Marsh islands advice - what to key in on?

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Pfunk
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Marsh islands advice - what to key in on?

Unread postby Pfunk » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:50 pm

I’m new to the beast and planning to start targetting buck bedding using the tactics I have learned here. I need some advice on hunting isolated islands out in the marsh.

I scouted a large tract of public land the other day and it’s about an hour and a half drive for me. Between that and having young kids at home, it’ll be hard for me to spend a lot of time there, so I’m hoping to learn some things that hopefully shorten the learning curve.

I put on many miles and hopped from island to island. I was on islands 1/4 acre all the way up to 25-30 acres. I’m still learning on how to read bedding but with snow still present in many areas I wasn’t seeing any obvious beds, but what was evident was that on most fingers/narrow points there were obvious trails and usually rubs towards the end of those points.

I’m curious when you guys are scouting these places, is it usually obvious which islands are hot that you will want to target?

Are you looking for well used bedding sites that are obviously advantageous for the deer?

Are you looking for heavier concentrations of rubs?

Are you looking not for numbers of rubs but the presence of a few or even one mature buck rub higher on the tree?

Are you keying in on a difference in food source (like maybe only a few islands have white oaks when the majority are red oaks)?

Are clusters of islands in close proximity preferred over an isolated island all by itself thinking more deer could be using and traveling within that “system”?

If the islands are small (under a few acres in size), is it preferential to target islands that have small bedding sites (lone tree, small patch of raised ground, etc) just off the main island vs islands that have no peripheral bedding? Or are the bucks perfectly content to bed on the island itself?

Finally, I actually saw a higher concentration of rubs on the mainland near the transition line to the marsh. Are the islands typically better early in the season but as the rut kicks in some of those deer move mainland and lay down more sign? I imagine the biggest bucks are still going to be isolated away from hunting pressure (the mainland likely sees a lot of it). Do those larger islands become more desirable during the rut?

Obviously I understand there is going to be a degree of figuring out the details with boots on the ground as the season nears, and I plan to try to find a few spots from which I can run observation sits and try to get eyes on where a good buck might be hanging, but I’d love to hear from the guys who hunt this terrain often. I know this was a long post and I asked a lot of questions but these are what was going through my head having never targetted these areas.


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Re: Marsh islands advice - what to key in on?

Unread postby dan » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:45 pm

Islands are only good in my opinion if they have isolated bedding adjacent to them. Look at the brush around the island. Rubs are nice, but not mandatory, though there should at least be some. Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h38mk1ozgc
matt1336
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Re: Marsh islands advice - what to key in on?

Unread postby matt1336 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:59 pm

Scouting is like anything....you’re not they great when you start out and get better with the more you do it. You probably overlooked a bunch of sign that may have lead you to more obvious bedding.....or maybe the area isn’t holding what you’re looking for...idk. Keep at it and you’ll have that ahha moment.

Have you watched the videos? A lot of your questions are answered there. A lot of your questions need to be answered by your own first hand experience. You said you don’t have a lot of time...well your hunt quality, more times than not is going to reflect how much time you put into it. Driving three hours to scout for two hours or some other situation that leaves your wife and friends looking at you weird, wondering what the heck you’re thinking is literally what it takes. If you want success in fall you have to make time in the off season. The beast levels out the learning curve a bit but it’s still takes a lot of hard work, wet boots and ripped up skin if you want to get it done.
In the end...at least it’s a great work out. Lol
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Pfunk
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Re: Marsh islands advice - what to key in on?

Unread postby Pfunk » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:56 am

matt1336 wrote:Scouting is like anything....you’re not they great when you start out and get better with the more you do it. You probably overlooked a bunch of sign that may have lead you to more obvious bedding.....or maybe the area isn’t holding what you’re looking for...idk. Keep at it and you’ll have that ahha moment.

Have you watched the videos? A lot of your questions are answered there. A lot of your questions need to be answered by your own first hand experience. You said you don’t have a lot of time...well your hunt quality, more times than not is going to reflect how much time you put into it. Driving three hours to scout for two hours or some other situation that leaves your wife and friends looking at you weird, wondering what the heck you’re thinking is literally what it takes. If you want success in fall you have to make time in the off season. The beast levels out the learning curve a bit but it’s still takes a lot of hard work, wet boots and ripped up skin if you want to get it done.
In the end...at least it’s a great work out. Lol


Thanks for the reply. Believe me when I say it’s not that I wouldn’l love to put in a ton of scouting effort and answer every one of these questions myself. The trip the other day was a 7 mile boots on the ground day... and I would love nothing more than to put several more of those days in but it’s hard to make that happen and keep everyone happy at home. I definitely plan to make more trips once the snow is all gone to see what I may have missed. It’s very possible I was moving too quick to pick up subtle sign in an attempt to maximize the ground I covered.

If by the “the videos” you mean the marsh bedding DVD i have not got my hands on it yet. I have watched as many youtube videos from Dan as I could find but will have to go back and watch again if I am missing the answers to my questions in those videos.

I was mostly looking for a few things to think about keying in on to guide where i start my scouting missions or observation sits. This is a big marsh and thousands of acres. I had spent my time in an area where i was about as far from a parking area as one can get, but the immense size of the area and number of islands makes it very hard to turn over every stone. So if i can key in on certain characteristics at least for a starting point, thats all I was hoping to gain. I ended the day without thinking any one island really stood out from the rest, but hopefully once the snow is gone and I get out there again i can pick up on things I missed and key in on bedding. Where the snow had melted, the blanket of oak leaves on the ground was so thick and packed down it was really hard to make out bedding. I’ll be back again though... no doubt about that.


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