SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

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jnwalsh
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SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby jnwalsh » Wed May 20, 2020 7:11 pm

Looking for feedback from those with experience in the WI marshes. Have really tried to intricately scout the marsh near my home the past few seasons, which is approximately 5000 acres in size, and have basically scouted every square inch outside of the most interior areas. The interior of the marsh doesn't have much diversity, but does show some limited promise, and is almost totally surrounded by man-made ditches approximately 20'-40' in width - basically the width of a river. Arial scouting has proved well for me in the past when it comes to figuring out the areas to focus on (transition lines, habitat diversity, etc). I have basically focused my scouting else ware because from an arial viewpoint, i don't believe this area has the potential to hold mature deer. My question is - have you guys ever find yourselves 'writing off' certain marsh areas that may prove to be productive after further investigation? I know there is no substitute for boots on the ground. For perspective, the interior of this marsh is basically only accessible via 1+hour canoe or kayak ride.


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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby Bio1 » Fri May 22, 2020 11:12 pm

Can you see good trails and potential bedding/islands on the aerials? 1+ hours of difficult access sounds like a haven to me - assuming the habitat is there. I have a buddy that mounts a decent trolling motor on his canoe and can zip along pretty well - may be worth a try.

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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby matt1336 » Fri May 22, 2020 11:39 pm

Yes
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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby Kraftd » Sun May 24, 2020 12:33 am

If the whole interior you reference is literally cattails with standing water and nowhere to bed/eat, then yes, there can be too much water, especially in wet years. That said, that is not usually the case, somewhere there is likely enough to hold a mature buck in there. An hour+ access via canoe or kayak is downright easy compared to an hour+ hike in a marsh or swamp carrying a stand, which many of if do pretty regularly.

I'd get in there scouting with a canoe/kayak if it was me. Deer trails can be pretty evident on aerials, especially fall/winter aerials.
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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby jnwalsh » Wed May 27, 2020 5:09 pm

There are a few very remote areas that look to offer isolated potential dry bedding opportunities in this marsh. My main focus in recent years has been attempting to find public areas that look to be able to hold mature to deer, and that are difficult to access. In my opinion, this is probably one of those most difficult public properties to access in our county. Edges see lots of pressure, but interior doesn’t see much traffic. From an aerial view, the majority of interior looks like very wet cat tails. When I say that isolated areas might offer potential bedding, I’m talking very small dry areas that are maybe 10 yards x 10 yards in area - even smaller in some cases. I’ve started paying attention to these areas the past few years, and have seen a lot of mature deer using these areas to bed. The areas may look wet, but there are very small dry areas that offer dry bedding.

The interior of the marsh is almost entirely surrounded by major channels or ditches, which i think is partially the reason I’ve talked myself out of scouting it further. It looks like a lot of water from above.

I don’t currently have a kayak, but intend on investing in one in the near future for this very purpose.
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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby dan » Thu May 28, 2020 12:19 am

There is a "right" way to answer this question... You need to get out there and find out.
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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby jnwalsh » Thu May 28, 2020 2:04 pm

Thanks Dan and all who offered input. Borrowing a kayak from a family member this weekend to gather some more intel over the coming weeks. If things look promising, will plan on investing in a canoe or kayak this fall.
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Re: SE WI Marshes - is there such a thing as "too much water"

Unread postby Marshbuster89 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:44 am

Simple answer, yes.

Detailed answer, to a point. This past fall definitely threw me some challenges due to a plugged dam and extreme water levels that never went down. The water was so high that even the crests of the islands were about 2 feet underwater. Most of the deer vacated the marsh for the higher private land surrounding the marsh. The few deer that stayed were right up next to the road. This really made the overlooked spots good this past year.

I was seeing deer like crazy almost every evening hunt. However, the mature animals weren’t there. I skipped a few nights of hunting to just drive around and glass and most of the good bucks had indeed relocated to the private. With that being said, as soon as the water levels dropped enough to make their bedrooms just barely above water level, they went straight back into the marsh.

So, do your scouting and really key in on how high certain bedding areas are above water level and monitor water from a totally different area and you will have a good idea if they are in their normal bedding or not. All I do now is go to the dam and look at water levels in this particular marsh and I know immediately what areas are or aren’t holding deer. Keep in mind in May take a few years to really have that good of a grasp on each particular property.
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