Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

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Seeker529
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Seeker529 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:41 am

NorthwoodsWiscoHnter wrote:
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?



no i have not i noticed the other day that stealth outdoors website just got them back in stock and when i told my wife i was gana order it she yelled at me and told me to wait for christmas lol


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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:24 am

One thing to add. Yes bow hunting is much more challenging than gun hunting but for people to act like it’s that big of a difference in the big woods is strange to me.. if you can get on em w a gun you can get on em
W a bow..

I rarely Can shoot further than 100 yds usually not much more than 30-40 Getting on the deer is the same approach.. the part where you fire on the animal is the same big woods or subdivision deer.

I guess it’s different in park like woods setting.. but for people to act like it’s not worth your time? As they say around here, wah..
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby SEMObowhunter » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:32 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.


This^^ is what it’s all about. I hunt unbroken National Forest and all it is is big timber, old cuttings, pines, and just hill country. The sign is in pockets and lots of turf between those pockets. Where I find sign will usually be years worth of it in the same spots. They gravitate to these areas year after year. I don’t find many beds. I feel big timber deer move more than any other types therefore they don’t stay long enough to have worn beds. Here today there tomorrow. My best luck is in areas where I find sign repetitively and this changes due to acorns that year or not. It’s a hard game and you cannot go out there looking like a bass pro catalog. Stuff doesn’t kill deer, being observant, reactive, and too freakin hard headed to quit is what kills deer in this type of terrain.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby stash59 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:34 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


Your comment above said you can't possibly film every type of bigwoods. I agree! Hilly/mountainous bigwoods found in the east and northeast is way different than the huge swamps of the upper Midwest/Great Lakes. So saying you "can't" hunt buck beds in all bigwoods scenarios is way too general of a statement, to include all bigwoods areas. It basically depends how thick an area is and if there are deep cuts in the hillsides. More open hardwood type areas and rolling hills, yes. Bucks will probably see you coming. But if you have thick cover or terrain features that can hide your approach. It's like headgear stated. Use whichever terrain type that portion of bigwoods has to offer. To approach bed hunting!
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby brancher147 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:00 pm

1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:One thing to add. Yes bow hunting is much more challenging than gun hunting but for people to act like it’s that big of a difference in the big woods is strange to me.. if you can get on em w a gun you can get on em
W a bow..

I rarely Can shoot further than 100 yds usually not much more than 30-40 Getting on the deer is the same approach.. the part where you fire on the animal is the same big woods or subdivision deer.

I guess it’s different in park like woods setting.. but for people to act like it’s not worth your time? As they say around here, wah..


The main difference for me in open mature mountain woods is wind/thermals. With a bow it is real tough to get close enough or get a shot before getting winded by your target deer or another deer. With a gun you can shoot way earlier.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Bigwoodslongbow » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:04 pm

stash59 wrote:
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


Your comment above said you can't possibly film every type of bigwoods. I agree! Hilly/mountainous bigwoods found in the east and northeast is way different than the huge swamps of the upper Midwest/Great Lakes. So saying you "can't" hunt buck beds in all bigwoods scenarios is way too general of a statement, to include all bigwoods areas. It basically depends how thick an area is and if there are deep cuts in the hillsides. More open hardwood type areas and rolling hills, yes. Bucks will probably see you coming. But if you have thick cover or terrain features that can hide your approach. It's like headgear stated. Use whichever terrain type that portion of bigwoods has to offer. To approach bed hunting!



I'm with u I understand
Just alot of stements on here and,on,this,website in genral are wierd to me
Lived in northeast my wholelife so I'm very narrow minded alot of times on here.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:45 pm

brancher147 wrote:
1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:One thing to add. Yes bow hunting is much more challenging than gun hunting but for people to act like it’s that big of a difference in the big woods is strange to me.. if you can get on em w a gun you can get on em
W a bow..

I rarely Can shoot further than 100 yds usually not much more than 30-40 Getting on the deer is the same approach.. the part where you fire on the animal is the same big woods or subdivision deer.

I guess it’s different in park like woods setting.. but for people to act like it’s not worth your time? As they say around here, wah..


The main difference for me in open mature mountain woods is wind/thermals. With a bow it is real tough to get close enough or get a shot before getting winded by your target deer or another deer. With a gun you can shoot way earlier.



Yeah, I could see that. Broad range of terrain out there. But I know mostly just the swamp. I’m surrounded by 1000’s of acres of cedar, spruce, Tamarack. A ridge here consists of an elevation change of a few ft :lol:
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby BigBrutus11 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:16 pm

There's a couple of older books out that had some really good content back in the day. Although some of it is probably dated now. But I still go back and skim through them. "For Big Bucks Only" by Jeff Murray and "Bow Hunting Forest's and Deep Woods" by Greg Miller. Greg Miller was one of the first guys ( that I knew of ) to write alot about bigwoods bowhunting. Again the material is rather dated and written before baiting took over, and that's why he quite hunting the bigwoods, and moved on to North American Whitetail Tv, and later his own show.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Wlog » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:06 am

BigBrutus11 wrote:There's a couple of older books out that had some really good content back in the day. Although some of it is probably dated now. But I still go back and skim through them. "For Big Bucks Only" by Jeff Murray and "Bow Hunting Forest's and Deep Woods" by Greg Miller. Greg Miller was one of the first guys ( that I knew of ) to write alot about bigwoods bowhunting. Again the material is rather dated and written before baiting took over, and that's why he quite hunting the bigwoods, and moved on to North American Whitetail Tv, and later his own show.


