Bowhunting Public Land Whitetails by Tony Peterson

Bowhunting Public Land

Bowhunting Public Land Whitetails is a book about…well, hunting deer on public land with a bow. I picked up the Kindle version of this book after attending a Georgia DNR S.H.A.R.P class.

I’ve never hunted, but I am doing initial research into what is involved with ethically harvesting whitetail deer for meat. One of the biggest & most difficult variables is access to land.

Like every State in the United States, Georgia has hundreds of thousands of acres of public land (mostly paid for by hunters) with most managed to support wildlife.

On the one hand, it’s fantastic. On the other hand, public land is also the most competitive space & has the most hunting pressure…which creates the wily-est, smartest deer. Most public land in Georgia has success rates of ~10%.

That’s the issue that this book covers. It’s a very specific, but highly complex issue, especially for new hunters.

What I Liked

I liked that the book tells you what it will tell you; it addresses the issues one by one and wraps them up. It’s concise, thoughtful, and provides solid advice.

I liked that the author practices what he preaches – and takes pride in it. He hunts public land in different states for the challenge, adventure, and high-quality deer.

I loved the specific tips & tactics. The book gets very specific with relevant examples and stories to back them up.

What I Didn’t Like

The book sorely needed more maps and illustrations – or a link to a YouTube channel (like the one I “hunted” down that features the author. The author is a good writer and explains every topic clearly, but sometimes there’s nothing like looking at a map or watching a video, especially if you’re a new hunter without many contexts.


Hunting public land is like visiting a worthwhile, but crowded tourist destination. Go –

  • at slightly different times (early season, midweek, early morning)
  • difficult to reach places (across rivers, elevation changes, long distances)
  • at slightly different places (further drives, unattractive land, etc)
  • during “off” times (during rain, frigid cold, late season, etc)

Use your computer and apps like Gaia and OnX to front-load research. When you think you’ve done “a lot” – do more.

Have lots of alternate locations.

Learn different hunting techniques (stalking, on the ground, saddle, etc).

Spend more time in the field both pre- and post-season scouting for deer areas.

Learn more about white tail behavior and how they spend their days.

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