Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

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Singing Bridge
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:17 pm

1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:I have probably used all 4 of those statements at one time or another :lol: however I do get the snowshoes out and go scout anyways. ThereS no always and never in the deer woods right? I’ve noticed a few things this summer that I’m probably going to need snow to have a shot at figuring them out.

It’s seemed to me that there are pockets up along superior where deer hold out and many areas they do not. I can’t attest to that personally cus I don’t go up that way much in winter except maybe ice fishing Coho a time or two. That’s just what I gather talking to my friends. It’s exciting late season knowing anything can show up down this way.

My (Possible) theories on bigger bucks. The wolves preying on worn down bucks from the rut.. I subscribe to that because it just seems logical but I really don’t know.

The other thing I notice is the federal Govt has not done squat for logging in my area in a very long time. The deer still show up down here every winter but how much is left? The browse line is up there boy. If they log the cedar it’ll really be shot I suppose.. They haven’t logged squat though not a dang thing for many miles surrounding me. I would bet 20-30 yrs have gone by since any of this federal has been logged. Can’t help matters..

People winter feed a lot too and I’m not sold on that being a real positive in the big scheme of things. I doubt back in the day people winter fed as much. Now the hay farmers can’t even keep alfalfa bails in stock. I just worry people get these deer Yarding up in areas that aren’t that favorable, they get walked in and then the guy gets tired of buying feed, can’t find more, or really isn’t giving them enough. Not to mention if it’s just corn they’re feeding.

I notice deer eating balsams in November which I’ve always read is a starvation food. Seems pretty bad to already be on it in November.

Back in the day. Little baiting, lots of logging, few to 0
Wolves? Many bucks over 200lbs. Just spit ballin’ I’m no authority on northwoods deer by any means.


Good stuff, thanks for putting it up.


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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby Findian » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:41 pm

Singing Bridge wrote:
Findian wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:
Findian wrote:
KLEMZ wrote:Findian, I believe that the biggest, most dominant bucks are the ones that have earned the right to breed, they have beat all the other bucks (at great expense of energy). They are the ones that exert huge energy defending their place to breed against other bucks, plus, they are actually doing the breeding, finding the hot does.

What I am saying is that the biggest bucks are the ones that are most susceptable to the wolf population because the wolves prey on the weak and the young. The biggest bucks are also the weakest deer come winter. Sadly, this leaves younger bucks as the breeding bucks.

Last season I found a smoking fresh scrape on November 15th..the last day of my hunt. I set up and hunted it. 15 minutes before dark I had a 3.5 yr old buck come into the scrape. Unfortunately I did not recover that buck. However, I believe he was the dominant breeding buck in the area. I think, these days, the biggest breeding buck can be a 3.5 year old in the north woods (with the wolves).


I agree with you on that. I think that the bucks that make it up in wolf county are some of the hardest to hunt but that’s just me, I’ve never hunter mid to lower Michigan or southern Wisconsin, I’ve only hunted Ashland Bayfield and iron county in Wisconsin and cook county in Minnesota. So I guess my view is very limited.


Sorry Findlan, I've spent decades hunting much farther north than you've ever been. I've hunted buck populations so low with wolf pressure that they were almost non-existent. Make sure you do your research.

I find your theory flawed in that mature bucks, big racks or not, negotiate cover that they can easily maneuver through. Predators cannot catch a healthy, mature whitetail, including wolves, unless they sneak in within 40 yards without being detected.

I respectfully disagree.




Ok you’ve hunted but do you actually live up in wolf country currently?

Why are so many people having a hard time killing mature bucks up in northern Wisconsin in wolf county lately.

Klemz could be right. The sad truth is is that the biggest bucks are getting hunted the hardest by wolfs. Makes sense.


This is going in the wrong direction, and I am as much to blame as anyone.

Can I offer to you that I have been fascinated by wolves since the 1990's... they are extraordinary predators and their population is cyclical based on the populations of their prey. Anywho, wolves are very efficient. Their time is better spent hunting vulnerable prey, which means young... stupid whitetail bucks and deer that are sick or wounded. When they hammer this population, very few bucks make it through to maturity. It isn't efficient for wolves to hunt a couple of bucks that have somehow made it through to maturity in a huge, wilderness area. Until they are too old to fend for themselves the wolves have little chance of killing them and wolves waste little time doing so. They run a circuit of cruise trails throughout their territory and look for prey that is weak. They don't go out of there way to hunt mature bucks that are very isolated from the rest of the few whitetails around. The cruise trails take in the areas where the most deer spend time to try to find one that is sick or vulnerable. If a whitetail is bleeding, has an infection that the wolves smell, or is young and in a vulnerable position the alpha male and alpha female position themselves accordingly for an attempt at taking them down. Older bucks are exhausted by the rut but they are in "non-productive areas" when they recover. Some don't make it.

A healthy, mature and experienced whitetail buck, even after the rut and at their weakest point, is nearly last on the list for what wolf instincts tell them to pursue. Again, the few mature bucks in a region isolate after the rut. The reason there are so few mature bucks is that so few of them get there in the first place... seemingly almost non-existent. The numbers of older bucks taken by hunters declines rapidly with this scenario, but not because wolves are targeting the big, mature animals on purpose. Hunters simply do not have access to the numbers of mature bucks that existed previously.

Yes, some mature bucks are killed by wolves but typically because they were dying anyway. A wolf has a much better chance on killing mature bucks that are dying anyway or they eat bucks that recently died. Just because a mature buck is at or just after the end of the rut does not mean wolves will automatically kill him... or find him which is why those very few bucks exist in the first place.