I’ve read Greg Miller’s book. It’s pretty good.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Wlog » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:14 am

Experience and a lot of leg work=time.

The thing that attracts me is the solitude and the opportunity for bucks to get old. I’m having fun learning a new area. The thing that really set me on fire was last month I went in on a rut hunt and almost got a shot at a for sure 4-5+ year old buck. It gave me confidence that what I’m after is there to be had if I put in the time. Time is the one thing that is in short supply for me these days but I’m optimistic.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby headgear » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:21 am

brancher147 wrote: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.


Oh for sure, the rut is a whole different world, find the does, hunt those travel areas you can do just fine. The problem is most bow seasons are long and the rut isn't all that long so scouting and getting in on those bedding areas is key. Like you said, hot beds sometimes go cold the next year, re-scouting areas so you find the spots that heat up year after year is super important, I only want to be scouting and hunting primary bedding areas that I know are active year after year. Re-scouting spots can be key, I will sometimes be surprised by what beds are used consistently and which ones are one and done, however eventually you kind of figure out why some spots are better than others because they can be harder to hunt. Sometimes you find a spot and have to scout it 3 years in a row and even scout it at different times of the year and you will get a much better handle on things as far as bedding goes.

One thing is for sure, they bed with a purpose and the bed for security, these things are universal. The more you learn about areas bucks like to live the better understand you have. The learning curve for beast hunting is long, it probably takes even more time in the bigwoods but it is not impossible. The numbers of deer I have seen and shot before and after learning about the beast are like night and day.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby headgear » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:33 am

Bigwoodslongbow wrote:I'm with u I understand
Just alot of stements on here and,on,this,website in genral are wierd to me
Lived in northeast my wholelife so I'm very narrow minded alot of times on here.


I think it is like stash said, every area is different. Heck every bed I hunt is very different from each other. I have some hill country by me, actually been hunting more of it in recent years because I haven't been finding as many bucks in the swamps. However the small hills I hunt are probably far different than the mountains you hunt. There will be differences in the rut too I imagine. The tactics and ways the deer use the terrain are different, you just have to figure out how the bucks use the land in your area, doesn't really matter if you are talking about bedding, food, travel routes, or the rut you have to get it done on your land and do what you think works best. From the very beginning I watched the marsh dvd but applied the tactics to my bigwoods swamps, they are different but have a great many similarities too. I imagine the large swamps of the south are very different than the large swamps I hunt up north, however I would be willing to bet they have many similarities too.

I also try and remember there are no hard and fast rules for any of this, I think we even joke you never say never when it comes to deer because every time you do they will surprise you. In the end you have to do what works best for you, bed hunting has worked for me and worked well, if it isn't your cup of tea no big deal, especially if you are laying down some nice ones.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby stash59 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:40 am

Yeah in my bigwoods experiences from northern WI. Night and day difference between early season and the pre-rut, rut. Course this was all way before I had any Beast, bed hunting knowledge. But the area I hunted seemed totally devoid of deer, all deer, early season. They had to be there somewhere. But with heavy foilage and most everything green and growing, a potential food source. It was tough to pinpoint them. By pre-rut some foilage was down. Rubs and scrapes started showing up and doe bedding seemed more predictable. With lack of human/hunting pressure. Bucks moved more, even in daylight. So you didn't necessarily need to be right on top of a buck bed/bedding area.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby Trout » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:26 am

I hunt almost exclusively big woods and all of the concepts dan teaches in his hill country, marsh and swamp bedding DVD's and beast tactics talked about here on the forum all convert nicely to bigwoods. Yeah, food and bedding is potentially everywhere, but that's where in season scouting and comes in. Once you find an area with good sign, apply beast tactics and you will be on deer.
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Re: Lack of Bigwoods bowhunting info

Unread postby mauser06 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:26 pm

Haven't read the entire post yet....



A few things I've learned......break it down. You can have miles and miles of woods. On its face it's daunting and seems the same. Some of it is monotonous and just boring ole forest. But here, I have hills, swamps, timber cuts, etc.

Any changes are potentially things to key in on. Terrain changes, elevation changes, habitat changes etc etc.

Edges. Transition lines Where a cut meets the mature woods...where hemlocks meet the hardwoods. Where the beaver swamp meets the woods.


In the big woods, I usually find "pockets" of deer and those pockets are usually related to the above and food. Big woods food in my area is acorns till they are gone, browse, and some ground vegatation.

You'd think they bed anywhere and everywhere. I once believed that too. Now I've learned a bit more and the mature buck bedding is predicable and done with purpose. Biggest difference is there's typically a lot more good bedding and there's often less deer...so narrowing it down and keying in on it can be difficult.

I will admit, I don't typically mess with the big woods till they start cruising. It absolutely can be done.....I just like to hunt marshes and such early then head for the big woods and hills.


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