Great Northern Productions

Public Land Hunting Tips



Scout before you hunt. Springtime is the best time to look for buck sign left from the previous year. If you can't scout during the off-season then look for big deer sign during your hunt. A two-day Scouting trip can yield valuable information about a monster buck. Follow the rub-lines and you will find a buck's hideout. Make sure you cover a lot of ground.


Do your homework. If you're looking for a new place to hunt, research the area to find out if it's worth the effort. Go online to find license information, Harvest reports, and free hunting maps. We hunt on different public lands each year and we use the same techniques to find big Bucks. You must have confidence in your hunting area selection. Keep an open mind. When traveling to new hunting grounds, you must be able to hunt under different conditions than what you may be used to. Hunting deer in Iowa will be a lot different than hunting in Maine. Use commonsense and listen to the locals, they know the habits of the local deer and can give you many tips. Ask around, most whitetail hunters are happy to give out information.


Try different hunting techniques. The way you hunt at home may be unproductive in your new hot spot or even against the law. Don't be reluctant to try something new. You will be more successful if you use an open-minded approach.


Be ready to bailout. Sometimes a spot just isn't what you expected. Don't waste your entire hunting trip on a bad area. Areas that might be bad are places that have only a few deer or too much hunting pressure. You must be able to pack up and move to a better location, this will increase your odds. We camp in wall tents and we can pack up and be on the road in two hours. You should be willing to drive long distances to find big bucks.


Don't depend on maps to show you where the bucks are. I have never seen a map that shows deer sign on it. Maps are good for showing you roads, hunting zones, and overall terrain. Drive through an area, when you see something that looks like good deer habitat then get out and walk it over.


Hunt with the right partners. Driving 2000 miles and spending two weeks in the woods can put a friendship to the test. Try to hunt with someone that hunts like you. If you're a hard-core whitetail hunter and are planning a month long adventure, find someone that has been on long trips before. Some people can't handle the woods longer than a week. To pick a person that will share the expenses and is willing help you with camp chores. Hunting with large groups can be a nightmare. Keep the hunting party small and you will have a better hunting experience.


Tom Blais(left) and Chuck Harriman with two big woods bucks taken on state land.
Tom Blais(left) and Chuck Harriman with two big woods bucks taken on state land.

Toms old hunting partner Jeff Moore, with bucks they shot on a month long adventure.
Toms old hunting partner Jeff Moore, with bucks they shot on a month long adventure.

Tom Blais with a 10 pointer taken in 1994.
Tom Blais with a 10 pointer taken in 1994.

After three days on the track, Tom Blais got this 250 pound 10 pointer.
After three days on the track, Tom Blais got this 250 pound 10 pointer.


Jeff Moore with a 9 pointer that was aged at 10 1/2 years.
Jeff Moore with a 9 pointer that was aged at 10 1/2 years. Taken at noontime on thanksgivingday. Jeff and Tom were eating backstraps instead of turkey.
Toms hunting partner, Chuck Harriman with a 10 pointer he took in the mountains of the west.
Toms hunting partner, Chuck Harriman with a 10 pointer he took in the mountains of the west.


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