When a giant buck comes from an Iowa farm with multiple food plots and an active QDMA program, it’s not surprising. If you are fortunate enough to hunt on private property where you can control the variables of nutrition, age and buck-to-doe ratio, your chance of taking a trophy whitetail improve dramatically. However, public land also has potential if you approach it thoughtfully. Public parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and other traditional “non-hunting” tracts often contain whitetail deer that will quickly expand to numbers which will damage their environment, often producing noticeable browse lines and the absence of seedling trees. State and government agencies often operate controlled hunts in these areas which can be the home of large trophy deer. Since these “suburban bucks” feed on gardens, shrubbery, and agriculture on the edge of development, they have an excellent food source.

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Of the three factors mentioned above, age is the most important since even a buck in the best nutritional environment won’t mature until it’s 4.5-5.5 years old. On easily accessed public land, that rarely happens, yet under the protection of “park or reserve” status, hunting seasons are very limited and often contain red-tape provisions that dissuade prospective hunters. For example, many such units require a formal application often months in advance and may require attendance at a special seminar to explain unique rules of the hunt. Shooting performance tests are also common where a hunter must demonstrate proficiency with a gun or bow. Additionally, “hunting dates” are often chosen by lottery so that prospective hunters cannot choose the dates they wish to hunt. These regulations, necessary as they may be, eliminate many prospective hunters who won’t go through the trouble to meet the requirements. That said, if you “follow the rules” you can get the buck of a lifetime, on public land, without the cost of a private lease or hunt club dues.

Josh Clark Scores

Josh Clark explained it perfectly. “I mean, it’s crazy,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “It took me two or three days to understand what I shot.” Clark is talking about harvesting what may be a new Mississippi record for largest buck. Even crazier, Clark killed the main-frame 11-pointer (a total of 18 points) on public land.

“I killed him on Wednesday and the whole way home I kept looking back in the truck saying, ‘Man, I didn’t kill that,’” he said to the newspaper.