Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Bigwoodslongbow » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:00 am

A marsh is a marsh
Hill country is hill country
Farm is farm
Theres not alot if info cause its way different from big woods to big woods terrain logging mountains beaver swamps miles and miles of spruce ridges
Cant find beds unless its in season
Deer migrate from these areas during winter its only sighn from august until december

Ive been very succesfull and so have friends of mine... 1 buck will cruise 15 miles a day
It takes woodsman ship to kill them there not on patterns except for september and maybe beghining of october after that they are all over tbe place
Be pre paired for all day sits
Dont hunt deer trails as big mountain bucks run there own routes
They use different food sources learn to read sighn
Learn sighn post rubs this is most important thing
Be prepaired for all day sits
Hunt stream crossings!!!!

Track bucks in the snow fogure out what there doing then bow hunt it the fallowing year


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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Bigwoodslongbow » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:03 am

U cant possibky make a video on it every piece of big woods os defferent state to state
Bow hunting big woods bucks find sighn post rubs near water especially on brown ashes
Thats where ur most sucsess will come
Huntung beds js next to impossible as they have 300 beds on one mountain they cruise
Stream crossing sighn post rubs beech nuts acorns mushrooms barry bushes historical sighn jump from spot to spot to spot
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Josh_S » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:26 am

NorthwoodsWiscoHnter wrote:When I started to push my limits in bigwoods and become a better hunter, I researched like you to find information that would help educate me in bigwoods. The amount of material out there is very little. There's probably a lot of reasons for that. For one there are probably less bigwoods hunters out there than there used to be. Less hunters, few deer numbers, fewer mature bucks, therefore less content. Simple as that.

In my journey of hunting bigwoods I've sought out information and hunters that I can learn from. That's tough. The best teacher is the woods and the deer. There isn't anything better than time in the woods. That sounds cliche but that is true. And when I say time in the woods, I'm not saying go to the same spot over and over. You gotta put boots to the ground and move around.

Here would be my top 10 tips on bigwoods bowhunting if someone asked me in no particular order. (Please note that this is my experience and areas, bigwoods is a broad description and means something different for everyone else.)

1. Start small and break it down. When you pick a piece of property it's good to take it in sections. Once you learn a section, move on and learn a new one, and so one. If you don't do this it will confuse and frustrate you. Also note, that most likely only 10% of your property will have value. You gotta find the 10% and bypass the 90%. This takes time to understand.

2. Keep a journal. Document and record your findings, sightings, where you find sign, the dates you find it, and so forth. Creating a history of your property will definitely help. Mature bigwoods bucks have a knack for being creatures of habit. It's not written in stone but typically a mature bigwoods buck has a routine. He will be in the same areas at the same times of year do the same things.

3. Use trail cameras. When I say this you have to be cautious and not get addicted. The pictures will tell you what caliber of bucks in your area and can give you good information that you can record and keep. This helps morale and attitude. Remember to not get caught up in chasing pictures though. You're hunting bucks. Not pictures. The cameras should be a tool for information. Not a crutch.

4. Be mobile. In my experience in bigwoods, the deer will migrate and move around. One thing I've learned the hard way is to move around. You are either on the deer or you are not. You cannot always sit in the same stand over and over and expect them to just show up. It normally doesn't work that way. Mature bucks do not do anything at random. They move with a purpose. They don't just wander in random areas.

5. Be mentally prepared to not see many deer. This is very hard to do for many hunters. It can be taxing on the mind and wear you down mentally if you are not seeing deer or even finding sign. A lot of the time you will feel like you are getting nowhere. You will feel like a failure. This is perhaps the hardest part of bigwoods hunting. We sometimes can get in our own way a lot of the time. The mindgames are killers for morale and attitude. This is something that probably takes time to learn and get experience. Know that each sit you put in is one sit closer to getting on a stud and in a minute everything can change. In bigwoods hunting, success usually doesn't come easy. Especially for bowhunting. My good friend that lives in Ely Minnesota finally killed a buck with bow on camera. It was the first buck in 10 YEARS for him and he's a great hunter in my eyes! It's also hard with social media. It's tough to see guys with trophy giants over and over when you are not even seeing deer. But you have to understand it's a different game you are playing. It's apples and oranges. Do not compare yourself to others. It's not the same.

