- January 25, 2023
Just recently, Webb Weekly’s editor, Steph Nordstrom, hit me with the question, “Where does one hunt if they don’t have access to someone’s private property?” That’s actually a very interesting and pertinent question that’s probably worth exploring a bit. Having a place to hunt may be one of the main reasons why getting people into
Just recently, Webb Weekly’s editor, Steph Nordstrom, hit me with the question, “Where does one hunt if they don’t have access to someone’s private property?”
That’s actually a very interesting and pertinent question that’s probably worth exploring a bit. Having a place to hunt may be one of the main reasons why getting people into hunting these days seems to be more of a challenge. I haven’t researched the numbers lately, but it appears there are fewer people, especially young people, expressing an interest in hunting. One of the reasons I often hear when people tell me they have lost interest in hunting is that they no longer have a place to go hunting since they have been denied access to private grounds they could formerly hunt.
I understand; I do not own any hunting grounds either, and over the years, I have lost access to a considerable amount of land that I once hunted. Fortunately, I have a couple of local spots that I can still access, but over the years, I have also made use of a lot of public hunting grounds.
There’s no question the hunting scene has changed, but there are still opportunities available. Yes, I know it’s far different than having access to private ground where you can put trail cameras all over the place, plant food plots, keep other people away and have treestands in every likely spot, but it’s still possible to have a successful hunt.
I did a little checking and found that state game lands provide more than 1.5 million acres of public land access. These game lands are spread out all over the state, and some are pretty sizeable, especially in our area. Granted, if you are hunting deer or maybe turkeys, it might be a good idea to plan to do some serious hiking.
I remember one year hiking way back in and way up as well, but I was rewarded with a shot at a good gobbler. If you’re hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels, I doubt that going way back in is a requirement since it seems that most small game don’t get the pressure that deer or turkeys get.
In addition to state game lands, there is also a pretty good amount of state forest lands available for hunting, and even some state parks allow some limited hunting and trapping. Check with the Bureau of State Parks to be sure you are on the right track if you plan to hunt a state park.
In the meantime, the Bureau of Forestry welcomes hunters and trappers on more than 2.2 million acres of state forests, and here again, some of these areas are very large in size. To be honest, I would bet that some of these larger state forests seldom see many hunters, especially higher up and farther back.
Some of my earliest deer hunting was done on state forest lands in Clearfield County, and yes, I managed to take a few deer; I was back in aways, and it took some time and effort to get my deer out, but it was worth it.
Keep in mind, if you plan to hunt these public lands, there are rules and regulations that must be followed.
One big question is, what about the use of ground blinds and treestands? Ground blinds and treestands may be placed on state forest lands, but they are subject to certain requirements. For further information and details, go to http://www.dcnr.pa.gov or call your nearest forestry office.
The point is even if you don’t own your own hunting grounds, you can still find some good hunting; granted, it may take a little more walking, but it’s out there.