River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

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Trout
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River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Trout » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:02 pm

Last night I was scouting a new area. I was there for the wetland cedar/pine swamp along a river valley. It's a river here, but most places would call it a creek. It's a trout stream. Its roughly 10 to 15' wide and flanked on both sides by cedar/pine swamp. The river bottom is roughly a quarter mile wide. The pine/cedar swampnis flanked on both sides by a giant ridge which is full of white pine and oaks.

The best sign was on the transition at the bottom of the ridge. But I know hunting bottoms can be extremely difficult due to finicky wind currents. That said, the water and the densest cover, and lowest hunting pressure in the area is in that bottom.

I'm really struggling with how I can successfully manage where my scent goes in the bottom? Get close to the trout stream and let the cool water pull my scent into the river corridor? Thanks in advance for any tips or ideas. Here is pic of one if the rubs I found on the transition for further explanation of why I need to figure this spot out I dont even know if the buck that made this is still alive, but I have to find out.

20200401_181718.jpg
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Wannabelikedan
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Wannabelikedan » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:19 am

The river can help with access but ultimately you want a stiff wind to keep your scent consistently moving the direction you want it to. Otherwise you’re living on a prayer. You said most sign is at the transition at the base of the ridge which to me sounds like a buck laying down rut sign as he’s catching falling thermals. Did you find probable bedding for the culprit? Just off assumption, I would think he is bedding in the swamps?
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby BigRed » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:53 am

We have been hunting a similar scenario as you minus the cedar swamp in SE minnesota the last few years. We hunt down there during the rut and mainly during shotgun season, success of seeing cruising bucks and mature ones at that has increased dramatically. We focus on creek crossings, or along a trail coming from one and we sit up on the ridge maybe 50-70 yds and look down. 2 years ago I blew a shot at a nice 3.5 10, and my dad shot a 3.5 11 last year cruising the bottom opening day of gun here aprox 9:45am. We have witnessed cruising down in multiple bottoms at all times of the day where they are jumping from ridge to ridge. They do bird dog the tall grass, brush and blowdowns along the creek though so that tells me does are bedding down there as well at some point. however we believe the buck my dad shot was bedding down there also. When gutted him I pulled two big handfuls of burrs from around his tail. The bottoms are the only place around where you can come across that many so he had to have been bedding down there though I cant confirm and this was before lockdown. I say all that to say its worth the gamble, plus like you, we don't see much pressure down there. Access is from the top and most people don't want to go all the way down, and they certainly don't want to try to get a big buck out. The wind can be sketchy and thats why we try to wait until gun because there is a little more forgiveness. We sit on the leeward hills so the thermals generally pull back up the hill away from the bottom, but that is not always the case and i have confirmed w milkweed. The other part is you can get away w a little more w rutting bucks. However with limited scouting/hunting time I'm looking for a decent 2.5/3.5 plus. We are not solely focusing on true mature bucks, you may be and that also changes things as they are a completely different animal. We are going to hang some cameras low this summer and see what intel we can get.We are also going to try and bow hunt these bottoms earlier in the pre rut just so we can learn and give it a shot. Like you, the sign is incredible and I know there is a good possibility this is night sign, but we have witnessed enough daytime movement to try and see if it pays off. Its a new and evolving tactic for us, and in my opinion is worth a shot. I know I didn't directly answer your questions much about wind but just wanted to share our experience the last few seasons. The other thing I plan to do is go down there soon and play w milk weed to learn more. Good luck!
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Trout » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:22 am

BigRed wrote:We have been hunting a similar scenario as you minus the cedar swamp in SE minnesota the last few years. We hunt down there during the rut and mainly during shotgun season, success of seeing cruising bucks and mature ones at that has increased dramatically. We focus on creek crossings, or along a trail coming from one and we sit up on the ridge maybe 50-70 yds and look down. 2 years ago I blew a shot at a nice 3.5 10, and my dad shot a 3.5 11 last year cruising the bottom opening day of gun here aprox 9:45am. We have witnessed cruising down in multiple bottoms at all times of the day where they are jumping from ridge to ridge. They do bird dog the tall grass, brush and blowdowns along the creek though so that tells me does are bedding down there as well at some point. however we believe the buck my dad shot was bedding down there also. When gutted him I pulled two big handfuls of burrs from around his tail. The bottoms are the only place around where you can come across that many so he had to have been bedding down there though I cant confirm and this was before lockdown. I say all that to say its worth the gamble, plus like you, we don't see much pressure down there. Access is from the top and most people don't want to go all the way down, and they certainly don't want to try to get a big buck out. The wind can be sketchy and thats why we try to wait until gun because there is a little more forgiveness. We sit on the leeward hills so the thermals generally pull back up the hill away from the bottom, but that is not always the case and i have confirmed w milkweed. The other part is you can get away w a little more w rutting bucks. However with limited scouting/hunting time I'm looking for a decent 2.5/3.5 plus. We are not solely focusing on true mature bucks, you may be and that also changes things as they are a completely different animal. We are going to hang some cameras low this summer and see what intel we can get.We are also going to try and bow hunt these bottoms earlier in the pre rut just so we can learn and give it a shot. Like you, the sign is incredible and I know there is a good possibility this is night sign, but we have witnessed enough daytime movement to try and see if it pays off. Its a new and evolving tactic for us, and in my opinion is worth a shot. I know I didn't directly answer your questions much about wind but just wanted to share our experience the last few seasons. The other thing I plan to do is go down there soon and play w milk weed to learn more. Good luck!