If you disagree, know that I respect that. We can have alternate opinions and still learn from each other.





I understand what you are getting at I myself currently love the wolfs up here they are only doing what they are made to do be a killing machine together.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is more wolfs then ever before nowadays. Yeah? the point that I’m trying to say is for awhile 1950 to what the 1990s there was hardly any wolfs up in the north. We had some hard winters in the 70s? So the small deer didn’t survive It left the big deer being the survivors. they didn’t have a bad wolf predation so the big genetic bucks dominated the land scape now what I’m seeing is that the wolfs are back and the deer seems to be getting smaller then add in a bad winter and the deer population goes down. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure if I went north in to Canada the body And rack of deer are bigger due to more snow but how bad is the deer population in there big woods up there nowadays.
I don’t know, do you?

If you don’t mind what was the last big woods buck in wolf country you shot.


Sometimes I’m probably getting off my rocker because I just get so frustrated that I can hardly ever hunt a specific
Buck for more than a season. That buck I shan’t last year I was able to hunt him two seasons.

This buck below found him that year and started to hunt him only for him to die from wolfs. Found him dead October 27th 2017. Not to mention countless other bucks that just vanished out of thin air. And I’m just referring to like the last 10 years.

I’m not the only one who has noticed the trend up here. Maybe I’m wrong. As I said my view is limited.
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Findian
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby Findian » Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:31 pm

Singing Bridge wrote:Finding mature bucks through snow tracking in the winter to find primary buck bedding areas is critical to being successful in many northern big woods areas. I know many big woods hunters, including myself, that would look at you in bewilderment if you said snow tracking oversized buck tracks isn't worth your time. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have to call a spade a spade on this one. Bridge.



I believe this to be true to having the best success In big woods. But I also believe that the deer leave if you get a big snowstorm and it don't melt within a few days.

But the question is are they in there most secure bedding during that time frame or are they over a .25 mile in the heavy pines, With the does and fawns looking for a hot female? I don’t know. That’s kinda what I’m seeing. Are them bucks going to be there next year, most of the time it’s been no.

I also like to say for the last few years I’ve been trying my hardest to kill a big woods buck in September. Not easy.
I’ve done it successfully in farm land over towards mason.

But if I could have it my way it would be to have a good snow day to track in mid October or September I would love to know what a big woods bucks is really doing during that time frame. I do got a got grasp of what they seem to prefer. Beaver ponds next to a few good escape routes. Ravines that are full of dogwood and the pale green berries shrubs and the big looking maple leaf looking thing that grows on the ground and gets like a foot tall. Jewel weed areas also seem to be great early.
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:54 pm

Findian wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:Finding mature bucks through snow tracking in the winter to find primary buck bedding areas is critical to being successful in many northern big woods areas. I know many big woods hunters, including myself, that would look at you in bewilderment if you said snow tracking oversized buck tracks isn't worth your time. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have to call a spade a spade on this one. Bridge.



I believe this to be true to having the best success In big woods. But I also believe that the deer leave if you get a big snowstorm and it don't melt within a few days.

But the question is are they in there most secure bedding during that time frame or are they over a .25 mile in the heavy pines, With the does and fawns looking for a hot female? I don’t know. That’s kinda what I’m seeing. Are them bucks going to be there next year, most of the time it’s been no.

I also like to say for the last few years I’ve been trying my hardest to kill a big woods buck in September. Not easy.
I’ve done it successfully in farm land over towards mason.

But if I could have it my way it would be to have a good snow day to track in mid October or September I would love to know what a big woods bucks is really doing during that time frame. I do got a got grasp of what they seem to prefer. Beaver ponds next to a few good escape routes. Ravines that are full of dogwood and the pale green berries shrubs and the big looking maple leaf looking thing that grows on the ground and gets like a foot tall. Jewel weed areas also seem to be great early.


Great post Findlan, trust what you see and add it to your base. Thanks for reaching out on this.

Bridge
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby tundra@1 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:07 am

I can only tell you what I think. I have enjoyed this post. Wolves are here, have been here, and with no mgt, it is what it is. wolves are killing machines. My background to my young days is northern Bayfield county north of Grandview, in the bibon, and Ashland County on the Bad River drainage. What that area was like, in pre wolf reintroduction days, was nirvana. Will not go into the wolf issue, waste of time. But it has ruined a tremendous deer herd. But what do I know, only been at for over 60 years........

Present area now is Iron County MI. But I get out all over the area. A lot of what Singing Bridge says is very true. Findian seems to have figured out, how to hunt in wolf country. that is what so many hunters do not do.

Good luck to all this year....... I love to hunt this country,,,,, key in on the drainages, and log jobs
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby erics218 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:36 pm

I can add my observation from this spring. I live and hunt in central MN. Wolf country. I'm new to the beast, and spent a lot of time shed hunting and looking for buck beds. I found 26 wolf kills covering about 1500 acres. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I found 1 small 8pt, 3 or 4 does, and the rest were fawns. Most of the fawns were bucks of course. Like 75% or more. I think the mature bucks are too smart to get eaten by the wolves. I managed to find a few new buck bedding areas to hunt. I had 16 different bucks on cameras that were, or will be shooters this year. Most of our mature bucks weigh 180-210.
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby tundra@1 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:43 am

In many ways I have found wolves to be an assest. Here is why..... