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What to do when you lose your land?

10/26/21 @ 12:47 PM

I have been hunting on private land in Dodge county for quite some time.  The second day of archery season, I was told that the family would be hunting it from now on and that I was immediately done.  I knew it wasn't going to last forever, but I wish I would have known about it a little earlier.  So, over the course of two weekends, I packed up all my treestands and tripods, and left the property.

I am probably going to take a year off to regroup.  However, I am a little lost as to what to do now.  The property I was on was about 350 acres and I did everything there...archery, gun, turkey, waterfowl, small game, etc.

I started looking into possibly buying property but I don't know if the price of land justifies how little time I will have to spend on it.  

My second thought was leasing so I looked into the site basecamp leasing .com and found out that their top of the line membership was 250 bucks which gets you a 10 day advance notice on leases.  I called one of the reps who was very nice, but explained to me that a large majority of their leasers have this top of the line membership so I would be competing with a large number of hunters also looking for a lease and that the majority of the leases get renewed year after year.  I started looking into how many leases different counties had to offer through this company and the average was about 6 per county.  Some had only 3, some 7, and some counties had zero.  With that few number of total leases available, that doesn't seem like the odds would be in my favor.

My third option would be to hunt public and although I am not against it, I've also never done it before and I have no idea what type of competition I would be up against.  

My final thought is to give up deer hunting altogether, sell all my stands, guns, etc. and get a bird dog and a boat and start upland hunting for pheasants, grouse, and woodcock and fish in the offseason.  I love bird hunting, I love dogs, and I feel like my wife and I could enjoy this together.  She doesn't hunt, but she loves hiking.  

Right now I am living in Janesville, but we are planning on moving north this summer.  I am not sure where yet (fox valley, oshkosh, waupaca area possibly.  We want to get closer to our families and this area would be ideal.

What have some of you guys done when private land was no longer available.  Where did you have the best luck securing leases (craigslist, facebook, hearsay, door to door, private companies)?  Any of you just decide to transition to public land and if so, how did that go?  Anyone here just give up deer hunting altogether?  

This land was my absolute little piece of heaven and I didn't think it would affect me this much but it's all I think about lately, especially as we head into the rut.  Thanks for reading, thanks for any comments, and thanks for any suggestions.


11/3/21 @ 10:56 PM

I would like to buy ground with the proper plan in place. A group gets together and buys ground in 3-4 states so we can hunt as a group in every state. Has to be OTC states and non-overlapping openers. 

11/3/21 @ 10:48 AM

Every piece of property that I hunted that I didn't own I eventually lost. People die or move away. I finally decided it was time to buy my own. Best choice I ever made. Expensive but a very good investment. I know I could sell and make money on it. I like the thought that when I am gone hopefully my grandkids have the desire to hunt. Only going to get more difficult with every generation. If you have the means find a piece of ground. I may not get the biggest bucks or see the most deer but I can do whatever I want when I want. Somedays I just sit in the tree and enjoy the thought that the property is mine. I find real joy in owning land. It is a 12 month enjoy. Trail cams to mowing lanes to setting up stands. Even wood cutting on my own property is more enjoying.

11/3/21 @ 9:49 AM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

I ran into the same thing.  Had 2 different properties to hunt and over a 3 year period, the old farmers died and their kids sold it off for the money.  Hard for me to ask permission because it feels like begging.  Seems like a thing of the past anyways unless you know someone or the people hate deer, in which case they let everyone there. Wife and I debated buying hunting land, but can't justify it for a small portion of the year only.  If we buy anything it will be waterfront that we can use all year long, in the northwoods where there already is plenty of land to hunt on.

