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.