Tips for Small-Game Hunter Courtesy on WMA's

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by SummertimeCarl, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. SummertimeCarl

    SummertimeCarl Fawn

    Jan 16, 2018
    Do you have any tips on how to hunt small game on public land during deer season and still be courteous?

    Should I consider doing more mid-day rabbit hunts this year? I've noticed between 12pm-3pm WMA's are mostly empty. Noon isn't a great time to hunt squirrel but rabbit hunting still may be good at that time...

    My fear is that I'll start rabbit hunting a field that someone has been overlooking in a stand since 5:00am, and I just can't see their stand.

    Rabbit hunting can be really noisy, and I can cover miles and miles when squirrel hunting. What, other than simply not hunting, can be done to enjoy public small game hunting while having no or minimal effects on big game hunters?
  2. Munson

    Munson 10 pointer

    Dec 24, 2011
    Natural Bridge
    Personally I wouldn't want my hounds around the orange army during rifle season anyway.
    1FowlHNTR likes this.
  3. SmokeShow

    SmokeShow 10 pointer

    Nov 11, 2013
    I thought all other hunting seasons closed/paused during modern gun deer season? Guess not?
    Dark Cloud likes this.
  4. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    We wait until after modern gun to rabbit hunt. I take that time to deer hunt myself. However, after that I’ll hunt during late muzzleloader. I generally like to wait until after 9 am to rabbit hunt on public land and try to go where I know deer hunters won’t hunt.

    If I see a hunter parked in the parking area (with no dog box) when I get there at 9, I assume they are deer hunting, I’ll wait a bit on him to see if he’s coming out. Most folks don’t hunt all day after modern gun I’ve found.

    I’ve never run into anyone on public land that was irritated at me for rabbit hunting with hounds. Most folks I run into are very friendly, interested about the hounds, and will give you the scoop on where they have jumped rabbits walking to their stand. I suspect I haven’t had any issues because they know I have just as much right as they do to be hunting there.

    I always wear hunters orange on my head, chest and back. I’ve also been known to tape blaze orange duct tape around my cuffs on my hunting coat.

    I’ve found that if you are courteous most folks are courteous with you. But, I also look at it like this, which will irritate some folks...the deer hunter in KY gets one of the longest opportunities to hunt if he/she wants to learn different ways of doing it. So, there is plenty of opportunity to hunt for a deer in KY. Like, I said, if I run into folks I try to go out of my way to be courteous.

    PUBLIC RAT 6 pointer

    Feb 18, 2014
    Good question.If I see someone in parking lot I always ask them where they plan to go and then I'll tell them which way I plan to go. Don't use a bell on your dog,that is so annoying to deer hunters. Look for orange even though it's not required on wma. If you walk upon someone just wave and go about your business. Good luck.
  6. SummertimeCarl

    SummertimeCarl Fawn

    Jan 16, 2018
    I wasn't specifying modern gun deer season, I was including archery/crossbow also. My concern isn't getting shot or someone shooting my dog, I'm just concerned with ruining someone's deer hunt. I'm just putting a feeler out there about simple things I could do to lessen my chances of disturbing another hunter.

    Archery deer hunters do get a whole lot of time out of the year to hunt, whereas rabbit hunters are limited, especially on WMA's that stop rabbit season on December 31st. Still, though, deer hunters have a lot of preparation I don't have. I can just walk to a different area but they may have to set up/take down stands, blinds, etc.

    Someone for instance already mentioned not using bells, but unfortunately that's something I don't plan on getting rid of. I want to know where my dog is at all times so the bells help in thick cover. I think they're much more pleasant than the upland beepers, but I'm sure a deer hunter would just prefer silence. Tips like those are what I'm looking for (even if I can't accommodate the request).
  7. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    My point was I always wear blaze orange on public land when running dogs - regardless of the season. I figure if people can see me they will avoid me. That’s what I do when I see somebody hunting.

