How to Add One New Hunting Spot to Your Whitetail Roster

How to Add One New Hunting Spot to Your Whitetail Roster

Options are your friend when it comes to whitetail spots. The smaller the property, the more limited your setups are (and the more you’ll probably struggle). This is a malady that affects an awful lot of deer hunters, but it doesn’t need to be so prevalent.

Some of this is just due to laziness on our part. Finding a new spot can be a pain, so it’s easier to default to a tried and true property. Part of it is also comfort, as well. It’s much easier to hunt a parcel that you’re familiar with than to strike out and learn a new one.

Easy isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to deer hunting. Finding just one solid alternative to your current spot is a good idea for two reasons. The first is obvious—you’ll have more ground to hunt. The second is that it’ll force you to scout, hunt, and learn something new, which is a net benefit to becoming better overall.

There are a few ways to go about this, all of which might result in expanding your deer hunting horizons this season.

Networking Works, Sometimes

My twin daughters have a friend who lives about five minutes from us. When I went to pick the girls up at her house after a recent sleepover, I not surprisingly noticed that she had a big, wooded yard. In a conversation with her dad during pickup, he said they owned 25 acres. He also said he bowhunts it sometimes but doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

That was music to my ears on a few levels. He is looking for some guidance on bowhunting and has a spot big enough that it’s worth hunting. It’s win, win. Especially since he told me he is a big fan of venison, and the area he lives offers unlimited antlerless tags.

Sometimes hunting spots fall into your lap, but most of the time they don’t. The thing is, if you’re not open to the possibility, then it’s never going to happen. There might be someone in your circle who could provide an opportunity for you to hunt their land, or make a connection with someone else who has some dirt.

This occasionally happens, but it always comes with some caveats. That’s okay, I’d rather hunt only does, or hunt only after the gun season is over, or whatever, than not have a new spot to hunt at all. Keep your ears open for the possibility that someone you know might be willing to let you hunt, and then follow their rules.

Knock, Knock

In May, I spent some time in Nebraska turkey hunting with Sam Soholt. Sam is a personable guy who is not afraid to knock on a few doors. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even consider that strategy when we met up. We had plenty of public land to roam so that is where I planted my flag for the week, but Sam is always looking for a new spot.

He wasn’t successful on that trip, but it didn’t cost him anything to try. Cold calling at someone’s doorstep is a long shot, but it’s not an impossibility. There are landowners out there who are willing to let you hunt, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Good Enough Ground

If you strike out networking and door-knocking, don’t fret. Figure out how much public land is within a reasonable driving distance, and then start scouting. I know it’s hard for most hunters who have something private to hunt, to then decide they’ll spend some time on public. But the truth is, despite the constant complaining that there are no good hunts left on public dirt, you can find something worthwhile.

The best way to think about this is that scouting public dirt is a great way to complement your current spots. It’s not a replacement, but an addition that will allow you to hunt more when you have the time.

The key, like most things in whitetail hunting, is to put in the work. Don’t just walk the main paths, don’t just look at only the field edges, but really scout. Take a deep dive into various properties with some sort of loose plan, and then use onX to drop waypoints and take notes.

One river crossing or one terrain trap, tucked deep into a piece of public land, might be all you need to give yourself another option. The same rules apply to any property you can tack onto your fall roster, honestly.

Start looking now. It’s only a couple of months until the opener, and the effort to find one new spot is always worth it, even if you already have a place to hunt.

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