Must-See Video: The Walmart Bow/Public Land Whitetail Challenge

The guys from The Hunting Public have reached the end of their 2018/2019 deer pursuit, and their final hunting episode on YouTube is a fitting end to an outstanding season.

Must-See Video: The Walmart Bow/Public Land Whitetail Challenge

If you follow my writing on Bowhunting World’s website, I’ve made it clear that my favorite hunting program is The Hunting Public (THP). Click here for a discussion about my top THP episode from this past deer season; a link is provided to watch the hunt, too. The content is authentic, it’s not over-produced and I can relate to their challenges. 

Yes, I have access to some decent private property in the Midwest, but I also spend a good amount of time battling crowds on heavily hunted public land. In fact, I’ve often said to buddies who don’t have the chance like me to travel to prime hunting destinations: “With a bow, it’s harder to tag a whitetail fawn on public land in Wisconsin than it is to arrow a 140-class buck on many managed private properties in the Midwest.” Disagree with me if you must, but 40 years of bowhunting public land in Wisconsin has taught me it’s true. Why? 

Consider these three factors:

Hunting pressure: With over-the-counter bow and gun tags to residents and nonresidents alike, the number of people in the Wisconsin woods can be shocking. Opening morning of Wisconsin firearm deer season on a large tract of public land can sound like a battle scene from an old war movie.

Treestand use rules: On Wisconsin public land, you can’t leave a treestand in place overnight if you hunt the southern two thirds of the state. If you hunt the northern third (Hwy. 64 is the dividing line), then you can leave no more than two portable treestands in place overnight per county. Of course, even though you placed the stand, it’s first-come first-serve on any given day.

Tree damage rules: You can’t use screw-in treesteps on Wisconsin public land, and you can’t trim shooting lanes — not one live twig. While placing a treestand in the dark for a morning sit, you have to hope that once your reach 15-20 feet, that God will bless you at sunrise with shooting lanes, because you can’t cut anything.

To recap: You’re hunting heavily pressured Wisconsin whitetails, and you can’t slip into a treestand quietly for a morning sit. Instead, you can haul a treestand and then hang it. In the dark. And you can’t cut a single twig. Can it be done? Sure. Is it easy. No sir.

For these reasons, I spend almost all my Wisconsin public land time bowhunting on the ground. Click here to read why I prefer a crossbow for these sits. And that’s exactly how THP co-host Jake spent his time on the Walmart Bow Challenge episode below.

For this public land challenge, Jake from The Hunting Public chooses a Bear Pledge compound from Walmart.
For this public land challenge, Jake from The Hunting Public chooses a Bear Pledge compound from Walmart.

I won’t spoil the 20-minute show by providing too many details here, but I will offer one constructive criticism: Bringing a bunch of archery gear that you bought at a big box store such as Walmart and then walking into an archery pro shop for assistance isn’t cool IMO. I know Jake is simply making a point about overall cost to get into bowhunting, and I know not everyone has a pro shop within easy driving distance, but I would have preferred he spend the same money on a used bow from the pro shop (to Jake’s credit, he does mention this as an option.) They don’t show it on the video, but I assume Jake relies on the pro shop to adjust the included peep sight of the Bear Pledge.

Check out the episode below. Congrats, Jake, on a well-earned Wisconsin trophy. Late season, public land, with butt on a bucket — the degree of difficulty was very high.


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