    I also always run bells on my hounds. It’s my responsibility to know where my dogs are at all times, so I run bells and gps collars. I don’t worry about people not liking the noise - heck some guys I hunt with don’t like it, but it’s my dogs, my preference. Likewise, I figure if folks can hear my dogs moving they have a good idea of places to avoid.

    All you can really do is try to avoid other hunters and be courteous when you run in to someone. Depending on what rabbit you are hunting, you can avoid deery places and focus on places with good rabbitat.
  8. dabassking

    dabassking Spike

    Sep 16, 2015
    Central KY
    I’ve only hunted on one WMA, but at the entrance, it had a map of the place and different colored magnets that correspond to what hunting you’d be doing. You just put the magnet where you plan on going. When I’d go squirrel hunting, I’d avoid the deer hunters if they put a magnet on the board. Do other WMA’s not do the same thing?
    SummertimeCarl likes this.
  9. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    I’ve never hunted on a WMA in far western KY that had a board like that. Most WMAs around here have a board that has been shot to hell by some no account degenerate.
    cedar creek, SummertimeCarl and gung like this.
  10. KYBOY

    KYBOY 12 pointer

    Apr 21, 2005
    Only the first two days
  11. countryboy3006

    countryboy3006 6 pointer

    Jan 28, 2015
    Northern KY
    I've only ran into a few people deer hunting when we went rabbit hunting on the WMAs. Never had a problem with anyone. One guy climed down and talked to us for a while. He said that if he had known rabbit season had started he would have went deeper in the woods. If we see a truck parked we go to another area and if we see someone else hunting we try to swing wide around them.
  12. Big_Steve

    Big_Steve Spike

    Aug 21, 2007
    Richmond, Ky
    Like many have said look for trucks. You can usually tell what guys are doing. I'll go as far as touching the hood to see if it is hot. If its 9:30 and there is a truck parked that is still warm, they are probably not deer hunting. Also look for dog boxes.

    I always glass the woodlines during modern gun. If they are wearing their blaze orange properly, you should be able to see them. As far as avoiding the archery guys, that is much harder. I've been in the woods and got whistled at, and it took me several minutes to find the hunter.

    As far as running into other hunters, I have done it a lot of times on public land, and no one has ever gotten upset, other than one old man who was upset I was hunting squirrels with a 22 (apparently his daddy told him it was dangerous). Just be courteous. I always offer to move, but that's just me. A lot of times you will get "ain't no deer here anyway"
    KY Swamp Beagler likes this.
  13. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    One thing I was thinking about is that if you run into a deer hunter it’s a good idea to share information. As dog hunters we want to avoid deer and deer hunters and as deer hunters they want to find deer and avoid us. So, let the fellow know where you’ve seen the most deer sign, ask him where he’s headed and steer clear of him. He likely won’t have a problem telling you where the deer aren’t and where he’s jumped rabbits or seen sign walking to his stand.

    One big happy public lands family.....
    SummertimeCarl likes this.
  14. Duster

    Duster 12 pointer

    One of the best days to deer hunt on WMA's is opening day of a small game season. Let those dogs and walkers do the work of pushing deer out of those thick places. Of all the days I have spent on Indiana F&W areas opening day of Pheasant season was the best by far. Lot's of walkers and dogs. Find the thick spot you can hang a stand in and wait for the deer to come running. Never had a problem with small game hunters in all those years. Even had a few help drag a deer out with me.
    SummertimeCarl likes this.
  15. I just do not hunt small game on public lands during deer seasons. You are required to wear blaze orange and I do not like moving thru the woods when the yahoos are shooting high powered rifles at anything that moves. When I deer hunt it is on private land and I am not a moving tgt all the time anyway. But squirrel, rabbit, quail all require some movement and I just don't feel that safe traipsing around in the woods at that time. It is one thing to go out at sun rise and stay in a stand all day. Another altogether to be moving in the woods all day. Not for me.
    00noturkey likes this.

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