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VSF and NF land?
#1
I decided to buy permits for National Forest and State Forest hunting this year, just to have them, really. No real plans to hunt anywhere except maybe near the Appalachian trail in Catawba if I decide to hike McAfee's Knob. Probably just creep around with a handgun.

Anyone ever hunt VSF or NF land? More than likely I would try and hunt somewhere in Cumberland, but I'd be open to traveling. I know absolutely nothing about hunting this public land. I'm in a private club in Buckingham.
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#2
I've hunted GW National Forest. Big mountains. I made many calls to various sources to get information on different aspects of the NF. Regional offices, Biologists, wardens, land managers etc.. Wealth of information to be had from them. I focused on difficult access (no ATV's), 3-5 year old cuts and grouse restoration areas. Not sure what travel time is for you but I hunted west of I-81.

Good Luck!
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#3
I would definitely want to focus on an area that no one else has the wear-withal to get to. I like walking a while. Creeping in. Being able to settle down before it's even daylight.

I live in Richmond, but I'm in a club in Buckingham, so travel isn't a big issue.

Safety is a concern as far as proximity of other hunters. Perhaps public land isn't for me. Sometimes I just like a change of scenery.
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#4
I havent done nf or vsf but public land can hold good deer. I used to hunt the WMAs alot and have seen some giants. Archery and ml is usually not crowded. Can get busy during reg firearm but if you go far in and let all the lazy folk push deer to you, it can work out well.
I always think how people are like yeah I got 100acres there and 50 here... with public land its like yeah I got 50k acres here and 10k there. Just lower density and more savy deer.

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#5
Safety shouldn't be a concern. However, having hunted very heavily pressured public land in Pa for 37 years there are certain things I take into consideration. #1. Most important is to be seen. I set up in locations where I'm very visible to other hunters (Top of ridge line) or in dense ground cover areas I get high in a tree. OR, I hunt well over the side of a ridge top so hunters on top shooting at deer on top wouldn't possibly shoot me over the side. #2. I hunt far from common access. This eliminates most concerns. #3. Don't be afraid to let others know you are there. Sometimes guys come in with head down and ignore or don't see your flashing light and set up nearby. When it gets light enough, give a cough or wave etc., make sure they acknowledge your position.

I found the hunting pressure rather light in Virginia compared to PA. I encountered (1) hunter in an area I consider one the edge of deep. Otherwise I ran into hunters the closer I got to the parking area and along trails. It could be where I was as I'm sure some places get hammered.
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#6
(10-11-2019, 01:50 PM)The Truth Wrote: I decided to buy permits for National Forest and State Forest hunting this year, just to have them, really. No real plans to hunt anywhere except maybe near the Appalachian trail in Catawba if I decide to hike McAfee's Knob. Probably just creep around with a handgun.

Anyone ever hunt VSF or NF land? More than likely I would try and hunt somewhere in Cumberland, but I'd be open to traveling. I know absolutely nothing about hunting this public land. I'm in a private club in Buckingham.

I've been hunting on National Forest Land in Bath, Highland and Augusta counties for approximately 35 years. I'm from Pa. and public land hunting in Pa. is usually very crowded. I enjoy hunting in Virginia where I do mainly because of the reduced hunting pressure. Some years you have success and some years you do not. The region I hunt is primarily oak forest so when there are no acorns it can be pretty tough. Here in Pa. the month of September has been very dry. If it is also dry in Va., I've found it can be tough hunting too due to the mountain streams and springs drying up.
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#7
(10-14-2019, 11:46 AM)deichel63 Wrote:
(10-11-2019, 01:50 PM)The Truth Wrote: I decided to buy permits for National Forest and State Forest hunting this year, just to have them, really. No real plans to hunt anywhere except maybe near the Appalachian trail in Catawba if I decide to hike McAfee's Knob. Probably just creep around with a handgun.

Anyone ever hunt VSF or NF land? More than likely I would try and hunt somewhere in Cumberland, but I'd be open to traveling. I know absolutely nothing about hunting this public land. I'm in a private club in Buckingham.

I've been hunting on National Forest Land in Bath, Highland and Augusta counties for approximately 35 years. I'm from Pa. and public land hunting in Pa. is usually very crowded. I enjoy hunting in Virginia where I do mainly because of the reduced hunting pressure. Some years you have success and some years you do not. The region I hunt is primarily oak forest so when there are no acorns it can be pretty tough. Here in Pa. the month of September has been very dry. If it is also dry in Va., I've found it can be tough hunting too due to the mountain streams and springs drying up.

(LOL) Which part of Augusta Co. did you hunt? What part of Pa you from?
I hunted due west of Staunton. I'm from the Yuengling area (Pottsville), hunt many of the public lands in Schuylkill Co. and private land near I-81. 

I felt the same way when hunting Virginia. There were a few guys out but given the acreage available it was no problem getting lost. It was weird in a couple areas I was wishing there were more hunters so I could take advantage of pressure. I'm so used to setting up where I think hunters will come from and push deer that hunting them on more natural terms is more difficult. The exception of course is carrying a rifle around during the rut such as the case in Virginia.
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#8
I hunt at the very western edge of Augusta county in the Deerfield area. I do most of my hunting in Bath and Highland counties though, it's easier access for me as I'm getting older and can't walk as fast and as far as I could when I was younger. I'm from Fulton County in Pa. I usually hunt private ground in Fulton County and public ground in Potter County.
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#9
I'm in Augusta near Deerfield too. Nat forest is right out my back door. I went in yesterday to a cleared food plot on Nat forest lands. Had an 8 come by and another deer behind me. Here I have private land access to the back side and can get a few hundred yards from food plots and other areas. So far in 3 years I've seen 1 person out there.
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#10
Well if anyone wants a hunting buddy I'm down to make a trek come rifle season!
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