6. Cyber Scouting is important. With cyber scouting you can find your access, your parking areas, the logging trails, the walking trails, and most importantly the terrain features and elevations. The cyber/topo maps will help you see the transitions, elevation changes and terrain breaks. You will be able to find the clear/select cuts. Also when you find sign, use a hunting application to document it. Then when you are back to the computer look and analyze it from afar.

7. Have a 3-5 year plan. This is part of the mental part however it's good to realize that it may take you 3-5 years to learn an area well and have success. In an interview, Mitch Rompola talks about this. Greg Miller also talks about this in one of his books. I cannot stress it enough to learn your areas. We are looking for needles in a haystack. A vast amount of country with few deer. Luck is definitely part of it when coming across deer. But luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

8. Know your gear. This isn't overly important to some but it's important to me. Typically the bigwoods can be harsh hunting and it's good to have gear that can take a beating. Also it's a good idea to have lightweight quality gear. It's really helpful to silence gear. Also when you hunt, take what you need. Try to keep it simple. If you are hiking 2 miles back or more, odds are you shouldn't be grabbing gear that won't have a purpose. It's also good to have gear for emergency or will help you in case of the what if happens. Items I take that a flashlight/headlamp, water, and a compass.

9. Analyze the buck sign. The the few amount of sign that the bucks leave it's really important to use it to your advantage. Understand the perennial scrape and rub lines. Analyze tracks. If there is snow it would be a great benefit to follow tracks and learn what the deer do and how they move through your properties. It's such a benefit to follow a buck and understand what he goes through on a daily basis. Another trick is in the winter is to follow the tracks backwards and learn where they come from.

10. Learn the Forest. What I mean by this is learn what is where. Learn what areas are spruces, oaks, maples, poplars, cedars, alders, dogwood, tamaracks etc. Being a good woodsman is really helpful because you'll understand more of what the deer like for food and where they will hang out and what time of year. This takes a lot of time. The does tend to bed in areas where their food choices are and where there is good security. Clearcuts/poplar slashings are a good place to start for doe bedding. Also certain swamps with cedar are great for cover and food for the deer. To learn the forest it's good to take your time when you are navigating through it. Take in your surroundings and don't be in a rush.


I would be interested in hearing more about your trail camera approach to big woods.

What types of terrain features do you focus on for trail camera placement?
Do you let the camera out all season in preparation for the next year or focus on current intel?

Feel free to add more, these were my main questions.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby rfickes87 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:34 am

NorthwoodsWiscoHnter wrote:When I started to push my limits in bigwoods and become a better hunter, I researched like you to find information that would help educate me in bigwoods. The amount of material out there is very little. There's probably a lot of reasons for that. For one there are probably less bigwoods hunters out there than there used to be. Less hunters, few deer numbers, fewer mature bucks, therefore less content. Simple as that.

In my journey of hunting bigwoods I've sought out information and hunters that I can learn from. That's tough. The best teacher is the woods and the deer. There isn't anything better than time in the woods. That sounds cliche but that is true. And when I say time in the woods, I'm not saying go to the same spot over and over. You gotta put boots to the ground and move around.

Here would be my top 10 tips on bigwoods bowhunting if someone asked me in no particular order. (Please note that this is my experience and areas, bigwoods is a broad description and means something different for everyone else.)

1. Start small and break it down. When you pick a piece of property it's good to take it in sections. Once you learn a section, move on and learn a new one, and so one. If you don't do this it will confuse and frustrate you. Also note, that most likely only 10% of your property will have value. You gotta find the 10% and bypass the 90%. This takes time to understand.

2. Keep a journal. Document and record your findings, sightings, where you find sign, the dates you find it, and so forth. Creating a history of your property will definitely help. Mature bigwoods bucks have a knack for being creatures of habit. It's not written in stone but typically a mature bigwoods buck has a routine. He will be in the same areas at the same times of year do the same things.

