At work, we are on kind of a skeleton crew this week since a lot of people are on vacation for the holidays. Well Monday morning I got to a good stopping place on what I was working on and so I stopped working and got up to walk around and take a break. None of my coworkers were there, so I walked outside in the back of our office and went for a walk on this walking trail that we have.
Here is a map of where I work so you can see what I'm talking about:
OK, you see where the words "Bud's Best Cookies" is on that map ? Well if you look straight up from there till you get to the line of trees by the river, you'd be looking at the place where my story occured.
I work in the Region's bank building next door to the Cookie factory.
Anyway, I come out the back door of the building about 10:45 and walk on this walking trail in that line of trees near the top of the ridge. Thats the Cahaba river in those trees, even though you can't tell from the picture there is a steep ravine down into the river and those building are high up on a bluff overlooking the river.
OK, so I come out the door and I walk no more than a hundred yards from the back door and I noticed that I could see a long way across the river, so I thought if I sat down and watched I could probably see some animals. So I took a couple steps off the trail and then I remembered that I had a squealing jackrabbit in my pocket, so I thought maybe if I called on it I might see a coyote or a bobcat down in the river bottom.
So I start blowing on the call, looking over the other side of the river and suddenly this huge buck jumps up not 20 feet away from me! Totally took me by surprise. Biggest buck I've seen all year and I'm not even in the woods and hunting, I'm basically standing in the back yard of an office complex. Well the buck ran off and I was so excited I went back inside and looked around for someone to tell about it, but since I'm basically by myself at the office this week - no luck.
So the next couple of days I've made it a point to go out there and look around a few times a day. I haven't seen anymore deer, but there is a ton of sign, deer scat, tracks, acorns.
I would have never guessed that the biggest deer I've seen all year I would see it right outside the office on a work day.
I have three 150 plus booners on my wall every one, from public hunting areas... they are way, way , way over looked...especially city application hunts... food is pleantiful and hunting pressure is low
I dont know where you live but its not like that everywhere. In michigan public hunting land is wayyyyyy over hunted. The buck to doe ratio is like 1-8. And hunting is looked down upon by the majority so we have no way to hunt lands owned by the towns. I hunt state land in michigan and out of the 900 acres that are state there is not a single deer on the land that is over 130 guarenteed. I have hunted there for 7 years now and i put in hundreds of scouting hours every year. Its just hard out here.
I think I would get in my car and drive south...Kansas has some awesome WIHA..Walk in Hunting Areas... a couple state parks... and the deer are concentrated and pleantiful...my tag and license cost about 400 total... keep in mind you can't camp on WIHA's....Kansas has about every north american species of whitetail and a few muletails if you hunt west and north of topeka... I don't know what you would do about tagging it...because in kansas you have to be species specific when you hunt... and you have to apply for statewide tags in March to April...I have had good luck "Door Knocking" in Kansas, especially after their Rifle season which is usually around December 2nd... if you want to hunt rut in kansas, must b there before end 1st week in November (usually).
Missouri, has tons of federal land in the Mark Twain National forest, and multiple state sponsored hunting areas... I think our out of state tags are in the 275 range... but you get 2 deer(up to two bucks one before rifle season and/or two after) and 2 turkeys... if you want big deer...130+ stay north of i-70 and your chances are pretty good...You can do some awesome canoe hunts, look up Jadwin Canoe rental..Mostly through National forest and they have a 3 day float you can turn into as many days as you want(even though south of i-70 this area is loaded with Booners)...most of our state hunting areas feature camping year round, primitive, and most have "archery range areas" some have targets some don't... We have generally three sub species of whitetail in Missouri...the virginia, bucket style racks, the texas (rare but up north), more common are the Wisconsin style bucks ( have a bucket style rack, but very large bodies)...We tend to have a very long rut...probably because of the different species tends to last from Middleish of October to very late november...
I also know some guys who hunt north iowa bucks... but they rut very early and after nov 15 there is no telling what you are going to get for weather... plus I usually can't start hunting until NOV 1 because we don't go to reduced hours at the pro shop until then...but I have seen several 150+ bucks taken from there...
That said the biggest I have taken in Missouri is 168 7/8 b&c and the biggest in Kansas is 183 gross, 176 1/8 net b&c... lots of Typicals in Missouri, small deductions, lots of Non-typicals in Kansas. Kansas is by far the "easiest hunting" find concentrated timber near food sources and there will be tons of deer, I have seen 140+ bucks at every single place I have hunted in Kansas, but I also stay on stand from sunrise to sunset every day, when I pick an area I hunt it for a minimum of 7 days straight... this year in particular I hunted the same spot for 43 days straight 5-5:30, I have never in my life seen so many deer or such a concentration of 140+ bucks... I never did get within quality bow range...of the two I was after, Continually stayed about 75 to 80 yds for a two week period in late november the evening of Dec 1 the 12pt 180-160 buck came about 12 yds, but was at a dead run being chased by a large bodied 4 point, so I had to pass...I like to kill what I shoot at and won't waste a shot on a big buck...my experience is, you will get one shot at them...so if you get one, make it count...I swear they will go nocturnal for the rest of their life, once shot at... I watched both of them every single day, but the wind was wrong to try to get closer and to get into a stand position without crossing their trail was impossible...
I have heard that Illinois has a lot of good public hunting, but never tried it, might be closer to you than Missouri or Kansas...
Another good late season tactic to get on Private land, is find land for sale and get permission from the real estate agent to "walk it and Check it out", I usually call the female agents... they Usually aren't as interested in walking it with you...
didn't mean to ramble... just trying to pass the time waiting on the mail man to deliver my new bow strings.