White Poplar Islands

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
Schaef7
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White Poplar Islands

Unread postby Schaef7 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:07 am

Sorry for the long post but I’m new to the beast style and put a few miles on the boots today. I hunt up in Northern Minnesota and walked through a swamp that has a few white poplar islands.I thought I would find good sign but I hardly found anything. (Only one rub and hardly any tracks) That really surprised me because google earth shows all sorts of deer trails in this swamp and a farmers field to the east that usually has wheat or soybeans. There’s still 2-3 ft of snow so all the cattails were laying flat making it hard to see distinct trails. I found a deer carcass on an island point (red arrow) that critters have been feeding on and the skeleton looked like it was from a big deer. 10 yards behind the carcass I found what looked like a tall rub but I wasn’t entirely sure. The islands are extremely thick with 3-5 inch diameter white poplar and they’re surrounded by red brush. (I attached a picture of the swamp to give you guys a better look) there isn’t a single oak on any of the islands. I’m discouraged that there were hardly any rubs. Is this a spot I should just forget about or try to scout in season when there’s no snow and the deer aren’t yarded up?
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Cchez
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Re: White Poplar Islands

Unread postby Cchez » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:30 am

Don't be discouraged by lack of rubs. In areas like northern MN with low deer densities, you don't always find rubs in the bedding areas due to lack of competition. I hunt northern MN as well, and most of the buck beds i found last year didn't have any rubs near by. That definitely looks like an area worth putting some time into. I'd go back again once the snow is gone so you can see the ground better. Its very possible they weren't using that area for wintering. Once you go back, walk all the edges of higher ground looking for trails and sign. Some things that stick out to me worth looking into are all those little islands in between the island you marked with the arrow, and the larger island to the north. They look like nice little humps where a buck could isolate himself. Also, id walk the swampy edges of the treeline just west of that field and look for trails and sign. See if you can figure out where they are entering that crop field to feed.
Schaef7
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Re: White Poplar Islands

Unread postby Schaef7 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:47 am

Thank you for the reply! I did check out those small islands too but didn’t see much for sign. I’m going to go back after snow melt and check things out. Those islands don’t really have anywhere to hang a tree stand and since there’s no oaks I’m guessing the deer go straight to the field. I’ve seen Dan talk about sitting on a piece of plywood on an exit trail in the cattails. Anybody ever try this or have some advice?
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creepingdeth
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Re: White Poplar Islands

Unread postby creepingdeth » Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:09 am

Cchez hit it well, the need is to see bare ground to see last falls sign. Satelite views of trails dont lie. His view on low density is correct. Few bucks=little competition and sign(rubs,scrapes). The buck(s) probably hang most of the year around those islands until pressure/rut and after freeze up they wouldn't be safe to be in there. Winter may see them move far for food depending.
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Cchez
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Re: White Poplar Islands

Unread postby Cchez » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:26 am

I've never tried Dan's cattail technique. I don't have much for marshy stuff like that to hunt where I'm at. It's mosty ash, alder, or conifer swamps. You don't need to hunt on those little islands, what you need to find is IF theres a brute bedding there, where are his exit trails going to? THen hunt along those. He may be heading straight to the field, or he may be milling around somewhere out in that swamp or a bigger island until after dark before coming to the field. It looks as though with those larger islands you could set up observation stand and be able to see those little islands where you could then watch and see where the buck goes after he leaves his bed, with the right wind you could sit back and watch without being noticed and develop a better game plan from there.


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