3. Use trail cameras. When I say this you have to be cautious and not get addicted. The pictures will tell you what caliber of bucks in your area and can give you good information that you can record and keep. This helps morale and attitude. Remember to not get caught up in chasing pictures though. You're hunting bucks. Not pictures. The cameras should be a tool for information. Not a crutch.

4. Be mobile. In my experience in bigwoods, the deer will migrate and move around. One thing I've learned the hard way is to move around. You are either on the deer or you are not. You cannot always sit in the same stand over and over and expect them to just show up. It normally doesn't work that way. Mature bucks do not do anything at random. They move with a purpose. They don't just wander in random areas.

5. Be mentally prepared to not see many deer. This is very hard to do for many hunters. It can be taxing on the mind and wear you down mentally if you are not seeing deer or even finding sign. A lot of the time you will feel like you are getting nowhere. You will feel like a failure. This is perhaps the hardest part of bigwoods hunting. We sometimes can get in our own way a lot of the time. The mindgames are killers for morale and attitude. This is something that probably takes time to learn and get experience. Know that each sit you put in is one sit closer to getting on a stud and in a minute everything can change. In bigwoods hunting, success usually doesn't come easy. Especially for bowhunting. My good friend that lives in Ely Minnesota finally killed a buck with bow on camera. It was the first buck in 10 YEARS for him and he's a great hunter in my eyes! It's also hard with social media. It's tough to see guys with trophy giants over and over when you are not even seeing deer. But you have to understand it's a different game you are playing. It's apples and oranges. Do not compare yourself to others. It's not the same.

6. Cyber Scouting is important. With cyber scouting you can find your access, your parking areas, the logging trails, the walking trails, and most importantly the terrain features and elevations. The cyber/topo maps will help you see the transitions, elevation changes and terrain breaks. You will be able to find the clear/select cuts. Also when you find sign, use a hunting application to document it. Then when you are back to the computer look and analyze it from afar.

7. Have a 3-5 year plan. This is part of the mental part however it's good to realize that it may take you 3-5 years to learn an area well and have success. In an interview, Mitch Rompola talks about this. Greg Miller also talks about this in one of his books. I cannot stress it enough to learn your areas. We are looking for needles in a haystack. A vast amount of country with few deer. Luck is definitely part of it when coming across deer. But luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

8. Know your gear. This isn't overly important to some but it's important to me. Typically the bigwoods can be harsh hunting and it's good to have gear that can take a beating. Also it's a good idea to have lightweight quality gear. It's really helpful to silence gear. Also when you hunt, take what you need. Try to keep it simple. If you are hiking 2 miles back or more, odds are you shouldn't be grabbing gear that won't have a purpose. It's also good to have gear for emergency or will help you in case of the what if happens. Items I take that a flashlight/headlamp, water, and a compass.

9. Analyze the buck sign. The the few amount of sign that the bucks leave it's really important to use it to your advantage. Understand the perennial scrape and rub lines. Analyze tracks. If there is snow it would be a great benefit to follow tracks and learn what the deer do and how they move through your properties. It's such a benefit to follow a buck and understand what he goes through on a daily basis. Another trick is in the winter is to follow the tracks backwards and learn where they come from.

10. Learn the Forest. What I mean by this is learn what is where. Learn what areas are spruces, oaks, maples, poplars, cedars, alders, dogwood, tamaracks etc. Being a good woodsman is really helpful because you'll understand more of what the deer like for food and where they will hang out and what time of year. This takes a lot of time. The does tend to bed in areas where their food choices are and where there is good security. Clearcuts/poplar slashings are a good place to start for doe bedding. Also certain swamps with cedar are great for cover and food for the deer. To learn the forest it's good to take your time when you are navigating through it. Take in your surroundings and don't be in a rush.


All your key points are dead on buddy. Thanks for posting this I can really relate. I pushed myself into something new this year here in PA by starting to hunt the big open woods in the mountains. Very low deer numbers, basically no hunters, but good bucks. It was very tough and many times I could have made myself out to feel like a failure but I just kept at it and got one and really did learn so much along the way. I cyber scouted often over the winter and then would scout on foot where I thought were the best bedding areas throughout March and April. Stayed out during the summer, no cameras at all. Went in opening day and almost killed one 2 miles back but got busted, right before dark. I can't stress enough how important it is to be willing to throw out the plan you thought you had once you walk across fresh sign. Still though I kept in mind where the bedding was or where I guessed it was but if I walked onto fresh trails or track I would immediately just set up right there instead of where I planned to go (if it was near bedding or where I thought bedding was). That was key for me.

