Best Game Lands?

hbennick

Button Buck
I recently moved to NC, and I'd like to get some deer hunting in with my sons. Probably won't be able to go this year, but we're planning for next year already. Are the game lands worth going to, or are they too crowded? Any suggestions where to go?
 

Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
I don’t think anyone is going to really answer that question for you. NC has over 2 million acres of game lands across the whole state. Not giving your location means you pretty much have the whole state to look at.
Planning now means scouting now. It’s still deer season so you can take a look a see the hunting activity on the game lands you’re interested in.
 

hbennick

Button Buck
I live outside Charlotte, but I'm open to going pretty much anywhere from here and West. Kinda want to avoid dog runners.

I don’t think anyone is going to really answer that question for you. NC has over 2 million acres of game lands across the whole state. Not giving your location means you pretty much have the whole state to look at.
Planning now means scouting now. It’s still deer season so you can take a look a see the hunting activity on the game lands you’re interested in.
 

Homebrewale

Old Mossy Horns
If you really want to scout the game lands and not the parking areas, I would only do it on Sundays since you can't hunt game lands at that time. As for if they're crowded, that depends on which game lands and where on the game lands. There are places I hunt where I don't see another hunter all day. Since I don't know what state you came from, it's hard to answer. I moved here from PA. Around here, the game lands look abandoned compared to PA where there were hunters everywhere you looked.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
All game lands are loaded with people and sparse on game.

But seriously, very doubtful you will get any good info on a public forum about public land. Those of us that hunt public work hard for our spots and don't really feel like sharing them with the world.

Just off the top of my head there are about 10 different pieces of public within an hour of Charlotte. All of them have huntable populations of deer.
 

hbennick

Button Buck
If you really want to scout the game lands and not the parking areas, I would only do it on Sundays since you can't hunt game lands at that time. As for if they're crowded, that depends on which game lands and where on the game lands. There are places I hunt where I don't see another hunter all day. Since I don't know what state you came from, it's hard to answer. I moved here from PA. Around here, the game lands look abandoned compared to PA where there were hunters everywhere you looked.

I grew up in PA, but I've been in Texas for the past 20 years. I've never really experienced public land, I grew up on a farm, and I had a few friends with land in TX.
 

durdendeerman

Ten Pointer
There is people still trying to figure where all the deer went in the gamelands. My best guess is the states done packed em back up for the year.
 

np307

Six Pointer
I enjoy the challenge of hunting game lands. I'd recommend you do what I did. Look at the maps on ncwildlife to determine where the game lands are around you and then start scouting. If you know what deer need, finding them isnt too difficult. Finding big bucks is a real challenge, but locating deer is manageable. There are some nice bucks that have been killed this year.

As you've seen and has been noted, you wont have much luck finding spots to hunt in an open forum. Now if you ask about tactics, you might find people less tight-lipped. But most have put in a lot of boot-work to find their spots.

As to how crowded the game lands are, you'll find that bow season has very little pressure, black powder a fair amount of pressure, either-sex rifle season has a bunch of pressure, and buck only rifle season has a moderate amount of pressure. I killed a buck and a doe during either-sex rifle this year but I was over a mile from the road both times.
 

BarSinister

Old Mossy Horns
Go on the interactive website. It gives not only location but days of the week and such. Sorry I'm too lazy to post the link but you'll find it quickly enough.
 

chrispowell

Six Pointer
I recently moved to NC, and I'd like to get some deer hunting in with my sons. Probably won't be able to go this year, but we're planning for next year already. Are the game lands worth going to, or are they too crowded? Any suggestions where to go?
Deer are pretty much everywhere in this state, coastal fields, swamps, mountains, apartment complexes. Nature (deer) abhors a vacuum. Successfully hunting game lands is simple. All you have to do is get past the one barrier that weeds 95 percent of public hunters out. That barrier could be one more mile of hiking, or using a canoe to paddle to a remote spot or using waders to cross a deep ditch. If I'm scouting a game land, and it doesn't have a barrier of some kind, I pass on it. There you have it -- the keys to the kingdom.
 
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oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
you live close to uwharrie GLs which has deer enough to last one a long time. So many different tracts that you cant cover them all. We just had a detailed post here on the pee dee permit program which you could easily hunt.
Post today of a brute killed at Jordan which has folks way west of you visit every year successfully. It's really easy to hunt as the lake funnels their movement.

Going from private in texas to public in NC will be a let down but if A deer is all you seek it's gonna work fine for you.
Good Luck.
 

Dolfan21

Ten Pointer
What Oldest School said........

If you put in for permit hunts next year, Latta Plantation and Second Creek are also close.
 

Ceehawk37

Six Pointer
The current range of outdoor videos touting PL is showing the world how productive it can be.
They make it look easy for sure.
Yep. Seems like since some of these videos have become popular I’ve seen more folks out on the public ground. There’s a reason the really popular guys all live and hunt in the Midwest. Wouldn’t be much of an entertaining show if they hunted in the Southeast. You can consistently see deer at times down here but the pressure and long seasons can make it to where you may only see one deer in a couple full days hunting. Combine that with a rut that can be tricky to nail down and not as much agriculture bordering public land and it can be downright frustrating. Catman out of TN is probably the best source to watch if you want to get a realistic perspective on hunting public ground down here.
 

SamCo89

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
The current range of outdoor videos touting PL is showing the world how productive it can be.
They make it look easy for sure.
Very true.. I think a lot of guys miss the fact that most times is either states that have high deer density/low pressure... or some combination of both..

I’ve been hunting 3 Gamelands pretty much every weekend since opening day of bow season, & I can count on one hand the times I Have NOT seen deer..

Now not all of those were “shootable” deer, but definitely seen more than I have on my private tract the last 2 years. I believe a big part of that has been my setup & mindset.. looking for hot/fresh sign & being flexible.


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SamCo89

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
. ..Combine that with a rut that can be tricky to nail down ..

That is debatable.. check out the peak breeding chart from WRC... there has been enough research over the years to prove that “The Rut” is pretty much the same timeframe every year. What changes is how much WE actually see that movement & deer.



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