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So, I think we’ve all heard the public vs private debate; I’m wondering this communities perspective? I like the solitude of knowing you are the only one (hopefully) hunting your private parcel. I also like being able to wander thru the wilderness and explore public land.

There is no right or wrong answer, what’s your take?
 

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Ive hunted both and enjoy both differently. We hunted 200+ acres in cold water for about 5 years. Mostly crop with small 2-5 acres of wooded. The buck sign, scrapes and rub lines were like hunting shows. The deer acted differently and the pressure was different. I learned the most about buck sign and scouting on that private property. Then we moved north to Atlanta/Lewiston after my hunting buddy moved and, although the owner was still a good friend, the experience changed and hunting alone was weird. The north area was 92 square miles of state. Endless hills, acorns and rifles hunters I found hard to tolerate. That’s when I switched mostly to archery. I found the pressure much less and the deer moved normally. The scouting I learned in the prime area helped dramatically and I found some prime spots no one else would venture because it was too far off the two track...most who hunt up north venture very short off a two track...two totally different adventures that I wouldn’t change either. I also learned how to use a grunt in cold water...way more visible deer and I could mess with the call to see how the deer reacted...now I’m still up north but hunt 15 acres of private that buts up to federal (a lot)...still focused on archery
 

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Hunting in the U. P. as I do makes the distinction between private and public less distinct than it may be elsewhere. Toss in CFR land that is private with public access, and every thing is even more blurred. That said, I don't experience much difference between the two.
 

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I have a 40 in the western UP, but unfortunately am unable to get up that way very often. On that end, it’s nice, because I clear where/when I want, I can leave a stand behind without fear of theft, and I can manage how or when we go in and out of certain areas. In truth though, that parcel is surrounded by thousands of acres of CFR land, and while we do hunt some on our own, we actually have greater success travelling deep into areas on the CFR where other folks rarely go. That is truly big woods country up there, and I swear if you put the time in, there are areas where the last person any deer probably saw was when it was last cut a few decades ago.

Closer to home, I hunt primarily public. I live on a wooded 4 acres, which is nice enough to provide solitude, but it really doesn’t lend itself to hunting well given the size and proximity of neighbors. I have some access to a few other private locations, and do ok early, but later in the season they seem to catch on to hunter movement due to the smaller size of the tracts. On private, my tactics are much the same as in the UP. Though the acreage is smaller down here, there are still some very large public tracts, where given some effort you can bury yourself deep enough in to where you’ll rarely if ever run across another hunter. Each year varies, but I try to spend a ton of time out there in September. I feel it helps two ways… one, the serious daily competition gets used to where my truck parks and they find their own spots, and two, I cover a lot of area trying to pattern the deer movement, so I’m in a sense ruling out locations as much or more than I am finding spots to set-up. In my experience, the weekend warriors, don’t venture far from their trucks, so if you can avoid the guys that truly put the time in, and you’re far enough into a plot, you’ll rarely encounter them.

At the end of the day, find the areas nobody else is willing to go, and public can be just as productive as private.
 

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In the lower lower definitely private. It's still the luck of the draw with the 10 acre plot you get stuck on but there not much public.

In the upper lower definitely public. The flexibility of thousands and thousands of acres makes up for the other hunters.
 
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I have access to some good private land which is awesome, no other fools to deal with, no theft, unpressured deer unless we pressure them, and ability to improve habitat and control the harvest. However, I am more of a scout and find deer type than a build it and they will come type. I love scouting and finding bucks and setting up on them. But public land can be very frustrating too. I like both I guess.
 

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I’ve been fortunate to hunt private my whole life started hunting a 100 acre farm in the thumb when I was 12 never hunted anywhere else I’m 50 now I own 38 acres of it.I’m also 1 hour from house to tree stand.
 

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I use to hunt both with the nod to public most of the time. As i get older and lazier i tend to predominately hunt my private. I feel like I hunted deer on public land while on private I shoot what happens to be there.
 

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Up this way there are less people on public land than private. Aside from the roads, where you park or at a trail head it’s a rarity to see another hunter.
I have been hunting public land in NELP for nearly 15years and what Luv says about his area is certainly true for ours. We see far less deer up north than we do on the private that we hunt near Montrose but we all love the solitude and the deer camp life up north.
 

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I have access to some good private land which is awesome, no other fools to deal with, no theft, unpressured deer unless we pressure them, and ability to improve habitat and control the harvest. However, I am more of a scout and find deer type than a build it and they will come type. I love scouting and finding bucks and setting up on them. But public land can be very frustrating too. I like both I guess.
If you have private land don’t hunt it regularly unless it’s managed properly


Sent from my iPhone using Michigan Sportsman mobile app
 

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If I had 3000 acres of private ground to hunt, I might be happy. (Maybe?) But I don't. I hunt a couple of farms that have about 150 acres of some real good deer habitat and I really enjoy hunting there. But man, there is something about grabbing a gun and hitting thousands of acres of public that I just can't shake! (Deer and especially turkey) My mind set when hunting large tracts is "If it ain't happening here, it might be happening over that next ridge" and away I go. Limitless boundaries can make up for the inconveniences that you might experience on public.
 

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I have hunted lots of public and private land over the years. I consider myself blessed to live on 60 acres of great deer hunting ground and the opportunity to walk out my door to hunt or work on the habitat. As others have said the draw of public land to me is exploring new ground and the wonder of what’s over the next ridge or on the other side of the creek. As I get older it’s more about getting out and enjoying creation than taking a deer, so public ground ranks right up there with my private.
 

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I've hunted the same tract of state land for 44 seasons now, I've seen that piece go from mature trees taken out, to sampling/brush and actually one section be cut again since. I went through my notes, kill tags etc and figured out that between 1976 and 2006 my success rate on the piece of land is 68%, this does include doe's taken in archery and a few years with multiple deer taken. Around 2006 I started hunting for mature bucks, allowing 6's and 8's to walk, my rate dropped a lot.
In 2005-6 I started hunting the late season on my BIL's farm, so "getting venison" was no longer an issue, so I made a personal choice to allow them to grow on the state land and enjoy watching them more than kill.

As long as I'm able, I will continue to go to deer camp in North Central LP Michigan, camp is what I really enjoy. The ability to walk out spend days never seeing the same woods and stalk hunting is my hunting style of choice. I've killed several bucks stalk hunting with a vertical bow and feel that to be my favorite hunts. Hunting my BIL's 220 acres (mostly ag) is nice to take a deer, it is NO challenge at all, walkout sit down, wait an hour, bang, go get the tractor.

We normally don't get a lot of pressure around us, but we set-up a big camp, most just turn around a drive away. We cannot "manage" what is taken at the woods up-north, but we have actually seen an increase of nice mature bucks on camera, just don't always catch up to them before it's time to head home.
 
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