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Real Mobile Hunting

Nutterbuster

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Oct 12, 2017
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Where the skys are so blue!
So Nutterbuster has decided that he wants to take a stab at filling his buck tags with something a little more impressive this year. To that end I complied a spreadsheet with all 68 Alabama counties containing data on B&C records, P&Y records, Alabama Whitetail Records (AWR), 2020-2021 buck harvest numbers, county population, and a few other variables. I'm still playing with that data but I put together a "trophy buck heat map" of sorts and have identified 10 hotspot counties that produce something like 75% of all the trophy bucks. They form 4 clusters and 3 of those clusters have public land in them. 2 of them have a fair amount of property that is within 3 hours of my house.

The goal this year is to hunt those areas every weekend I am free. I have a few stand locations local that have produced bucks pretty consistently, but by the numbers Baldwin County is just a crappy location and 20 years of hunting experience backs those numbers up. I'm saving those stands for rainy days.

I've gotten fairly proficient at long distance hunts, but this will be a new stretch for me. The plan is to leave every Friday night and come home Sunday evening. I'm thinking I can get by with this because the wife and I work from home together and I can bring her along for fair weather weekends.

I guess my question is, for guys who routinely do the weekend thing, what are some tips? Who all routinely has to drive for their hunting?
 

mtsrunner

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Sep 10, 2019
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I routinely drive 2 hours (if traffic is good) to my in-laws farm in TN. It’s a long two hours back if I don’t see anything or blow an opportunity. I wouldn’t go that often, but there have been some good bucks on my trail cameras the last couple of years and it laid off with a decent nine pointer last season.

When I was in college, I would drive an hour and a half to public land and sleep in a tent all weekend.

Having said that, I LOATHE driving. I drive a lot during the week for work. If I could find a local spot that was even half as good as my in-laws, I would be all over it.

Give it a shot and see how you like it. You’ll never know until you have experienced it for yourself.
 

MSbowhunter48

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Oct 15, 2019
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I routinely drive 3-4 hours every hunting trip I go on. Having something quick to set up and take down for sleeping purposes is critical for me. I try to make my trips at minimum 3 days but that’s not always possible, seems like every time you start to figure out a pattern you have to head back home.
 

JBDaddy

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Jan 21, 2018
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671
Location
Lenawee, MI
Does your data tell if the big deer are public land deer, or could they be from a private park in that county? Would suck to find out the hotspot isn't actually reachable.

Make a summer daytime trip to scout. On that trip, talk to a local game warden/parks officer about where the most hunter activity is, or what to watch out for (adjoining private owners who are pitas etc). Ask if there's park events to watch out for - overlapping seasons with birding dogs running around certain areas, etc.

For one day trips, I sleep in my car the night before in a nearby parking lot. I can't imagine I'd be right on park property overnight - I hate vaults/porta-potties, especially in the dark. I'd be at a nearby Wal-Mart or Rest Area lot where I'm likely to find a real flushing toilet, a hot breakfast and fresh coffee to wash down my "I just sorta-slept in a car last night" ibuprofen.

Scout entry points. I'd rather hang in a tree for an extra dark hour in the morning than be late because Plan A was fubar.

Take an eye-mask and ear plugs. Parking lot lights & noise suck.

Don't tip your hand and look like a hunter when you get around early.
 

Matki15

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Jun 20, 2019
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397
Location
Denham Springs, Louisiana
I hunt 2 hours away in another state and what’s worked for me to help get on good bucks is finding good looking spots with cyber scouting and just hanging a camera there for the whole season. I might throw a sit or two at these spots the first time I find them but after season is over I go through all the photos and figure out what time of year that spot was active, what direction they came from, moon phase/temp, etc. Really helps me figure out when to hunt that spot the next season
 

Weldabeast

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May 23, 2019
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Northeast Florida
Dry bags...the bigger the better. I know u got an enclosed vehicle so not as important for transport....think of them more of giant compression bags. I can fit a weekends worth of clothing, most of my food items, and half my saddle gear into 1 big bag. Once ur set up it's nice to have a big waterproof space to throw random items. I've used some of the smaller 1s I have as a makeshift pillow lots of times.
 

Weldabeast

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May 23, 2019
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Northeast Florida
Those pop up sun shade things are very nice to have also....I have showed up on the Friday in the dark in the pouring rain too many times not to take it. Obvious uses during ur stay over the weekend but having a dry spot to set up while it's pouring is very nice
 

Nutterbuster

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Where the skys are so blue!
Does your data tell if the big deer are public land deer, or could they be from a private park in that county? Would suck to find out the hotspot isn't actually reachable.
Kinda. I can't tell you which counties produce BIG bucks on public vs private because that information doesn't exist. I can however tell you which counties produce more bucks on public and private properties. My assumption is that areas that score high for trophies and for bucks harvested on public probably have higher than average odds of producing big bucks on that public land.
 

TNbowhunter

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Mar 12, 2019
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811
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Middle Tennessee
My strongest suggestion for anyone planning to try truck camping like this is to dial in your comfort for sleeping, then deal with everything else. If you get a bad night's sleep, the whole world looks bleaker. A quick-setup tent, really good ground pad (or better yet, an air mattress), and a battery-powered fan that can run all night are must-haves in my opinion. Prioritize comfort over weight since you won't be hauling anything far, unlike backcountry hunters. If your wife won't be hunting, having a comfortable spot for her to hang out while you're in the woods is important, too. To that end, roll out a big thing of AstroTurf under a pop-up tailgating tent, provide a hammock, and keep the bugs off her (bug net, bug spray, big fan, or Thermacell), and she'll be set. If you can pack a bicycle for each of you to ride during downtime, that's a big bonus. All that's just camping/comfort stuff, since I reckon you can figure out how to find and kill deer yourself. Hope this helps.
 