Thank you. I've been doing some homework and The concept to hunt the bottom when wind direction is parallel with the valley seems to have brought people success, particularly when you have some features down there like a knob or spur that deer are using to travel between the top and bottom, and setting up downwind of it.

I also think I might be able to set up on the leeward side of the swamp and get away with it if I have a riding thermal for a buck cruising that transition. Or I could get winded :lol:
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Trout » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:24 am

Wannabelikedan wrote:The river can help with access but ultimately you want a stiff wind to keep your scent consistently moving the direction you want it to. Otherwise you’re living on a prayer. You said most sign is at the transition at the base of the ridge which to me sounds like a buck laying down rut sign as he’s catching falling thermals. Did you find probable bedding for the culprit? Just off assumption, I would think he is bedding in the swamps?


Thank you, what makes you think it is rut sign on a falling thermal? Not second guessing you, just trying to learn.
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Wannabelikedan » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:08 pm

Trout wrote:
Wannabelikedan wrote:The river can help with access but ultimately you want a stiff wind to keep your scent consistently moving the direction you want it to. Otherwise you’re living on a prayer. You said most sign is at the transition at the base of the ridge which to me sounds like a buck laying down rut sign as he’s catching falling thermals. Did you find probable bedding for the culprit? Just off assumption, I would think he is bedding in the swamps?


Thank you, what makes you think it is rut sign on a falling thermal? Not second guessing you, just trying to learn.


It’s flat in riverbottom, therefore winds/thermals are very finicky. Falling thermals at the ridge bottom are the most consistent thing and being at the transition makes sense for a big buck cruising it at night. Probably cruising perpendicular to doe trails coming off the ridge. Did you conclude where buck and doe bedding was?
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby funderburk » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:11 pm

Beautiful picture! Sounds like an incredible location. Following this thread as I have similar spots and the same questions. I like the tip to watch for winds that parallel the valley.
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Trout » Tue Apr 07, 2020 11:32 pm

funderburk wrote:Beautiful picture! Sounds like an incredible location. Following this thread as I have similar spots and the same questions. I like the tip to watch for winds that parallel the valley.


I picked that up from the DIY Sportsman podcast, listened to the most recent episode on my way out to scout on Sunday, with Jared Shaffer.

On the Hunting Beast Podcast episode #7 with JoeRE, at the 57 minute mark, Joe talks about having to hunt deer low when they go low to escape higher hunting pressure on the ridges. He says he is finding them bedded on low elevation benches.
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby Hatchetman » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:06 am

Trout wrote:
funderburk wrote:Beautiful picture! Sounds like an incredible location. Following this thread as I have similar spots and the same questions. I like the tip to watch for winds that parallel the valley.


I picked that up from the DIY Sportsman podcast, listened to the most recent episode on my way out to scout on Sunday, with Jared Shaffer.

On the Hunting Beast Podcast episode #7 with JoeRE, at the 57 minute mark, Joe talks about having to hunt deer low when they go low to escape higher hunting pressure on the ridges. He says he is finding them bedded on low elevation benches.


I would agree.
I see this a lot when i hunt public Se Mn. The classic ridge points just get way too much pressure, but so do the bottoms. It's all about the easy walking... meaning take a 3 mile hike through the hills like everyone else does... now take a 3 mile hike when your side hilling it the whole way, its a royal PIA. but you'll find some good buck beds i'll gaurantee.
Only thing i disagree with is they usually are still bedding closer to the top than the bottom IMO.
Trout, that buck may be bedding along that creek but I would not discount the idea he is hanging on one of the nearby side hills watching that same transition line.
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Re: River Bottom vs Hill Country Bedding

Unread postby BigRed » Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:50 pm

Wannabelikedan wrote:
Trout wrote:
Wannabelikedan wrote:The river can help with access but ultimately you want a stiff wind to keep your scent consistently moving the direction you want it to. Otherwise you’re living on a prayer. You said most sign is at the transition at the base of the ridge which to me sounds like a buck laying down rut sign as he’s catching falling thermals. Did you find probable bedding for the culprit? Just off assumption, I would think he is bedding in the swamps?


Thank you, what makes you think it is rut sign on a falling thermal? Not second guessing you, just trying to learn.


It’s flat in riverbottom, therefore winds/thermals are very finicky. Falling thermals at the ridge bottom are the most consistent thing and being at the transition makes sense for a big buck cruising it at night. Probably cruising perpendicular to doe trails coming off the ridge. Did you conclude where buck and doe bedding was?


No doubt there is likely bucks cruising at night, however we have witnessed a lot of cruising in these bottoms of SE MN at all times of the day, most being in that 9/10am to 2pm range when thermals are rising the last couple years when we started focusing on hunting lower during the rut. The winds can be iffy and i cant help but wonder how many bucks we have not seen that were around due to sketchy winds. Pressure is almost non existent down low for us if there are no trails, and we have also had the benefit of pressure from up high running deer, especially does down to us. In my opinion its worth the risk of getting winded at least once maybe twice. Id rather strike out swinging than looking.


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