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chucker34

Public Land Archery Hunt

18 posts in this topic

Anyone have any suggestions for great hunts up north on public land in Minnesota? Maybe a national forest of large WMA? Not asking for you to give up honey holes, just wondering in general. I'm thinking about trying to head outside my normal hunting area for a weekend.

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The state is big. Where abouts?

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May as well post this on the same thread. I was also thinking of trying a different area this year. Sometime late in October, a buddy and myself want to try bowhunting the Schoolcraft State Game Refuge near Bemidji for a weekend. Has anyone hunted this area? It's archery only for deer so theoretically, it should be good bowhuntn' quality? Is it loaded with trails? Are there a lot of grouse hunters that hit the area? Any insight would help

Muzzy

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If your looking for some public land http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/landview.html On the left select the State Parks/WMA buttons and then go to the bottom and click Lakes/Rivers and also 2004 USGS Metroarea Photography and after having all clicked click the Redraw Map button on the bottom. Then after doing all these weird steps click an area of the map and zoom in and see how things are in the area. After you found a WMA or something like that it will say it's name and then unclick those options and then you can see what it looks like from an aerial view. We use it a lot of finding public hunting and to see what it looks like from an aerial then if it looks promising enough to check out by land.

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There is a detailed map book available at the dnr bookstore or your local sporting goods stores. It is around $22. It is the book to purchase for any hunter who wants to venture to new hunting areas.

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P.R.I.M. maps showing every forest, WMA, WPA, game refuges, etc! DNR or retail stores have them! Around 5 bucks per map.

Good Luck! grin.gif

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Thanks guys. I'm pretty much open to trying out any new area of the state. Was just wondering if anyone had any favorites without disclosing the exact location. i.e, "I like to go to the Superior National Forest near so and so, etc."

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My favorite is to hunt in the woods. Preferably between food sources and bedding spots.

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Thanks for all the specific answers guys. : ) Seriously, though, thanks for the responses.

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Archery in the big woods can be tough. Generally fewer deer than in farm country. Also, much more cover and much, much larger home ranges so the deer are much harder to pattern.

I don't have any specific areas for you, but instead of trying to hunt big woods like a National Forest where you have miles upon miles of nearly identical terrain and cover, I would suggest trying to find areas with a mix of different terrains types such as hardwoods, softwoods, swamps, field edges, grasslands, etc. as I think it will be easier to hone in on travel patterns.

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I'm from the area and have not tried schoolcraft, but have heard it is really good. I just got a new climber so I plan to get out there. Two weeks to go!

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I thought I'd give the area a try to do something different. Maybe hit a couple of swamps like perchjerker said to do. Ya never know!

Muzzy

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If you hunt Schoolcraft, be prepared for a little disapointment. They are logging in the refuge 10 months out of the year. You can almost see from one end to the other without a tree in site. There is lots of hunters and not many woods, getting alot harder to hunt. When you think you found something good, well so has 10 other guys. All the potlatch is getting leased also, less and less places to hunt. Good Luck.

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I'll vouch for you on that one Gerry. I made the mistake of hunting Schoolcraft on a weekend. I should have known when I stopped at Park Rapids library to make some copies of the Plat book and noticed that the page with Schoolcraft was the only one bookmarked. Plus I didn't realize that so much of it was private land.

Nels

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Thanks for the heads up guys...just the advice I was looking for. My buddy and I are now thinking of hittin' some public land in southeastern MN where I turkey hunt. It may be easier to pattern some deer with a limited amount of time down there instead of trying new "big" woods. Some different terrain would be nice to try as well. Thanks again for saving me from a potential disappointment!

Muzzy

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I never hunted schoolcraft, but I heard every tom dick and harry go out there.

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Schoolcraft is good. I havn't personally hunted it but a friend of mine used to hunt it in college quite a bit and said there were some big deer in it. It is bowhunting only so grouse hunters should not be much of an issue. I think you can experience some great bow hunting outstate on WMA and forests. There really isn't that many bowhunters in the state compared to Gun hunting and with the season so long only makes your oppourtunities better. I would focus early because of the pressure. And also the week before Firearms has to be one of the best.

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Schoolcraft is open to grouse hunters and trapping but not rifle and duck hunters.

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