Topdog

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Jun 5, 2020
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I spent 12 seasons (whitetail) in a canvas wall tent, one season from a hotel, and then I bought a camping trailer, which never got used for hunting because I finally ended up buying a small hunting camp, so I finally sold the camping trailer this year. If I had to do it all over again I would start by making my own small hunting trailer, convert an enclosed trailer exactly how I would want it, less maintenance than a normal camping trailer. All this was for chasing horns, similar to you I can hunt by home and fill all my tags quite easy but the quality of horns just isn’t here, so I hunt about 2 hours from home in all directions, but 90% of my hunting is done 20 minutes from my camp. I spent a ton of time and gas getting my turf dialed in to a point where I was confident in buying a more permanent solution. I actually miss the exploring every season, usually when I was tagged out or after season I would pack a lunch and jump in my truck and just go, I would always stop and make small talk with any volunteer willing to share a story or two, I listen more than I talk, I have learned give people an audience and sometimes you get a show, eventually when you here the same story of a “big” buck over and over, one can connect the dots, whether it’s 2 hours from home or my backyard. I usually get all the meat hunting done the first couple weeks of early bow season and then chase horns for the next 2 months, works for me. If I was in your shoes, and had the data you have on book bucks, and going to hunt public, I would start with the biggest, nastiest looking piece of woods the furthest from a major populated area, the less access the better, and start there. The hardest part about starting fresh like this with new ground is the feeling of wasted time driving around during prime hunting days, but sometimes it just has to be done. Diving in fast and hard is not always the answer, no shoes can cover ground as fast as 4 tires on an automobile, eventually yes one must burn some shoe leather, but in the right piece. I have been on several DIY hunts through out the US and usually after 3 or 4 days of operating like this, things become much clearer. Once I have one foreign area dialed in, I move on and find more, and repeat the whole entire process. My ONX screen looks like a decorated Christmas tree covering an entire state, then during the winter I pour over all this intel and formulate next years plan. The fun in every hunt for me was the adventure leading up to it, not always the kill, I’m addicted to hunting whitetails and always have been, I doubt that will ever change. Going after mature whitetails strictly, is usually the final chapter for most die hards, you have to be in it, to win it, to consistently kill mature animals, think outside the box, and accept the good with the bad, giving up a sure thing for maybe a 1% chance at a trophy is not for everybody, killing all those meat deer early in the first couple weeks of season helps me grind out the long days of chasing horns. The first time you knock down a trophy buck, whatever a trophy is depending on the area being hunted, it does something to the human brain lol and an addiction usually follows. There is nothing quite like being in the middle of nowheres staring at a big rack of horns sticking up thinking holy **** what did I just do, and who can I get help me get this out lol, man I can’t hardly wait for fall, good luck to all this season!!!
 

EricS

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Nick for the most part the county by county records will tell you what you need to know. I have seen some exceptions. A county in Georgia had a really good record for 15 years. The state acquired a large tract a little over 8000 acres that was well known for producing trophy bucks. Well as a public tract it produces a few nice bucks a year but not even close to what it did when ran privately. I hunted it with my son. It was super sandy which doesn’t scream fertile soil or trophy potential. Well after talking to the biologist most of the trophy bucks were coming out of an area that was high fenced on three sides. The area was used as a test facility by one of the food plot seed companies and they bought feed by the tractor trailer load monthly.
All that is to say if you get to a spot and the area doesn’t make since based on your research there may be other variables your unaware of.
 

GeoFish

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May 5, 2021
Messages
119
Location
Kentucky
Nick
Are you sleeping in your Subaru?
Are you camping in your hunting area or at a camp ground?
Back in the 80's I lived in Lexington KY and hunted in western KY on public land. I camped on public land.
I had a pick up with a fiberglass cap.
I had a raised storage compartment in the rear of my truck, similar to (G2 outdoors on you tube) set up.
I am assuming you are sleeping in your Subaru??

If so you will need to open the windows in warm weather, you my need to DIY some bug screens.
If I expected rain, I would drape a tarp over the top of my cap and tie off the ends to nearby trees or tent stakes.
You may need some storage containers, when you are sleeping you can move these under your Subaru. I have used these, they are not advertised as water proof, but they keep my stuff dry in a rain storm.

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Jmiller

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Nov 8, 2019
Messages
157
Got no problem staying in a tent, but am buying a small popup camper for this fall. An actual table to sit at and bed to sleep on can do a lot for a man. With a little more travel in mind these coming years, I think it'll be a nice addition.
 

Cbigbear

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Oct 19, 2015
Messages
238
The best public ground near me is 2 1/2 to 3hrs depending on the unit I hunt. I sleep in the back of my truck. With the seats folded up & a decent pad on the floor. The back of an F150 is pretty comfortable. I normally hit a parking lot closest to the unit, but when a shower is need run up to the state park for a night. Early season just sucks for truck sleeping so I’ll just commute back & forth until temps drop. If commuting just isn’t an option I’d run a couple good battery powered fans. My dewalt will run about 6 hrs on high on one 4amp battery.
 
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