My average walk back was probably about a mile. Sometimes 2 miles sometimes only 1/2 mile, that's really all it took to get into the quality buck bedding areas that were not molested by other hunters. I hunted 9 sits this year...3 sits I had chances to kill bucks. I ended up killing a 2.5 year old 9 point, not the biggest but a crazy rack that I just had to shoot. Got completely skunked the other 6 sits. His entire left side is bent down over his face. Really weird lol. Those 2 other sits I got busted by 120"-130" class bucks.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:36 am

Tuff endeavor with the bow...
Needle in a haystack scenario.
Expect the Unexpected when you least Expect it...
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Walltuckian » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:11 am

NorthwoodsWiscoHnter wrote:When I started to push my limits in bigwoods and become a better hunter, I researched like you to find information that would help educate me in bigwoods. The amount of material out there is very little. There's probably a lot of reasons for that. For one there are probably less bigwoods hunters out there than there used to be. Less hunters, few deer numbers, fewer mature bucks, therefore less content. Simple as that.

In my journey of hunting bigwoods I've sought out information and hunters that I can learn from. That's tough. The best teacher is the woods and the deer. There isn't anything better than time in the woods. That sounds cliche but that is true. And when I say time in the woods, I'm not saying go to the same spot over and over. You gotta put boots to the ground and move around.

Here would be my top 10 tips on bigwoods bowhunting if someone asked me in no particular order. (Please note that this is my experience and areas, bigwoods is a broad description and means something different for everyone else.)

1. Start small and break it down. When you pick a piece of property it's good to take it in sections. Once you learn a section, move on and learn a new one, and so one. If you don't do this it will confuse and frustrate you. Also note, that most likely only 10% of your property will have value. You gotta find the 10% and bypass the 90%. This takes time to understand.

2. Keep a journal. Document and record your findings, sightings, where you find sign, the dates you find it, and so forth. Creating a history of your property will definitely help. Mature bigwoods bucks have a knack for being creatures of habit. It's not written in stone but typically a mature bigwoods buck has a routine. He will be in the same areas at the same times of year do the same things.

3. Use trail cameras. When I say this you have to be cautious and not get addicted. The pictures will tell you what caliber of bucks in your area and can give you good information that you can record and keep. This helps morale and attitude. Remember to not get caught up in chasing pictures though. You're hunting bucks. Not pictures. The cameras should be a tool for information. Not a crutch.

4. Be mobile. In my experience in bigwoods, the deer will migrate and move around. One thing I've learned the hard way is to move around. You are either on the deer or you are not. You cannot always sit in the same stand over and over and expect them to just show up. It normally doesn't work that way. Mature bucks do not do anything at random. They move with a purpose. They don't just wander in random areas.

5. Be mentally prepared to not see many deer. This is very hard to do for many hunters. It can be taxing on the mind and wear you down mentally if you are not seeing deer or even finding sign. A lot of the time you will feel like you are getting nowhere. You will feel like a failure. This is perhaps the hardest part of bigwoods hunting. We sometimes can get in our own way a lot of the time. The mindgames are killers for morale and attitude. This is something that probably takes time to learn and get experience. Know that each sit you put in is one sit closer to getting on a stud and in a minute everything can change. In bigwoods hunting, success usually doesn't come easy. Especially for bowhunting. My good friend that lives in Ely Minnesota finally killed a buck with bow on camera. It was the first buck in 10 YEARS for him and he's a great hunter in my eyes! It's also hard with social media. It's tough to see guys with trophy giants over and over when you are not even seeing deer. But you have to understand it's a different game you are playing. It's apples and oranges. Do not compare yourself to others. It's not the same.

