Hunting State Game Lands vs Hunting Private Land PA

So far this season I have hunted on highly managed state game lands 5 different times on different stands. The land is highly managed by the state such as they plant food plots, manage oak stands, clear cut areas and fence them in to allow regrowth. There is a ton of deer sign and we scouted it faithfully preseason and got a lot of great pictures of deer and buck before opening day. With that being said I have noticed a significantly better hunting experience hunting private land than I have public this season.

The above picture shows a great shooter on state game lands in Pennsylvania. So here are the stats I have sat on stand on state game lands 5 total times for a  total of 14.25 hours. Each time was at different locations I have yet to see a single deer. I travel on average 1/2 miles in and have walked as far as 1.60 miles to remote areas. I hunt on travel corridors around heavy deer sign, I use a climber stand, am extremely annal about scent control. I keep all my cloths in a separate tub all hunting season, get dressed in the field, spray cover scent on every layer. I also take showers before hunts using scent free soap plus scent free deodorant. I pay strict attention to wind direction and bedding areas to food sources and will not hunt a stand if the wind is in the wrong direction. I hunt prime hunting hours 2 hours before dark and 2 hours after first light.

Now on my private ground hunts I have gone out a total of 12 times this season and have been on stand for 25 hours. I have seen a total of 38 deer of which 11 were buck, 3 were shooters (You will have to read my other posts as to why I didn't bag one of those.) I have seen on average 1.55 deer per hour and 0.45 buck per hour. Meaning if I hunt 2 hours I should have at least seen 2 deer with one being a buck. My doe to buck ration is 2.45. Again I use the same tactics as hunting State Game Lands, hunt over the same sign and the same kind of travel corridors.

Why don't you see as many deer on state game lands? There is food, cover, water and most times thousands of acres for the deer to roam. The first reason is there are a lot of people hunting public ground, killing lots of deer. The herds are thinner than private ground and the deer are a whole lot more pressured. They avoid areas where people hunt until after dark or altogether. The average hunter has to travel further to get away from pressure. Even then the deer are more primed to move as near dark as possible. 

I haven't hunted during rifle season just archery so I am assuming the added pressure can help see more deer if guys are shooting and kicking deer around. But hunting natural movement is extremely difficult in Pennsylvania on State land, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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