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Thread: hunting bucks who bed in swamps

  1. #1

    Question hunting bucks who bed in swamps

    i would like to start a discussion and see what tatics we can form as a group that would be different from a typical bs magazine article.

    where i hunt its hardwoods but it seem the big boys always come out of the swamps. ill post a pic of an area, but dont limit general tactics to hunting bedroom swamp bucks. im tired of hunting 'deer' and want to focus more on hunting close to bedrooms to catch a big boy coming or going. i hunt mostly public land, but i wouldnt say its 'pressured'.





  2. #2
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    Wear waders and pack a lunch.
    ______________________________ _________



    In the land of the blind the man with one eye is king.

  3. #3
    Thats my plan for this fall. Hike into where its absolutely nasty and setup there

  4. #4
    Hunt higher dry spots. A lot of times in the marshes I hunt, I will see a cedar growing and 9/10 times a buck bed will be there. Since the land is flat in most cases you will need visual cues to help you locate good deer sign.
    2013 LH BOWTECH EXPERIENCE 61.26 LBS 29.5"
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  5. #5
    i have hunted in areas like the one u showed . i have found it best to find were they inter the swamps at and were the main beding cover in the swamp is and jest set a stand on the main travel areas
    -The Drop Shop, Henderson Kentucky
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  6. #6
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    Blood Brothers Outdoors...Hunting Marsh Bucks. It's an awesome DVD. Highly recommend it.

    Walk the edge of the hardwoods and marsh...you will find the transition areas. Most times you will track those back to a high spot and the buck's bed. Marsh bucks rely mostly on their nose, then their ears. They will be on a certain bed with the wind blowing from the hardwoods across the swamp. You have to be very quiet and some into the crosswind that is blowing to the bucks bed. It's a very finesse tactic.
    Evo 7 UF Xrcist

  7. #7
    guys... excellent. those are all GREAT tips and I promise to try them all. Ill be looking for that big cedar in the marsh when scouting for sure!

    keep em coming if you can, i have a simple questiojn about the wind. if your hunting on his doorstep how would you hunt the wind for evening vs. morning. catching him coming or going? only mornings or only evenings? any different wind tatics to hunting bedroom?

    any guys hunt swamps or on the edges regulary? thanks and feel free to keep adding!

  8. #8
    any more tips on hunting mature bucks early in swamps, cattails, marshes and thick stuff?

  9. #9
    I prefer hip boots over waders. Much easier to layer and much more comfortable. However, it does depend on how much water you have to cross to get to your targeted area. My places seldom get over leg deep...

    As far as the cedar is concerned, they always grow on dry humps and they are easy to spot from distances. Check 'em out...There will be deer beds around them if you have cedars in the area.
    2013 LH BOWTECH EXPERIENCE 61.26 LBS 29.5"
    2008 LH BOWTECH GENERAL 58.9 LBS 29.5"
    2007 LH BOWTECH GUARDIAN 61.6 LBS 30"

  10. #10
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    I've been hunting areas like that all my life.

    My 2cents.....bucks will bed in that stuff as long as its not to wet. Often times I find them in the thickest areas close to but not in too wet an area.

    the deer around me cut straight across the really wet areas to the nearest high ground and then travel the high ground along the edges. The deer have been using these same trails for so long I can see them on Google earth.

    If you set up on the high ground especially during the rut, the bucks will be following the does onto the higher ground.

    In the google earth pict, if you look you'll see faint lines going across the picture. They connected high ground across a swamp and the narrowest points.
    Ford 8n Pro Staff
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  11. #11
    i am from louisiana and what we do is hunt where they cross the water. deer are creaters of habit and will almost always cross in the same spot. the spot will be different then the rest of the swamp, shallower, or more narrow. find that spot and you will find the deer.

  12. #12
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    Swamp bucks are hard to hunt, and I have been hunting them almost every year. The only hints I can give you are to find the high ridges in the swamps with cover on top of them. Dont hunt on top of the ridges, but hunt the trails leading to and from the ridges, or along the sides with the thick crap at your back. The bucks will be staying on these typically at night or even in the middle of the day.
    Shop shooter for Advancement Archery in Mineral Point, WI

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  13. #13
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    I hunt almost elusively swamp edges. The swamps that I hunt are either transition areas or doe bedding areas for the most part. There are bucks that will bed in certain areas, but I generally hunt the downwind edges close to the rut when I know the bucks will be scent checking for does. I have limited spots to hunt, so going into the swamp is not an option as thats pretty much a "one and done" strategy.