6. Cyber Scouting is important. With cyber scouting you can find your access, your parking areas, the logging trails, the walking trails, and most importantly the terrain features and elevations. The cyber/topo maps will help you see the transitions, elevation changes and terrain breaks. You will be able to find the clear/select cuts. Also when you find sign, use a hunting application to document it. Then when you are back to the computer look and analyze it from afar.

7. Have a 3-5 year plan. This is part of the mental part however it's good to realize that it may take you 3-5 years to learn an area well and have success. In an interview, Mitch Rompola talks about this. Greg Miller also talks about this in one of his books. I cannot stress it enough to learn your areas. We are looking for needles in a haystack. A vast amount of country with few deer. Luck is definitely part of it when coming across deer. But luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

8. Know your gear. This isn't overly important to some but it's important to me. Typically the bigwoods can be harsh hunting and it's good to have gear that can take a beating. Also it's a good idea to have lightweight quality gear. It's really helpful to silence gear. Also when you hunt, take what you need. Try to keep it simple. If you are hiking 2 miles back or more, odds are you shouldn't be grabbing gear that won't have a purpose. It's also good to have gear for emergency or will help you in case of the what if happens. Items I take that a flashlight/headlamp, water, and a compass.

9. Analyze the buck sign. The the few amount of sign that the bucks leave it's really important to use it to your advantage. Understand the perennial scrape and rub lines. Analyze tracks. If there is snow it would be a great benefit to follow tracks and learn what the deer do and how they move through your properties. It's such a benefit to follow a buck and understand what he goes through on a daily basis. Another trick is in the winter is to follow the tracks backwards and learn where they come from.

10. Learn the Forest. What I mean by this is learn what is where. Learn what areas are spruces, oaks, maples, poplars, cedars, alders, dogwood, tamaracks etc. Being a good woodsman is really helpful because you'll understand more of what the deer like for food and where they will hang out and what time of year. This takes a lot of time. The does tend to bed in areas where their food choices are and where there is good security. Clearcuts/poplar slashings are a good place to start for doe bedding. Also certain swamps with cedar are great for cover and food for the deer. To learn the forest it's good to take your time when you are navigating through it. Take in your surroundings and don't be in a rush.


Thank you for this great summary! I'm sending this to the guys in my Deer Camp. I revamped my strategy this season by incorporating what I've learned from Dan and this forum and applied that to the public land I hunt. It felt like I was hunting completely new ground and even found spots I've never seen.
I was on the most deer all week out of everyone at camp and even notched a tag.

I tried to explain a lot of these points to the guys at camp this year....even the tips like #3 and #4 that would seem like the easiest ones to digest. I've already given them an intro to Dan and The Hunting Beast, so I'm looking forward to continuing to share these strategies with my hunting crew.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Tim H » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:45 am

Josh_S wrote:
NorthwoodsWiscoHnter wrote:When I started to push my limits in bigwoods and become a better hunter, I researched like you to find information that would help educate me in bigwoods. The amount of material out there is very little. There's probably a lot of reasons for that. For one there are probably less bigwoods hunters out there than there used to be. Less hunters, few deer numbers, fewer mature bucks, therefore less content. Simple as that.

In my journey of hunting bigwoods I've sought out information and hunters that I can learn from. That's tough. The best teacher is the woods and the deer. There isn't anything better than time in the woods. That sounds cliche but that is true. And when I say time in the woods, I'm not saying go to the same spot over and over. You gotta put boots to the ground and move around.

Here would be my top 10 tips on bigwoods bowhunting if someone asked me in no particular order. (Please note that this is my experience and areas, bigwoods is a broad description and means something different for everyone else.)

1. Start small and break it down. When you pick a piece of property it's good to take it in sections. Once you learn a section, move on and learn a new one, and so one. If you don't do this it will confuse and frustrate you. Also note, that most likely only 10% of your property will have value. You gotta find the 10% and bypass the 90%. This takes time to understand.

2. Keep a journal. Document and record your findings, sightings, where you find sign, the dates you find it, and so forth. Creating a history of your property will definitely help. Mature bigwoods bucks have a knack for being creatures of habit. It's not written in stone but typically a mature bigwoods buck has a routine. He will be in the same areas at the same times of year do the same things.

