What States are doing it right?

spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 1,697 Captain
If someone's primary passion was hunting, what would be the best state to move to from a regulatory perspective? 

What states have the best model for access/recreation on public lands?  Which are the least restrictive with the most opportunities?

Replies

  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Personally, I think that is wrong question. I would target states that have the species I hunt and the most public land. Out west you have BLM as well other hunting lands and less people. I think hunting for deer versus birds would give you drastically differing locations.


    133cbf2b243368b1ddb2f591a1988076--beach-posters-florida-travel.jpg
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Fl used to be until all these new restrictions  on public land took place.
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,634 Captain

    I like how PA has public access.  They have purchase many tracks of land for State Game Lands.  Some small and some big.  All with equal opportunity access.  No quotas.  Gates may be closed most of the year and then they open some for hunting season. Year round access to all.  Some smaller tracks will just have pull offs for parking.  Over years the hunters figure it out.  Small tracks are not limited to draws. 

    If a landowner wants to apply for a doe tag for his land they need to have agreed to allow public access for hunting. No special access to person just because they are large land owners.   

    Go figure, many timber companies open their gates and allow hunting to occur on their lands free of charge.  Hunters remove many pesky tree eating deer.  Win win. 

    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 1,697 Captain
    I'm looking more to see how other states are doing it, policy wise. I'm 'hoping' there is a model to look to... that looks better than Florida, especially when it comes to hunting.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Whats the Fl model BTW? I thought they were following other states models?
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 1,606 Captain
    I have never seen a state as restrictive as Florida. Florida public land access for residents is worse than any state for non residents with the exception of much of Alaska where a guide is required or resident family member for a nonresident hunter to hunt.  But that doesn’t even cover all aspects of hunting in Alaska to the best of my knowledge. 

    Most public land in states north of Florida allow access to public land during any hunting season. Most states require tags for big game animal harvest. 

    The idea that Florida has quality deer management especially south of Orlando is laughable to people who have hunted in any northern states. A trophy here is an above average 1.5 year old deer in the Midwest and many other states. But some people have pull and it has excluded tons of people from public land access and will hurt hunting in the long run. 

  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    You can't really compare the size of Florida deer to northern deer cause of the poor soils, etc.

    Up until jeb bush, Florida had the best and most comprehensive public land acquisition program in the nation, and some of the best prescribed fire management. rick scott pretty much has killed Florida's reputation as a leader in statewide land conservation.
    133cbf2b243368b1ddb2f591a1988076--beach-posters-florida-travel.jpg
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    This political advertisement paid for by "cyclist"
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 1,697 Captain
    Pennsylvania sounds good. I'll start there.  Thanks bgeorge!
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,326 Officer
    spangler said:
    If someone's primary passion was hunting, what would be the best state to move to from a regulatory perspective? 

    What states have the best model for access/recreation on public lands?  Which are the least restrictive with the most opportunities?
    You might want to see how many years it takes to gather enough quota preference points hunt a given species at a certain location.  Example - WY antelope is about a 3-5 yr wait for a moderately decent area with hunter access.  I did this last year and know what the low access hunting is like.  

    Maybe establish a base success rate - are you hunting for the experience of hunting or do you want to kill something?  Plenty of places have public land access - GA has national forest that is open to anyone, any day of the season.  Success is pretty low.  Quota hunt areas have better success - they limit the hunters.  Go figure.

    FL stinks as a deer hunting state.  If has opportunity with little hope of success - Toso had 600 archery man days last year for 10 deer.  That's 60 man days per "any" deer.  I hunted a lease in GA and used to see 30-40 deer per weekend, I have yet to see a legal deer on PUBLIC LAND while deer hunting in FL - just does (up to 10 per sit in Ocala) where it is buck only.  I hardly go any more.

    So try to be apples to apples in the correlations you establish - hunting access has to come with harvest restrictions (antler restrictions) to be within the carry capacity of the land. 

    If I remember correctly - FL also has a poorer fawn retention rate than many of the other states.

    VT, NH, ME have a lot of free access land but extremely low harvest rates - think that maybe 20,000 deer are shot in a given year.  There just aren't a lot of deer and they are hard to get if you don't have a secret spot or private land.
  • shempshemp Posts: 571 Officer
    Don't agree w/ the comments that FL has the poorest public land access in any state; note also there is 'public' land in any given state that is administered differently (i.e. Federal WR vs. 'State game land' vs. Water MD land with FWC overseeing hunts)...BUT to render an opinion to the original post:

    1)Avoid Arizona, with the proviso that Native American reservations are different countries and handle access differently.
    2)Minnesota has a quota system for most seasons which even applies to Private Land, but public access is pretty good
    3)PA has very good land access but the hunting pressure is obscene, and if anybody thinks FL is bad (which trust me it is at least based on my past couple turkey seasons), a trip to PA on the opening week of deer season will give you some perspective

