The majority of the hunting I do is on public land, with a few spots being on permission to hunt private ground. There can be a lot of competition when hunting like this, especially on public land. If you want to give yourself an advantage over others, don't hunt like everyone else.
You hunt public land, or maybe you have permission on private property, but you have to share the property. You know there is big deer around, but how do you get into position to shoot one with all the hunting pressure? What I find to be very effective is to take the road least traveled. What I mean by this, is to hunt where other people don't want to hunt. There are a couple things that stand out to me over everything that I think if you apply to your hunting strategies, your success rate can go up quickly.
If you cross a creek or river that you aren't able to just walk across, you instantly leave half the competition behind. Most people simply don't want to take the time to put on a pair of waiters to cross a body of water. It doesn't take that much extra work, but I'm amazed at how many people don't do it. On one of my public land spots (pictured above) I have to wear waiters to cross the river, and I have never seen another hunter on that side of the river.
Don't Put Away the Boat
This tactic takes a little more work, but can pay huge dividends. Use a boat or canoe to access a stand. Opposed to just crossing a small creek or river, you can get way back where nobody really goes, to hunt an area. This applies to lakes as well. I know people that are successful by boating across a lake and hunting an island that who knows if anyone else has hunted before. Not only can you get further away from other hunters, but it's also killer access. You don't have to worry about bumping deer, or laying unwanted scent down.
Be Willing to Walk Far
Another rule of thumb I go by, is that if your able to walk over a mile from the nearest road, you will most likely leave most of the other hunters in the dust. This takes more work looking at maps and aerials. It's important that you can find an access route that won't bump a lot of deer and mess up your hunt before it even starts. If you can find old logging roads, or railroad tracks, this can be dynamite. One of my favorite stands, I walk a railroad track for about a mile and half, and then dip right down into my stand which is less than 50 yards off the tracks. It's one of my best sets.
My mind is always wheeling and thinking of ways that I can put myself into the best position possible to shoot mature bucks. These tactics have proven themselves to me, and I think that if you just put in a little more work, and take the road less traveled, it might pay off for you too.