3. Use trail cameras. When I say this you have to be cautious and not get addicted. The pictures will tell you what caliber of bucks in your area and can give you good information that you can record and keep. This helps morale and attitude. Remember to not get caught up in chasing pictures though. You're hunting bucks. Not pictures. The cameras should be a tool for information. Not a crutch.

4. Be mobile. In my experience in bigwoods, the deer will migrate and move around. One thing I've learned the hard way is to move around. You are either on the deer or you are not. You cannot always sit in the same stand over and over and expect them to just show up. It normally doesn't work that way. Mature bucks do not do anything at random. They move with a purpose. They don't just wander in random areas.

5. Be mentally prepared to not see many deer. This is very hard to do for many hunters. It can be taxing on the mind and wear you down mentally if you are not seeing deer or even finding sign. A lot of the time you will feel like you are getting nowhere. You will feel like a failure. This is perhaps the hardest part of bigwoods hunting. We sometimes can get in our own way a lot of the time. The mindgames are killers for morale and attitude. This is something that probably takes time to learn and get experience. Know that each sit you put in is one sit closer to getting on a stud and in a minute everything can change. In bigwoods hunting, success usually doesn't come easy. Especially for bowhunting. My good friend that lives in Ely Minnesota finally killed a buck with bow on camera. It was the first buck in 10 YEARS for him and he's a great hunter in my eyes! It's also hard with social media. It's tough to see guys with trophy giants over and over when you are not even seeing deer. But you have to understand it's a different game you are playing. It's apples and oranges. Do not compare yourself to others. It's not the same.

6. Cyber Scouting is important. With cyber scouting you can find your access, your parking areas, the logging trails, the walking trails, and most importantly the terrain features and elevations. The cyber/topo maps will help you see the transitions, elevation changes and terrain breaks. You will be able to find the clear/select cuts. Also when you find sign, use a hunting application to document it. Then when you are back to the computer look and analyze it from afar.

7. Have a 3-5 year plan. This is part of the mental part however it's good to realize that it may take you 3-5 years to learn an area well and have success. In an interview, Mitch Rompola talks about this. Greg Miller also talks about this in one of his books. I cannot stress it enough to learn your areas. We are looking for needles in a haystack. A vast amount of country with few deer. Luck is definitely part of it when coming across deer. But luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

8. Know your gear. This isn't overly important to some but it's important to me. Typically the bigwoods can be harsh hunting and it's good to have gear that can take a beating. Also it's a good idea to have lightweight quality gear. It's really helpful to silence gear. Also when you hunt, take what you need. Try to keep it simple. If you are hiking 2 miles back or more, odds are you shouldn't be grabbing gear that won't have a purpose. It's also good to have gear for emergency or will help you in case of the what if happens. Items I take that a flashlight/headlamp, water, and a compass.

9. Analyze the buck sign. The the few amount of sign that the bucks leave it's really important to use it to your advantage. Understand the perennial scrape and rub lines. Analyze tracks. If there is snow it would be a great benefit to follow tracks and learn what the deer do and how they move through your properties. It's such a benefit to follow a buck and understand what he goes through on a daily basis. Another trick is in the winter is to follow the tracks backwards and learn where they come from.

10. Learn the Forest. What I mean by this is learn what is where. Learn what areas are spruces, oaks, maples, poplars, cedars, alders, dogwood, tamaracks etc. Being a good woodsman is really helpful because you'll understand more of what the deer like for food and where they will hang out and what time of year. This takes a lot of time. The does tend to bed in areas where their food choices are and where there is good security. Clearcuts/poplar slashings are a good place to start for doe bedding. Also certain swamps with cedar are great for cover and food for the deer. To learn the forest it's good to take your time when you are navigating through it. Take in your surroundings and don't be in a rush.


I would be interested in hearing more about your trail camera approach to big woods.

What types of terrain features do you focus on for trail camera placement?
Do you let the camera out all season in preparation for the next year or focus on current intel?

Feel free to add more, these were my main questions.


