Timewise, I spend about 80% on private land and 20% on public land.
I’ve been having trouble getting permission for a good spot to hunt the gun season around here, though, so I started checking airphotos and ordered some maps of some state land in the area.
There’s a ~3200 acre area of public land about 25 miles from here that’s gotta have a few good spots for stands in it, where I won’t be bothered too much. It’s full of trails for the horse-riding set, but that’s mostly a spring-early fall thing, and there are many areas with no trails. There’s also a secluded 360 acre public plot about 10 miles away, all woods bordering a river, that used to be owned by a cousin of my dad.
Other than that, most of the public land around here is 40 acres here, 80 acres there, (there’s a wildlife management area about 8 miles away that is only 2, yes 2, acres. Can you believe that?!) and is hunted just heavily enough that someone is always stepping on someone else’s toes, and I hate, hate, hate that.
Private, and after a bout of the squirts the other day Im glad. But it doesnt seem to make it any easier for me to get one of the big ones near me. I hunted probably all but five or six days out of like 6 weeks. And only had three encounters total with ones that made me week in the knees.
I only hunt private now. I used to hunt public but hated having a place scouted and the day of the hunt find someone in my spot. Private is a lot more expensive but I like knowing exactly where any other hunters are at.