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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Strategies for Public Land

Here's how to make the most of public hunting opportunities in your area
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3. Read the Regulations 

It's every hunter's responsibility to know the letter of the law no matter where they hunt. This is especially true on public land, as state and federal agencies often have regulations that are specific to particular hunting areas. But reading the fine print in your regulations booklet can also help you discover and exploit overlooked public hunting opportunities. 

For example, on certain hunting areas blinds are assigned to permit holders following preseason drawings. But if these lucky hunters don't show up by a certain time each day, others are granted access to vacant blinds via a drawing held that morning or on a first-come, first-serve basis. In other cases, freelancers are allowed to set up a certain distance from fixed blinds (often 200 yards). Using a laser rangefinder, freelance hunters can measure distances between blinds and pinpoint locations where they can set up. Maps accompanying hunting regulations can also reveal hidden pockets of prime habitat that may be overlooked by other hunters. 

Hunting pressure on public land is usually heavy on weekends and light on weekdays. Many areas have rest days when no hunting is permitted. If your schedule allows, plan to hunt on weekdays, especially those that follow rest days. On many areas, more ducks are bagged per hunter on Wednesdays than on any other day of the week.

The point is to keep an eye out for underutilized hunting opportunities while studying regulations that apply to the areas you hunt. Such rules frequently reward hunters who are proactive in finding and exploiting less-than-obvious hunting spots. 

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