My approach is always changing for bigwoods with cameras. A lot starts out with the scouting. The areas I focus on a lot are the travel routes of the bucks. Old logging and over grown trails are great routes up by me. When you navigate these areas you can find the perennial rub lines and scrape lines. I like to set my cameras on primary scrapes. The transition areas are great areas especially if it's swampy or wet. Over the years I've used all different kinds of scents and to be honest, I'm not sure if any scent at all makes a bit of difference. At this point I let the deer be themselves and have them do what they do. I do use cameras in the spring up until end of season. To be honest the spring and summer are usually a bust. I can't figure out where my bucks are in summer. My October and November is when I get the best intel. Typically I like to check them on the way in to hunt. These days I'm glad I don't have the time to check the cams often.

I'll add that you can also use cell cameras. I have 3 and they have been very useful. If you don't want to invade an area or tip off bucks that you are in there you can setup a cell cam. Just set it up before he starts using the area. It's important or he's gonna know he's being hunted. If he knows he's being hunted, odds are you won't beat him. Another tip is to set the cams up high facing down. Now it isn't bullet proof but I do know that some bucks are camera shy and others tolerate them. All bucks are different with cameras.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Wlog » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:06 am

Many good posts! I should clarify that some of what is Bigwoods to me is a drop in the bucket to what other guys mean but I see exactly what guys in true Bigwoods see. Pockets of deer, complete dead zones with no sign whatsoever, lower hunting pressure. I’m kind of using these areas to cut my teeth because I’d like to travel to some areas that are more like a wilderness type hunt, like National Forest land.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby headgear » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:25 am

All the info you need it right here on this site, swamp/marsh bedding, hill bedding and the overlooked stuff all apply. People seem to think you can't hunt beds in the bigwoods but that just isn't true. Is it harder, absolutely it is very hard but the bucks are there and you just need to figure out how they are bedding and using the areas. You need to cover a lot of ground to find them, stealing a line from Bowhunter4life "sometimes you just end up walking until dark and not finding anything". That has really hit home with me the past few years, sometimes I put on 10-12 miles in a weekend and never end up hunting because I didn't find anything worth setting up on. If you put in the effort you will be rewarded, sometimes a little luck and good timing are needed but you know what they say, the harder you work the luckier you get.

One thing I know for sure, if you think you can't shoot bow buck in the bigwoods or bow bucks out of beds in the bigwoods then you will just talk yourself out of doing so. That mental game Dan talks about maybe plays a bigger role up here because the lack of deer and older animals to hunt will test you mentally more than anything. I always tell myself eventually it will happen, if I keep after them and keep scouting and keep hunting it will happen.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby cspot » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:01 am

Good advice above. I have recently started hunting it and it is definitely different that what I am used to.

One thing I have found is that deer are far more sensitive to human intrusion than for example deer in farm country that see more of it on a daily basis. I think moving around is even more important than it is in other types of areas.

I am anxious to see Dan's new video on big woods that will be out this next year. I think in the meantime a good book is Greg Millers "Bowhunting forest and deep woods". He discusses tactics, but one of the biggest takeways from the book that I got is the mental side of hunting areas with low deer densities. If you come from areas with higher deer densities it will be a shock to your system when you see very few deer in a day.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Bigwoodslongbow » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:01 am

headgear wrote:All the info you need it right here on this site, swamp/marsh bedding, hill bedding and the overlooked stuff all apply. People seem to think you can't hunt beds in the bigwoods but that just isn't true. Is it harder, absolutely it is very hard but the bucks are there and you just need to figure out how they are bedding and using the areas. You need to cover a lot of ground to find them, stealing a line from Bowhunter4life "sometimes you just end up walking until dark and not finding anything". That has really hit home with me the past few years, sometimes I put on 10-12 miles in a weekend and never end up hunting because I didn't find anything worth setting up on. If you put in the effort you will be rewarded, sometimes a little luck and good timing are needed but you know what they say, the harder you work the luckier you get.

One thing I know for sure, if you think you can't shoot bow buck in the bigwoods or bow bucks out of beds in the bigwoods then you will just talk yourself out of doing so. That mental game Dan talks about maybe plays a bigger role up here because the lack of deer and older animals to hunt will test you mentally more than anything. I always tell myself eventually it will happen, if I keep after them and keep scouting and keep hunting it will happen.