    If wind direction and cover allow, I'll set a stand just off the edge of the swamp. I don't like to be right on the edge as its too easy to get busted climbing into your stand. I like to be 6-15' from the edge with good cover and 2-3 shooting lanes to the edge of the swamp. I try to set up these stands where trails come from high spots in the swamps to the edges. Get a good pair of binos and keep your eyes peeled, the big boys get real sneaky in those swamps. This isn't anything new or ingenious by any means but I've had pretty good success with it. Good luck!
    In Between.....

  14. #14
    Most of the areas I hunt are swampy too, both on the eastern and western shore. A little water won't scare a deer. They will bed in it even though it's wet, I have seen it time and time again. I have found that the big boys bed both in the middle of the swamp and right on the edges of it. Most of the does bed on the edge. So, during the rut the big boys will bed right up on the edge with the does. Any other time of the year, that's up to you. The problem with swamps are that you never really see all of them. You sometimes only see the edges. There can be much more to a swamp than you know, and if it's a big buck's bedroom he's always gonna have a place to go and have the upper hand on you. Try to catch them coming off their beds early in the year, around October. I hunt one public spot and we get some real big ones during October coming out of the marsh, sometimes they are still dripping wet or covered up to their briskets in mud.
    Tread softly and carry a big stick

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOBIGBUCKS View Post
    I prefer hip boots over waders. Much easier to layer and much more comfortable. However, it does depend on how much water you have to cross to get to your targeted area. My places seldom get over leg deep...
    Lightweight stockingfoot waders that are big enough to fit over your boots.

    You need to excercise care when walking to not cut the neopreme booties.

    But they go on and off fairly easily.

    marty

  16. #16
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    I hunt an urban nature preserve a lot and the deer definitely use the cattail swamps. The does and fawns come out later in the season to eat the green grass growing up against the cattails. There are big bucks in there, and they seem to come magically out of relatively small stands of cattail swamp.

    I ordered that DVD to see what Blood Brothers has to say. Of course, there are no bits of high ground hidden in my swampy areas and it is a question of hunting the edges at certain times of the year to catch them.

    By "catch them", I mean "see them" as I've never had the chance to shoot one.

  17. #17
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    i love swamps love to hunt them, i look for humps,dry places between to wet areas they are like highways when the rut is on the big boys are runing does u will here them grunting befor u see the them trick is to get them to stop for the shot.i like waders,we have beavers in swamps i have seen them cross at the dams. i like to hunt neck down areas.good luck

  18. #18
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    I'm from northern Minnesota, the whole place is one big swamp!

    Been hunting swamp bucks over 20 years.

    Find the busiest trails and hang a stand nearby. The bucks I hunt typically bed within sight of beaver ponds/dams and the thickest nastiest windfall areas they can find. They will use the water as a "safe wall" and if the wind is right they may bed with their backs to the ponds, swamps and face the higher/dryer ground in front of them. Tough for a pack of wolves to sneak up on them through a pond. Getting in and out undetected is the biggest challenge. Its easy to leave scent behind when you're rubbing on a million different things getting into these thick areas. I cut trails and maintain them in the spring and summer so come fall I'm touching as little vegetation as possible on my trips to and from the stands.

    The deer will normally use the tail ends of the beaver dams to cross (when they feel safe) but not always. One of their favorite escape tricks is to go straight through the water.

    I hang my stands, literally, in their bedding areas. So a stealthy scent free, quiet entry and exit is KEY

    And these bucks will find the thickest place in the forest to bed.

    99% of the time I will hear them coming long before I can see them. They make a lot of noise coming on a slow walk.

    Pics of one of the trails I cut into a beaver pond area. Chainsaw and a lot of work but it can pay off...

    I try to keep them well hidden, this is where the trail starts.




    I open it up a bit more after that. I made this one along time ago. There was no possible way, without being able to fly, to sneak in here without alerting every deer in the county before I cut this trail. Now they use it more than I do.








    Your window of opportunity is usually small too, being as it's so thick. So I'm often at full draw before the deer comes into sight, because you never know what's making all the noise heading your direction. I was at full draw waaay before this guy came running past at 12 yards. I try to cut small openings, not really shooting lanes on their trails and pray they stick to the trails.

    A Swamper I killed, using this trail to get to my stand. He was chasing four does across a beaver pond last October. I had roadblocks on the deer trails set up to try to divert the deer towards my stand. I heard him blow straight though everyone of them. This guy was taking everything down in his path, one of those does must have been a hottie


    I created a new trail this spring leading to an old favorite spot of mine I haven't hunted in close to 20 years. I'm hoping all the hard work this spring will pay off come this fall.

    These are just a few of the things that have been working for me over the years back in the swamps of Minnesota.


    This dude sounded like a skidder taking a load of timber out when he came running by...



