Some of the most overlooked areas of hunting opportunities, especially for big whitetails, are Indian reservations scattered across the West. Since Indian reservations are independent of state regulations, hunters must buy a license for the specific reservation, regardless if you have a license for the state in which it resides. What’s the advantage? You gain access to thousands of acres of tribal land. The lands are almost like public land where anyone has access to them for hunting.
Some of the most popular reservations are situated in my home state of South Dakota. The Rosebud Indian Reservation, in south-central South Dakota, provides a million acres of land in a five-county region. Granted, not all of the acreage is good whitetail country, but by contacting tribal game wardens and talking with local ranchers, you can locate hotspots. Other South Dakota reservations abounding with whitetails are Pine Ridge, Cheyenne, Standing Rock, Lower Brule and Crow Creek. Montana and Nebraska also have Indian reservations providing similar whitetail opportunities. There are others, but you get the point.
If you do decide to hunt tribal lands here are some tips for success. To begin with, I’d just as soon accidentally leave my rifle at home as forget my Nikon binocular or spotting scope. At least with my optics I may actually spot a buck a mile away in a sagebrush basin and leave him for a later hunt. Since most Western glassing situations call for long-distance searching, you’ll want to research a binocular in the 8- to 10X range with 30mm or larger objectives. An ideal binocular combination is 8×42 Porro prism like the Nikon EDG, which offers a wide field of view and enough light gathering capability for the half an hour after sunset rule.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m not a champion shot either, but by using rests such as bipods and shooting sticks, my kill record isn’t too shabby and that’s what matters in my world. To make a long shot you need a steady rest. For more years than I care to remember, I’ve used attachable bipods like those made by Harris (www.harrisbipods.com) and carried by specialty outdoor companies like Cabela’s (www.cabelas.com). The bucks in the photos were sent to me by Jerry Big Eagle, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe fisheries biologist and I can vouch for the quality of the bucks in this corner of the world.