestand

Technically this is legal to do in many states. If a treestand is unattended by a certain time, it’s fair game. That doesn't make it right. Do the work and hang your own stand. Don’t mooch off of someone else and reap the rewards from their labor.

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Sharing Secrets

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7 | Sharing Secrets

Never share a hunting spot that someone else shows you with someone else. That’s a good way to never get invited hunting again. If you want to take someone new out hunting, take them to a place you found yourself. 

Photo by author

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Setting Up Too Close

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8 | Setting Up Too Close

Remember the phrase, “first come, first served?” It applies to public land hunting. If someone else is already hunting in a spot, or if there’s already a stand there, find another location to hunt. Don’t hang a stand 10, 20, or even 100 yards away from theirs. No one likes to feel pressured. 

Photo by Brad Herndon

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Claiming a Deer You Didn

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9 | Claiming a Deer You Didn't Shoot

This is about as bad as it gets. If you didn’t shoot it, don’t claim it. If someone else mortally wounds the deer before you shoot it, it’s theirs. If they didn’t mortally wound it, and you get a crack at it, it’s yours. That should be simple. 

Photo by author 

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Dumping Your Gut Pile in Sight

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10 | Dumping Your Gut Pile in Sight

Are you that hunter that dumps the guts right where you (and others) hunt? Don’t be. It’s inconsiderate. No one wants to see gut piles or watch vultures from their stand. 

Photo by Bill Konway

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Making Fun of Others

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11 | Making Fun of Others' Deer

Are you a game shamer? Then shame on you. Every legally taken wild deer is a trophy, regardless of size, and especially on public land. Your personal trophy standards have no bearing on someone else's decision to fill a tag. 

Photo by author

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Not Respecting the Land

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12 | Not Respecting the Land

It’s illegal to litter. It’s disrespectful to the land and critters that call the place home. It’s disrespectful to all of the other hunters who use that piece of ground, too. So don't do it. Carry all of your trash out with you.

Photo by Celyi / Shutterstock

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Embellishing Stories of Giant Bucks

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13 | Embellishing Stories of Giant Bucks

We all have that little fisherman inside us who likes to make things seem bigger and grander than they really are. But there comes a point in any legendary tale where enough is enough. Don't tell someone you saw (or killed) a Booner if you're not even sure it'd meet Pope & Young minimum requirements. Tell it like it is, brother. There's nothing wrong with the truth. 

Photo by author

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5 Deer Hunters Who Tick Everyone Off

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14 | 5 Deer Hunters Who Tick Everyone Off

Not a public land hunter? Just need to know what not to be as a private lander? Here's five hunters who tick everyone off.

Illustration Credit: Ryan Orndorff

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