Is Public Land Deer Hunting Ruined Forever? Dan Infalt, the Big Buck Serial Killer, Weighs In

In the age of hunting’s new media, Youtube personalities like The Hunting Public sometimes get blamed for a frustrating increase in pressure on public lands. The logic goes like this: These personalities have shared tips and tactics to an ever-growing audience, and now those disciples are more efficient at hunting public ground and more motivated to do so. 

The result is that the hunting gets worse for the veteran hunters who have been out there well before cell cams and tree saddles became popular. But in a recent video, Dan Infalt of The Hunting Beast shoots some massive holes in this way of thinking. He also shares some incredible knowledge for finding success on public land. 

“Pressure makes hunting easier if you know what you’re doing as a big buck hunter,” Infalt says. “Now where pressure hurts is if they kill everything on the property, if there are no big bucks, well, you got a point there … and cameras could get out of hand. They have in some places and they are starting to in others. But, as of right now, the majority of the places that I go to — seeing cell cams, seeing treestands, helps me. It makes me focus on [the spots] where those people aren’t.”

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Before you scoff at these comments, consider that Infalt is one of the O.G.s of popularizing tactics for targeting mature bucks on public land, specifically swamps and marshes in Wisconsin. He’s also considered to be one of the true no-bull-shit personalities in all of hunting. He’s developed a bit of a cult following for his ability to consistently kill nice bucks in places where most hunters overlook. You can read Josh Honeycutt’s full 2022 interview with Infalt here. Infalt’s book, Extreme Whitetail Tactics: The Big Buck Serial Killer’s Best Deer Hunting Stories, is a good read for any public land deer hunter.

In his recent video Infalt is responding to anecdotal claims that public lands are overcrowded and the growth of trail cams, and even scouting drones, means that public deer hunting is doomed. We hear a lot of similar commentary at Outdoor Life. And it’s true that there was a notable increase in new hunters following the COVID pandemic. But it’s also important to note that states like Wisconsin and Michigan are actually now seeing a decline in deer hunter numbers. 

But that’s not to say the overcrowding complaints aren’t valid. Even with fewer hunters on the landscape, it’s possible for specific locations to get more pressure. Especially if folks hunt more days per season and are more aggressive about accessing the deeper reaches of public ground. Personally, while walking around on public ground the last few years I have seen more treestands and cameras in places I’d never seen them before. In the video, Infalt says that he’s witnessed the same thing. But his takeaway isn’t that public deer hunting is dead. 

In terms of hunting tactics, Infalt contends that seeing treestands and trail cams helps you identify where hunters will be, and where mature bucks won’t be. The key in pressured areas is to narrow down any property to find that special 10 percent of the habitat where bucks can feel unpressured. 

“If you’re going to hunt on a level playing field with everyone else, you need to be able to put other hunters into  the equation of how you set up, not just land features,” Infalt says. “If you want to put all other hunters out of your area, that’s just greed on you. Figure out how to hunt around them and you’ll still kill giant bucks, if you were killing them in the first place.” 

I think the most interesting point Infalt makes is that even though advanced tactics for hunting public land are now widely publicized and shared, many hunters are not willing to do what it takes in order to execute those tactics. Determination, time, and skill are always going to be limiting factors when it comes to the overall number of hardcore hunters.

“There are still very very few that really got it in them, that got that killer ability in them,” he says. “Most of these guys are getting a little bit better bucks, but they’re still not killing the giants on a regular basis.” 

So in a lot of ways, hunting public land is just how it’s always been. You can be successful, but it’s going to take more effort, more skill, and more time. 

The post Is Public Land Deer Hunting Ruined Forever? Dan Infalt, the Big Buck Serial Killer, Weighs In appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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