I've never had success hunting buck beds in the real big woods in evening do to always getting busted better off backing off and huntung a stream hes crossing or a sighn post rub on his way out of bed ive noticed in,big woods bucks will travel further in day light hours do to low pressure.
But in the morning get in 2 hrs before light enter from top of the ridge coming down on it u can get him
But in true big woods with low,deer density he could be 10 miles over on the next ridge
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:58 am

High pressure big woods or low? I’ll assume low.. I’m no expert but here’s my tip

I’m probably the only bow hunter in a few thousand acres.( some city slickers show up on a few weekends)

I have to slap myself once in a while because my instinct makes me keep pushing deep right out of the gate. As one gentleman said earlier “ take your time” if you’re the only one applying pressure just work your way in. “Hunt it back” “learn the area” so to speak. I found a few nice bucks this year that were very far from there beds around an hr before dark. Once you know deer are in an area low impact sits or observation sits can be pretty valuable. Significant temp drops seem to get them moving ahead of grey light. Even the big boys when I’m low pressure areas.
Shooting a buck as it stands in its bed is great but if you can shoot him 200 yds from there well before dark that’s even better. Especially if it’s closer to the truck! You can always push deeper but chances are if you go deep right away you blow the whole area out.

Then there’s the rut and at that point all the generic terrain feature stuff you read about is pretty valid. It’s not like high pressure areas where a funnel or ridge saddle is on tons of hunters radars. You get in and sure enough you still have the woods to yourself.

Jeff sturgis has a lot of habitat content out there and some of it breaks down big woods swamps and such he hunted in Michigan’s UP. Not a ton of Content but it’s neat to get his perspective on that compared to how he breaks down say a small ag parcel.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby brancher147 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:06 am

Bigwoodslongbow wrote:
headgear wrote:All the info you need it right here on this site, swamp/marsh bedding, hill bedding and the overlooked stuff all apply. People seem to think you can't hunt beds in the bigwoods but that just isn't true. Is it harder, absolutely it is very hard but the bucks are there and you just need to figure out how they are bedding and using the areas. You need to cover a lot of ground to find them, stealing a line from Bowhunter4life "sometimes you just end up walking until dark and not finding anything". That has really hit home with me the past few years, sometimes I put on 10-12 miles in a weekend and never end up hunting because I didn't find anything worth setting up on. If you put in the effort you will be rewarded, sometimes a little luck and good timing are needed but you know what they say, the harder you work the luckier you get.

One thing I know for sure, if you think you can't shoot bow buck in the bigwoods or bow bucks out of beds in the bigwoods then you will just talk yourself out of doing so. That mental game Dan talks about maybe plays a bigger role up here because the lack of deer and older animals to hunt will test you mentally more than anything. I always tell myself eventually it will happen, if I keep after them and keep scouting and keep hunting it will happen.



I've never had success hunting buck beds in the real big woods in evening do to always getting busted better off backing off and huntung a stream hes crossing or a sighn post rub on his way out of bed ive noticed in,big woods bucks will travel further in day light hours do to low pressure.
But in the morning get in 2 hrs before light enter from top of the ridge coming down on it u can get him
But in true big woods with low,deer density he could be 10 miles over on the next ridge


I agree hunting buck beds in big woods is not a good option from my experience. I have found the best buck beds you can imagine scouting after season and they are non existent the following year. Even with in season scouting it is really tough. But I have had good success hunting doe bedding during the rut waiting for a cruising buck. And I have had the best success midday 10-2 in these spots. I know of a few areas that have consistent doe bedding from year to year and this is something a big woods hunter can really capitalize on but it takes a lot of scouting and years of experience in an area to find these spots.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Seeker529 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:12 am

I want to see Dan do a video on big Mountainside woods like the nationals forest or Pennsylvania Or even Adirondacks!
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Tim H » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:39 am

Seeker529 wrote:I want to see Dan do a video on big Mountainside woods like the nationals forest or Pennsylvania Or even Adirondacks!


Have you checked out his Hill Country DVD? If so, would you know if that compares to the mountain woods?


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