I started hunting mostly public lands now aside from behind my house where my neighbor lets me mess around. I still shoot deer every year.  Archery is far better than gun season though.  If I hold out for a big buck I might not, but usually I always get chances at does or some smaller bucks.  That's with very little effort of my own.  I'll use satellite views to find areas I'm interested in, then grab my climber and see what it looks like.  Walk around until I find decent sign and climb up a tree.  I rarely sit the same tree, always moving and trying things until I find something that works out.  Then I have that spot for next year, etc.  By now I have enough spots built up that I can't even hunt them all.  Backups for the backups haha.  With public land you just have to figure out how to hunt around people by reducing their impacts to your hunt.

11/2/21 @ 9:48 PM

I don't live in Wisconsin. I only come there to steal fish and deers. Grouse someday if I ever self motivate.

11/2/21 @ 8:44 PM
USER SINCE 6/20/01

Try Horicon marsh,40.000 acres.

11/2/21 @ 3:44 PM

Got a new one! I had a pheasant hunt scheduled with a buddy on his in-laws ground for this weekend. It's supposed to be 60 degrees, I would much rather fish than shoot pheasants. He texts me that we have to find public ground because his in-laws all have Covid, lol. Well that ain't happening. No way am I hunting public ground in 60* weather when I can be in the boat.

10/30/21 @ 1:56 PM
USER SINCE 2/13/10

You can camp on county forest, in some counties, for 5 or 10 bucks a day. We duck hunt on a nice campsite. in the co forest. We brings tents, tables, stove... its a blast with 4 guys. We could do the same and archery or gun hunt it for deer. The key to gun hunting public land, if you are hunting from a stand, is to walk a long way in and stay all day, and hunt the same land evey year. You have to "claim" your spot, and get there early. The lazy hunters will push deer to you. When i was young and didnt have any warm cloths or a tree stand, i would walk way back to the middle of a large public land tract.  I would get wet and sweated up and freeze my but by 9:30. For like 4 years in a row, i got up to warm up and walk a little... scared some nice deer away!!!!  Got  a few, but if i knew then what i know now.....

10/30/21 @ 9:28 AM
USER SINCE 12/20/12

Nothing "shallow" hookem. Life is short. If circumstances are not to your liking, might be worth making changes and doing something about it.

To the OP, I'd add that it would certainly be worth spending some time knocking on doors and inquiring about archery opportunities.  Doing so is out of the comfort zone of many but with the right attitude I believe private access is still possible here in Central WI. 

I live on some prime deer property. In the last 15 years I believe there has only been 1 person who has knocked on the door and inquired about hunting permission.  I would conclude there aren't as many people out there willing to put in the effort required to gain private property access as one might suspect. 

10/30/21 @ 6:53 AM
USER SINCE 3/23/20

The same thing happened to me just different reason. So my aunt and uncle own a cabin on 10 acres but hunting was not really good there so we would go to my aunt's sister's 80 acre farm 8 miles away and man it was awesome memories of great hits and the ones that got away we still talk about but then they got a divorce and my uncle got the cabin and 10 acres and my aunt's sister said no more access to the 80 acre farm so we tried public around the are with limited success. It still sucks not being able to go to a spot you know will give you a chance. But since your in my shoes I'd get some buddies to go in with you on a good lease that's the best advice I can give you. And I'm not saying you can't find a good spot on public land in the end I tell all my friends hunting or fishing enjoy it cause it might no last and it's come true more than once. Best of luck hopefully you find a spot.

10/30/21 @ 5:17 AM

I'm very sorry about your daughter. It's surprising that your marriage survived that. Statistics show that losing a child is very hard on marriage. My sister died at 13, I was 7. I have seen the destruction that a child's death brings on others and in my own life.

If I were you, I would get a couple pointers and hunt birds from Canada to Arizona quail. Wife on board and no kids, the world is your oyster. Go get em. Ruffed grouse, sharptails, prairie chicken, huns, pheasants, quail, chukar, sage grouse. Maybe, if you are brave, a Himalayan Snowcock. Have fun.

I almost forgot ptarmigan. Some places have a 100 bird daily limit for ptarmigan. Bring your wagon to haul them. 

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