What are your thoughts? Pro's an Con's. I know a few people including family that continue to harvest large bucks off public.
Public vs Private
Fishnhunt you maybe right know one can know for shure.I had that land for 26 years paid a little over 200 an acre.It reallie depends on the stock market and the economy.Before I bought land I wasted a lot of money on buying trucks every couple years,now I run them for 18 years.LOL I will say this though having your own land is just fun.I hunt my land on week ends and public during the week.
I have to kindly disagree with Red Eagle when it comes to cameras. I 100% believe that if someone has a specific class of buck they want to hunt or a specific deer they want to hunt there is no way to improve your odds more than with cameras.
I believe scent control is great when hunting but in the summer checking cameras I sweat all over the place and even on my cameras and I get picture after picture after picture of 125-170" deer. If you are where the deer want to live and they realize you are not a threat you can condition them to your scent. Then hunting season rolls around and you go full scent control on them and they will think you were there an hour ago if they pick up your scent. Will it work for every deer... no... but more often then not I have had 0 issues with cameras moving the deer I am hunting around or making them nocturnal. Deer are crepuscular animals to start with so if your not getting slightly more after dark pics to start with you have something special going on.
I could be wrong on all of this too but my dang taxidermy bills since 2012 tell another story.
I think land will keep going up but its hard to believe it would go much higher than $6000 per acre. Too many people will not be able to afford it, but in todays world people have no problem taking out huge loans they probably can't afford and the banks have no problem giving it to them.
I like hunting both,I like to strap a stand on my back and hunt areas I have found bird hunting.That said buying land can be a good investment and for me has worked out well.I retired at 51and now have time to hunt the west more so I decided to sell some of my land made 6 times what I paid for it.Even with taxes that you can deduct, then there is logging can make good money if you are carefull.Better than throwing your money away on new trucks,atv's and boats every year.
I will never own Private land. I love hunting the big woods, especially with a bow. So far I have taken 125" class bucks or bigger each year for the past 4 years in the "Big Woods". I consider it a huge playground. No 4-wheeler sounds, tractors or people shouting. I can hunt red brush along a creek one day and the next day a pine thicket. I can strategize thermals, wind and a bucks bedding location. I can set up anywhere along the Big Buck's perceived route. To me, that is hunting.
When I used to hunt private more. I knew where the buck bedded and hoped he crossed the only trail on the 40 i hunted before it got dark. I feel most 40 acre properties have really only one true kill stand. And scratch my head when I hear of 3 guys or more hunting a forty. I feel like private land I'm restricted. When I know that Buck I'm after is literally bedded 75 yards on the backside of the neighbors posted sign but there's nothing I can do about it. As mentioned earlier it's "waiting" not really "hunting".
I am also a strong believer in scent control and the damage human scent does to a property. I have a buddy who scouts a few private parcels he hunts. He always sees big bucks in the fields from the vehicle mid summer. He then puts his cameras in July. Early season he has a few nice bucks at daylight, then those same bucks become night only pics. Then he sees nothing on stand in regards to mature bucks. Then gun season all the neighboring properties are shooting all the bucks he had on camera and says those neighbors just have better property and got lucky. And I tell him he's an idiot.
I also have another buddy who has permission to hunt a very good piece of property that's only 25 acres. However, he hunts it only once a year. And the last 3 years he has shot at least a 140" class buck off that property. Let's reiterate...he only puts foot on that property once a year! And that is the 1 day he hunts it! Even the landowner doesn't step foot on it. No game cameras, no scouting......nothing.
If you really want a piece of property to be the greatest deer hunting. You have to avoid it like the plague. Meaning no placement of cameras, putting up stands, nothing. I started doing this on a private piece I had permission on a few years back and killed a few nice bucks with this method until I lost permission due to the farmer leasing the land.
Now with that in mind. Would you pay the going rate to purchase land to not really be able to walk on the property and enjoy it? If you're fine harvesting antlerless deer and small bucks than that might be for you. But personally I can't justify the cost knowing what I know to kill a mature Whitetail. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's exceptions to the rule and many of you have killed big bucks on busy properties. However, give me the Big Woods any day of the week. And it's why I despise our Governor for the sale of Public Land.
I'd rather save the money from paying taxes on the land to go on out of state hunts and fishing trips to Canada. Sure the land will go up in value but I would be better off putting the land mortgage payments into retirement accounts and retiring early.
I will take the 200,000+ acres of public in the County I live in any day over any piece of private. I spread cameras out over a 20,000 acre area that is 90% public 11 miles north and south and 7 miles east and west. I usually always have a handful of P&Y class bucks to hunt. Once I find them I go to them and hunt them where they want to live. None of the sitting in the corner of my field hoping the big one jumped the fence from his bedding on the neighbors and is coming my way. You dont really "hunt" private land you "wait" for a deer to use your land. You can actually "hunt" big chunks of public because you can go to the deer.
Only way I would take private over public is if I had 800+ acres of contiguous private land. You need at least that much to be able to "hunt" a deer and not "wait" for a deer. If guys enjoy "waiting" I can understand that. Its far easier then what I do. I just enjoy doing things the way I do them and I have been pretty darn successful.
I was thinking about this on the way to work today.
I have a friend over in Marinette County would bought a nice chunk of private land. Idyllic setting, with a picturesque creek running through the property. My friend plants food plots and posts all his land QDM, and he takes some amazing bucks off that property every year.
While I have a certain degree of envy about his property (because of the beauty of that particular piece of land, moreso than the deer that inhabit it) I'm still "pretty darn happy" with my postage stamp of Nicolet National Forest, and the 1000s of magnificent scenic places I have seen out there over the past 50 years.
Staring out over a cut cornfield from an elevated, heated stand has no particular appeal to me. Corny as it may sound, I prefer my very public stump in the Nicolet, where my dog used to lay across my feet just to make sure she knew the instant I got up from a moment's rest to continue our grouse hunt. If there was any justice I would be buried in that soil, to feed the worms and the scavengers. Who cares once you're dead.
I suspect you can love public land just as much as private land. I see so few hunters out there these days it seems like nobody (other than folks reading this) really care about the land anymore any way. Every moment I spend in the Nicolet there is one poignant verse from Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" that is always on my mind, and it my heart. Leopold offered “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question of whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.”
I, most certainly, am one who cannot.