Getting your feet wet!

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publiclandhunter
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Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby publiclandhunter » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:01 pm

How many of you are "hard-core" marsh and swamp hunters? And what do you hone in on while scouting for your marsh/swamp bucks and why?

I love the smell of marsh-muck in the morning!

PLH


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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby badfaulkner » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:43 pm

I'm hardcore. Here in SC, we need snake proof boots in the warm months of deer season and we need insulated hip boots in the later months. The animals I want to hunt aren't afraid of mud and water and neither am I. I hunt public land, specifically, the narrow fingers between regrown cutdowns and young pine plantations, hummocks with palm frond, and of course, swampy drains. The deer like greenbriar year round, swamp chestnut oaks when they put out, and the plethora of the red oak family that is EVERYWHERE on our coastal plain. I got "broken in" to swamp hunting by my friend Hunter Smith who guides at riverlandguideservice.com and I'm actually going to get to help him look after some clients in March. I've come a long way from hunting bait piles exclusively from shooting houses.

I haven't had the chance to hunt our South Carolina salt marshes yet but those maritime woods are literally teeming with whitetails and they swim like fish!!!
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publiclandhunter
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby publiclandhunter » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:12 am

badfaulkner,

Doesn't your season start in like August down there and run through January? No too familiar with S.C., but I have to believe there are a few nice bucks dying of old-age due to the thickets and private property, golf courses, etc down there?

PLH
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby dan » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:12 pm

I love swamp hunting too... But its not all created equal. The easiest swamps and marshes to read/scout/and hunt are the ones that have good edge, and lots of terrain changes. Cattail marshes are pretty easy to read if they ain't to cluttered with Dogwood. In the cat-marshes I look for points of timber transgressing into dogwood into cattails along the transition line. Islands of timber also generally have good bedding. And also pockets of trees / brush in water where the deer will bed on the dirt mounds at tree bases...
In all swamps that don't have large cattail areas it can get a little more difficult. When there seems to be endless miles of the same type of trees or brush, figuring them out can be a bit tougher.. Then I tend to stick to topo-maps to find little high spots that are hard to notice without the map... Sometimes you can see a slight difference in tree type or hight in the distance, those high spots, or edges are the spots where I concentrate. Sometimes in some swamps the only differences are slight, but it still seems to make a difference.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby badfaulkner » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:06 pm

Public Land Hunter,

Our southeastern-most counties do indeed have an August 15th opener but very little public land opens on that same date down there.

The folks who kill deer on that early opener are typically sniping bucks on their way to farmer's soybean fields and I do not have access to property like that.

Baiting is also legal in the lower half of our state, as is driving with dogs, and those two factors make for a very active early season on private land. The other two game zones in the low state have opening dates of September 1st and September 15th respectively.

The WMA I hunt has an archery opener on September 15th, a rifle opener the third Monday of October. Personally, I like to hunt the hardest from November to January 1st. Most of the eager-beavers have left the woods and it's cooler.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby AC Rider » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:34 am

In the large public cat-marsh I hunt, I now focus on getting away from the mainland - even though it's remote brushy points and nice edges show tons of sign. At face value the mainland edges look most excellent but I've learned you HAVE TO keep going and get to the backside of the cat-marsh to see any daytime movement. In my area you know when you're at the backside because there's often a large body of water. The bedding seems to be next to the water on high spots. While using Birdseye view on Bingmaps I can ussaully see the deer trails in the cat-marsh. These trails show how the islands are being accessed. I then get in there and see where the beds are.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby publiclandhunter » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:34 am

Up until the last few years, I didn't hunt it unless it was wet. I just really felt the need to dive into a wet swamp and get way off the path. I also utilized tracks to give me a ton of clues and had very good success. The advantage I loved was that I like to hear a buck coming well before I can see them. I can mentally prepare and ready for the encounter. It also helped on my napping - I am a light sleeper and the sounds of cattails snapping or hooves slogging through the muck would bring me to full-alert! Most hunters don't want to get their feet wet!

PLH
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby adrenalin » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:12 am

publiclandhunter wrote:The advantage I loved was that I like to hear a buck coming well before I can see them. I can mentally prepare and ready for the encounter. It also helped on my napping - I am a light sleeper and the sounds of cattails snapping or hooves slogging through the muck would bring me to full-alert! Most hunters don't want to get their feet wet!
Waiting to see what is going to emerge from those cattails is the best part, especially when they don't become visible till their in range.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby dan » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:31 am

Its sometimes hard to take the anticipation when you can hear them right under you somewhere but can't see a thing.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:05 pm

Swamp!! Did you say Swamp!! You mean there's OTHER places you can hunt deer??

In my swamps it's not uncommon for me to cross several bodies of water and muck, with man-made bridges that have been maintained for generations, before I get on stand. Sometimes I use a canoe/waders/hipboots... on and on.

I hone in on big-woods swamp ridges/islands, hummocks, and transition lines deep in the interior. One thing that almost all hunters overlook in the big swamps are beaver bogs, floodings and marshes that are surrounded by the big wooded swamps- in other words inside the huge swamp's interior. Aerials will put you on them in a hurry, and the bucks are already there. They enter and bed in them just like a regular marsh.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby badfaulkner » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:48 pm

Drainages between young pine plantations thick with briar and clear-cuts (cutovers) that are three to five years old are "money" here in the South. They are thoroughfares for both deer and wild hogs. I use a climber a lot but the foliage is so thick that I sometimes climb too high. Eight feet is about high enough. A lot of shots are under 50 yards. It seems when I see deer or pigs in bow range, I have my rifle, and vice-versa. :)
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:30 pm

badfaulkner wrote:It seems when I see deer or pigs in bow range, I have my rifle, and vice-versa.


Isn't that the way of it? Last fall I shot a public land 8 at about 20 yards with my 7mag. :roll:
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby CatfishJack » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:11 am

I prefer the swamps. After 30+ years of hunting the swamps(that really sounds like i'm old-but i'm only 46), I have narrowed it down to pinch points and crossings. Or high areas that connect large chunks of land-you guys know what I'm talking about. I do hunt areas that the deer just seem to want to use. This is from direct observation while on stand. When new people start hunting, I always tell them to just get out there and when you see deer, move to where you see them. It works for me. The views from my stands in the swamp are just gorgeous. I take pictures of them and store them at work and look at them sometimes when I need a fix. Water,cattails, willows, redozier dog wood and white oak, ash, silver maple and even the invasive buckthorn-does it get any better? And seeing ducks, muskrats, beavers, otter, coon, kingfishers, eagles, blackbirds, wrens and the list goes on. The swamps have everything! But most importantly, the sound of deer walking through the water or cattails. That's the best. Me-I'll take deer hunting in hip boots!
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby Frank » Sat May 01, 2010 11:32 am

I have been scouting a lot of cattail marsh here in southern wi. I have found numorous buck beds fresh hair and nice rubs from the previous year. I went through one marsh located by a river with a thin strip of hardwood before coming to the marsh the other weekend going island to island and i saw beds but no hair in them, plenty of rubs from previous years as well. Was wondering from anyones expeirience if these bucks might be using a different bedding area until a different time of year?? Possibly food change or water being too high? I know they would have to feal safe out there because it took me some time getting out to each island. Hopefully they were not all taken last season.
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Re: Getting your feet wet!

Unread postby dan » Sat May 01, 2010 12:32 pm

Welcome to the BEAST Frank... A lot of the beds you find real deep in the marsh now, might not start getting used again till fall. Some will some won't. But even if they are not getting used year round, keep them in your thoughts for this fall...


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