This past weekend, my son and I put in our backcountry camp and, despite our horseback access, we ran into some other hunters. No problem. Bumping into other hunters whether in the backcountry or in a back-40 whitetail hotspot is a part of hunting. How you handle those meetings and future encounters is something you should consider before even going afield.
Schedule. If you know the other hunters in the area, like at a hunting club, make a schedule to note what days people will be hunting. This gives everyone the option of working around others’ schedules. I oftentimes hunt during the week on one of my whitetail properties and leave the weekend to the other weekend warrior hunters.
Designate. After you set a schedule, designate hunting areas and make sure the others stick to the areas. If there’s an area everyone wants to hunt, use a lottery drawing or a rotational plan to give everyone access to the “hotspot.” On one of the ranches where we hunt, our group sits down at night and diplomatically divides stands for the next day. If there’s a dispute, we all put our heads together to find a solution.
Talk. Seeing others in remote areas isn’t uncommon, so take a few minutes and meet with the other hunters. Share what you’ve been seeing, where you’ve been hunting and make a plan to avoid bumping into each other. Communication is the key. We did this last the weekend. I simply asked the other hunters where they were going and I headed in the opposite direction. It was big country—no need to hunt on top of each other.
Don’t get discouraged. Even though some areas appear to be better, big game animals move around … especially during the rut. And, of course, hunting pressure can cause animals to move from one area to another. Your area might be slow one day and brimming with activity the next.