    3)Best in my (somewhat limited) experience is Vermont.  I think Maine and New Hampshire are similar.  I always assumed the yankee states were overcrowded, overdeveloped and would be restrictive to hunting...turns out that is the way yankees have sculpted Florida, but not the way they manage their own states
    4)North Dakota is pretty great, if you don't mind solitude, freezing or blowing away in the wind [the daks have an expression that North Dakota is so windy because Minnesota sucks and Montana blows...no offense intended, just always found that funny]

    That completes the list of states I have any experience hunting or am otherwise quite familiar with.
  • ChonggChongg Posts: 713 Officer
    edited April 2018 #13
    Lived in PA for a short bit...public land access is good, but the amount of people hunting is crazy. The amount of access has more to do with the vast amount of undeveloped areas rather than the goal of a prescribed state policy, IMO.

    If anything, PA would be a good case study examining the merits of limited entry. All the game lands and other public lands were great for hunting small game and ducks. Deer was different, at least for me.  While it's great to have a place where anyone can go hunt deer - and by the way, Florida has that - sharing the woods with hundreds of guys walking around in blaze orange and high-powered rifles isn't the experience everyone is looking for.  I didn't grow up deer hunting and didn't grow up hunting in PA. I'm sure the guys who did don't have a problem with the way it works up there. But it didn't seem very appealing to me. And by the way, their gun season lasts a little over a week. 






  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 1,606 Captain
    Pa deer problem on public land is habitat management. There was none. Lived near. 54,000 acre game unit. Had great grouse and some turkey. Only saw one dead deer and none live ever. Saw more bear than deer. Go to private land a mile away and it was loaded with deer. The deer stayed where they could find food. Grass and acorns on private land. No oaks on public and acres of ferns. The grouse lived in the regrowing clear cuts. 
  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,289 Captain
    edited April 2018 #15
    Hate to get this started again but I will - in your search pick States that have tag and report for both deer and turkey.  At least they will have a "clue" how many hunt and the approximate number of game animals killed every year.  Before moving to FL lived in both OH and KY.  OH does have a long bow/crossbow season that takes place during the peak of the rut. If you bow hunt and avoid weekends you can find some decent public deer hunting. Not enough public land and a crappy climate. Few quota hunts. The short deer gun season on public and private land is a true circus.  KY's deer gun season takes place during the peak of the rut.  Decent amount of public land but as usual gets crowded especially since they open both deer and turkey seasons on Saturdays.  A few quota hunts but most public land is "romp and stomp".  Neither State gives free, unknown numbers of "exempt old geezer" hunting licenses and have telecheck systems in place.  IMO KY's is the model system.   
  • spfldbowhunterspfldbowhunter Posts: 924 Officer
    I’ll second states with tag and report and add states without a commission. A panel of appointees is a political quagmire. One of the big outdoor magazines publishes the numbers relative to hunter numbers and public land access. Florida is deceptive due to lower hunter numbers but a lot of the public land is limited entry.
    Eph. 3:20
  • shempshemp Posts: 571 Officer
     hunter numbers and public land access
    spfldbowhunter could you please clarify?

    Along with what y'all are saying, I don't understand why a free license isn't required for exempt hunters...if they want to keep it free for young/old/military, OK, but get a free license.  Has been that way w/ federal license issues (i.e. state issued shore-based FREE saltwater fishing license, and FREE migratory bird permit)
  • shempshemp Posts: 571 Officer
    edited April 2018 #18
    Also I can't speak for all of PA with my comments...but that is the first state I ever hunted (even though I'm from Florida) as that is where many of my hunting kinfolk live (NW PA).  It is nuts to butts on any slice of unposted green space for deer.  

    Small game can be like that too if its a nice weather day near a holiday or weekend...the only place we ever did any good really was a small family farm. I'd heard a lot of stories about good hunting in the mountains (nittany) back in the good old days (50s, 60s) from my grandpa and others.  
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 1,606 Captain
    joekat46 said:
    Hate to get this started again but I will - in your search pick States that have tag and report for both deer and turkey.  At least they will have a "clue" how many hunt and the approximate number of game animals killed every year.  Before moving to FL lived in both OH and KY.  OH does have a long bow/crossbow season that takes place during the peak of the rut. If you bow hunt and avoid weekends you can find some decent public deer hunting. Not enough public land and a crappy climate. Few quota hunts. The short deer gun season on public and private land is a true circus.  KY's deer gun season takes place during the peak of the rut.  Decent amount of public land but as usual gets crowded especially since they open both deer and turkey seasons on Saturdays.  A few quota hunts but most public land is "romp and stomp".  Neither State gives free, unknown numbers of "exempt old geezer" hunting licenses and have telecheck systems in place.  IMO KY's is the model system.   
    Guys come from all over to hunt on public land in Ohio because of the large amount of land and good opportunity to kill deer with no experience. Kentucky doesn’t have as many deer on public land but also worth traveling to compared to hunting in Florida. 
  • blueyed-goofblueyed-goof Posts: 161 Deckhand

    I'll start with this: I'm a bird hunter so my experience is limited to turkeys, upland birds and duck hunting.  I've hunted WA state and was surprised with how much private land was available to hunt.  They have a program there that with certain signage, hunters don't need to go find the owner to get permission you automatically have permission.  I hunted mostly private land out there but also in some of the national forests and so there seemed like a lot of land available to hunt.


