Check with the Army
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (www.usa.gov/directory/federal/army-corps-of-engineers.shtml or call 202-761-0011) manages some of the best river-bottom hardwood lands in this nation – often only small easements or little blocks measuring 20 to 40 acres, but also deer rich – on many major waterways throughout the nation.
Think about Power
Power companies in many states have large land holdings along major reservoirs and lakes that they’ve helped to create to generate power. Oftentimes by checking with the land office of the power company, you’ll discover plenty of lands you can hunt with a permit. Timber companies, coal companies and large industrial companies too may have large land holdings that you can lease or hunt by purchasing a permit.
Consider Wildlife Refuges and the U. S.Forest Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has thousands of acres in its wildlife refuges under federal protection. To learn the location of wildlife refuges you can hunt as well as get free maps, visit the website at http://refuges.fws.gov/ and choose “Visitors” and then “Hunting” to learn more too.
Don’t forget the U.S. Forest Service with its millions of acres open to the hunter. To receive maps of lands located in Alabama under jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service and open to the public for hunting, go to www.fs.usda.gov/alabama or call 334-832-4470. Or, you can visit the website of recreational opportunities on federal lands at http://www.fs.fed.us/, and find direct links to federal lands that permit public hunting.
Check State Hunting Lands
Although state hunting lands usually receive plenty of hunting pressure during the season, they stillcan provide good hunting for you when you don’t have land to hunt. But before you hunt public lands, you must understand several principles for finding deer on public-hunting lands.
* Move as far as you can from public-access areas to see more game. Most public-land hunters generally will stay within 1/4- to 1/2-mile of their vehicles or a road. If you travel 1 – 2 miles away from an access point, you drastically increase your odds for seeing deer.
* Go into the woods 2 to 3 hours before daylight to reach your hunting area to beat other hunters to premium hunt sites.
* Stay on your stand, or continue to hunt until the last minute of legal shooting time. You’ll need to know how to use a compass and a map as well as a hand-held GPS receiver when you hunt public lands.
* Don’t tell anyone where you hunt on public lands.
* Don’t leave any signs in the woods to indicate where you’ve hunted.
By: John E. Phillips, longtime avid deer hunter