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Thread: Advice on Hunting Public Land

  1. #1
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    Advice on Hunting Public Land

    I'll start off with a little background, my dad and I are both from Pennsylvania, and we've been hunting together since I was able to hunt. I am in my last semester of college, finishing up my master's degree and I was fortunate enough to not have classes friday-monday this fall so as a last hunting season together we decided to chase some whitetails in Ohio, in hopes of running into an Ohio Buck

    Last fast we went on a hunt in Zanesville ohio, paying the land owner $400 a day. I saw some scrub 6's and a 4 and a decent 8 on the last day but we walked home empty handed, we decided we were not going to do this again and use that money for gas and board and hunt public land and take a crack at it ourselves. We hunted extended gun in Shenango Wildlife last December, saw lots of does but not bucks, and I wasn't interested in shooting a doe b/c of the hassle it is to bring it back to Pa, we seemed to have better luck than other people that weren't seeing anything, granted we walked for a solid 45 minutes deep along the swamp to where we were.

    My question to everyone out there is there a game lands in Ohio you would recommend? My dad and I were looking at Dillon because when hunting in Zanesville the otehr hunters at the motel were talking with us and said they hunted in Dillon and have had a lot of luck there in the previous years.

    Has anyone hunted Dillon and had a successful season there? Or would recommend another public area in Ohio? Or even know of a farmer that allows hunters on their property? I know this is asking for a lot and many thanks to whoever responds, you can PM if you like also.

    Once again, thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    Hello Teej89 I'm definatly not a authority on this subject but I have been hunting Ohio for the last 3 years all public land and I have definayly had some highs and lows. First the first year was just trial and error I didnt know anything about hunting that type of ground. I'm from Va. all we have is swamps and cutovers very little open hardwoods. That first year I saw 13 different bucks and the smallest in the 140 range,although I didnt harvest a deer that year I had a great year, seeing 2 of the biggest bucks I have ever seen. I was hooked. The next 2 years were not so good, weather was horriable hunted some new terrian that was knarly and back breaking I didnt see as many bucks I did harvest a couple nice 8 pointers, I got hung up hunting 1 buck and with the combination of weather and wind He won. The best advice I can give you is decide what area of public land you want to hunt and get topo maps and study them, If you have the time take a couple trips there preseason and scout so when you get there to hunt your not plundering around trying to hunt and scout at the same time. I'm actually headed to Ohio next week to scout and GPS different stands so I will have multiple stand placements, because what i have found is the weather up there is very unpredictable and I pay alot of attention to the wind. I'm not familiar with the Dillon area I hunt southern Ohio in the Wayne National Forest. If you have any questions feel free to give me a call 757-653-6336.

    Chad

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    I th ink i've heard of wayne actually, from my dad that, its just south of zanesville near blue rock right? We were also thinking about hunting blue rock.

    Basically at this point our game plan is to find an area we want to hunt then sit down and study maps and the weekend of sept 1 we are going to go there and scout out and lay trail cams then come back in 2 weeks and pick up the cams and pick out trees and GPS them for when the season arrives.

    Is wayne crowded though? All I've heard about Dillon is that yes it has good deer but that's if you don't mind constantly bumping elbows with other hunters. They also say if you sit all day the other hunters being there and leaving to go to lunch works to you advantage. Which we always stay in the woods dawn to dusk during the rut, there really isn't a good time to leave the woods during the rut ya know?

    I don't want to impose but is there any are in wayne that you would recommend to check out? I'm at work right now so I dont have the time to check out topo's currently. You can pm me or e-mail me at tkleinosky@gmail.

    -T.J.

  4. #4
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    I see you hunted Shenago.I hunt the northern part of the state and have also hunted there.There are some other good public lands not very far from there.Grand River is a huge chunk of land 13000 acres.We've spent a good deal of time there the last few years.Managed to get a good 8 scoring in the 120's.Saw a good share of bucks,and even saw a couple of real butes.Mosquito creek is another area in NE Ohio that has a little over 1000 acres of public hunting land.But the whole area is much bigger,you can only hunt a certain area.We stay at a State Campground and travel to the hunting areas.We always go around the last week of Oct.,and during the week,pretty much have the public areas to ourselves.If you don't mind walking a little.you can get into some decent areas that hold deer.Weekends and Fridays the hunter traffic picks up quite a bit.And Grand River releases a lot of pheasants around the first week of Nov.,so it gets busy along the roads there the first few days.If you want any more info,drop me a pm.Good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member mrbb's Avatar
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    well I am from PA and have been hunting ohio for about 14 yrs now

    I have hunted both private and public lands
    and there are great lands all over SE ohio, you have to go and spend some time scouting to get into better areA'S

    Nthing beats going there and learning the better areas, as every thing can change from season to season, just taking advice from hunters in a hotel your staying at isn't good way to find better spots

    if you hunted a area where you seen lots of doe, you are in a good area, as where there are doe there are for sure bucks
    I would start looking more at the area you already know some what, and pick it apart for better set up spots, you KNOW there are deer there

    the Wayne is a great place, but its BIG and in many areas in SE ohio, and it gets a lot of coverage in magazines, but still lots of room if you try to find it, its a mix of bigger woods and crop lands, and steep and flat too!

    I would suggest if you plan to hunt it to stop at the head quarters and get good maps, and even to ask local rangers for advice on where to try, they work there every day so can telel you where recent logging has happened, and maybe even where there seeing bigger bucks
    AND for sure what areas get the most pressure as well as crop damage deer problems

    at $400 bucks a day you got taken I think, that is what a full blow guided hunt should run or heck, seen many for a lot less!

    Ohio has lots of big bucks, but they are not easy, you still have to do your part
    no single area is a sure deal
    also, hunting in the early season always has less perssure, most guys hunt the rut, so when hunting public lands, I suggest maybe you go early in the season rather than wait till the rut or gun season!
    this yr, I would also be hunting water

    good luck

    what part of PA are you from??

  6. #6
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    Great guys thanks for all your posts, I think we are narrowing it down to dillon and Wayne just south west of zanesville near blue rock, also going to stop in blue rock too. We're gonna make a 4 day scout trip in two weeks in those areas, hopefully finding some spots with potential.

    Mrbb I will definitely talk to the rangers there thanks for the pointer on that. Also I'm from Hollidaysburg just 45 minutes west of Penn State.

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