    Steve

    "It's a Navy Seal type bow. It works by pulling it back and shooting it."

  19. #19
    thats what im talking about steve! how much that hoss weigh? nice old smart mature big bodied buck it what im after... not even worried about the rack if I can get a horse. thanks for all the pics!

  20. #20

    Brandon, I've hunted those ame Virginia swamps

    Beat them back to the high ground ( in the swamp ) in the morning or intercept them coming out in the evening to feed on crops or greenfields. Use a canoe if the water is deep or a pair of brushbuster hip waders if it's shallow. Be careful, in my area the water would raise rapidly with the tide " tidewater".
    The time is now to save yourselves for eternity. Give your life and soul to Jesus Christ and our father in heaven for I suspect the day of judgement is almost at hand.

  21. #21
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    Holy smokes mn5503 That's a giant deer!

    Based on my experience, the bucks live in the swamps...period.

    I've killed 4 bow bucks in Louisiana, and every single one of them fell within range of a Bald Cypress tree. Early season, late season, it really doesn't matter. I hunt the edges of the swamps because I don't want to blow them out. Catch them coming and going. My favorite set ups are when you can find an agricultural field adjacent to a large swamp. Here's a pic of an area I hunt:



    Look for swamps where a variety of food sources are available nearby. This spot produces numerous shooter bucks every year.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandon1008 View Post
    thats what im talking about steve! how much that hoss weigh? nice old smart mature big bodied buck it what im after... not even worried about the rack if I can get a horse. thanks for all the pics!
    He was 220lbs, dressed out on that scale he's hanging from. I thought he looked bigger. Biggest one I've killed in the same spot was 240lbs and this buck looked bigger than that one. Same scale though, so I don't know. I guess the scale doesn't lie.



    I hit him way to far back because I was stupid and took my shot when he was on a full run after those does. I waited til morning (no sleep of course) to track him after finding blood where I shot him. He went about 400-500 yards and bedded down on a high piece of ground and died. He was pretty stiff so I don't think he lived too long after the shot. But I learned my lesson about himming and hawing on a shot. I changed my mind a thousand times in a few seconds on whether or not I was going to shot. Last second I decided I was going to and even at 12 yards, 270fps isn't fast enough to be making stupid running shots. At least it was a happy ending. I was wet up to my ass though after tromping around in that swamp for a couple hours.

    I never had him aged but I'm pretty sure he was an old bugger and by the looks of his rack and coat he may have been past his prime. I was still very pleased to be lucky enough to get him. Iowa was good to me last year too (buck in my avatar) so I still get to pay the taxi something. The swamper is getting his skull and antlers hung on the garage wall next to his other relatives from the swamp

    The swamps have been good to me but man do I love to sit on the edge of a field in one of the oaks overlooking some clover. A guy can get a little loopy spending too much time swamp hunting, it's a different gig for sure.

    I try to mix it up with my other spots where I can see more than 15 yards in one direction. I live in an area of the State that allows me to hunt the deep woods or the agg land. There isn't even a hayfield near the swamps I hunt. They live, breed and feed their whole lives in the woods. The wolves usually decide where I'll be hunting.

    A clover/alfalfa field I like to hunt.


    Steve

    "It's a Navy Seal type bow. It works by pulling it back and shooting it."

  23. #23
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    mn5503 - I remember those photos from last year, what a great body on that buck! Love the roman nose. I'll bet the rack is bigger than it looks compared to that horse of a body. Great Minnesota buck...

    I hunt swamp edges too. Getting out in them, at least the ones I encounter, is usually too loud and disruptive. A little on the risky/dangerous side too, especially loaded down with gear. Like others have said if you can find a pattern of where they enter or exit, that's a good way to go. My favorite spots are a little ridge or dry ground between two swampy areas. I have a couple of spots where there is a pinch point where the edge of each slough is within bow range of my stand. Anything that creates a pinch point with the swamp edge is a likely spot later in the fall. Like others have said bucks are not afraid of water, I jumped one off a muskrat house one time while I was duck hunting.

  24. #24
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    This is what your trailcam pictures from the swamps will look like
















    The stand I shot the buck from last year overlooks this pond. I've watched deer feed in these ponds just like moose, dunking their heads under and coming up with a mouthful.
    Steve

    "It's a Navy Seal type bow. It works by pulling it back and shooting it."

  25. #25
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    Great pics Steve! You got me looking through my hunting pic album from last season. Remember it's not just the big boys that live in the swamps.

    There's the young guns...

    Early season


    Late season


    The little ones...



    Here's mama...




    And these guys can give you a bit of a scare!






    Here are some pics of swamp scenery taken while on stand last season...










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