    I've also hunted MT and they have incredible access to hunting land: they have BLM, National Forests, state lands, school trust land, block management and upland game bird management program properties.  Block management and the UGB properties are all private properties that allow hunting.  Some you need to contact the landowner to get permission, many of the properties you just sign in at the sign in boxes, keep your permit for that property on you and enjoy your hunt.  On top of that, people that aren't enrolled in any of those properties if you take the time to track down the owners of private property, most people have been quite open to allowing bird hunters to hunt their lands. 

  • blueyed-goofblueyed-goof Posts: 161 Deckhand
    I can't figure out how to edit.  If I could stand cold winters, I would seriously consider moving to Montana just because of the variety of game to be hunted, the access to property and the seasons are long. 
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,410 Captain
    edited April 2018 #22
    I can't figure out how to edit.  If I could stand cold winters, I would seriously consider moving to Montana just because of the variety of game to be hunted, the access to property and the seasons are long. 

    Edit is the circular/flower lookin icon to the left of your avatar on your post.

    I may end up out in that area out West someday.  Lots of opportunity especially if your a bird hunter.


  • swampwalkerswampwalker Posts: 2,359 Captain
    I think comparing any other than Georgia, Alabama or S. Carolina to Florida is comparing apples to oranges. Then again Florida is in a category of its own. The shear blast from development, anti-hunters, and agencies that lock our lands from access are unmatched anywhere else. I'm a fan of the FWC, but was and still am amazed that the commissioners sold science down the road for political reasons regarding the bear hunt. They're all gone now just like their credibility. I'll be happily surprised if the newbies do anything different. I love Florida hunting and the wildlands we have. I never met a WMA I didn't like. I've hunted the Dakotas, Carolinas, Georgia and Mississippi on private and public lands. The only thing they have we don't, is less people. Sorry for the ramble and the derail.
    The original - "Renaissance Redneck"
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 1,697 Captain
    Great stuff guys!  Thanks so much, it is really helpful.

    I'm pretty interested in programs for large private land owners to open their properties to public hunting.  I've seen that in a few places now.  That's quite admirable on the land owners part.  And great that some states put that into place.  Would that ever go in Florida?  Are there even enough landowners here, that would be open to it, to make it worth it?  Somehow I doubt it.
  • shempshemp Posts: 571 Officer
    Political hot button for many on this forum I'm sure, but there is already a program (actually a couple I think) for conservation/preservation of private lands through application of state funds.  The missing component is any edict to allow public access of any kind, much less extractive activity at a recreational level (read hunting, fishing, etc.). 
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    Why would any landowner sign up to letting public on their land when programs have been developed to pay them exorbitant fees and allow for nothing to change? Or allow for them to charge to hunt on the property the state bought?
  • BuckeyeTurkeyBuckeyeTurkey Kent, OHPosts: 5 Greenhorn
    Take a look at ND or SD. People are great and my group has never had any problems accessing private ground. Both are great for Waterfowl, pheasant, turkey and a host of big game. If you’re looking to move, there Ian no state income tax in SD. 
  • ChonggChongg Posts: 713 Officer
    spangler said:
    Great stuff guys!  Thanks so much, it is really helpful.

    I'm pretty interested in programs for large private land owners to open their properties to public hunting.  I've seen that in a few places now.  That's quite admirable on the land owners part.  And great that some states put that into place.  Would that ever go in Florida?  Are there even enough landowners here, that would be open to it, to make it worth it?  Somehow I doubt it.
    Look into Kansas' Walk-In-Hunt-Area program. Most of my early hunting experience came on WIHAs.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,553 AG
    I'm happy with Fl.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 2,101 Captain
    edited April 2018 #30
    Hard  to equate FL to other states.  Not just habitat but dense population concentrations.  Even the north and south of FL cannot be compared.  I have hunted in AR, TN MS, OH....and FL.  None are easy on Public Land for one reason or another.  Of course the main reason is too many hunters....Quotas are much rarer in ohter states, but deer seasons, gun seasons, are much shorter (bow seasons are generous)  and with strict "tag and report" systems.  I would like to see two separate sets of Hunting Regulations in FL.  One for Public and one for Private lands.  All Quotas removed.  Tag and Report System (for both Private and Public land)....Annual Bag Limits.....(ok for different Public and Private, but deer taken on Private land count against the Public limit.)....The regulations should be written to "manage the game, not the hunters".  Days open, antler restrictions and bag limits that will insure a robust resource.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    I'd say up to about 1990 Fl lead the race..
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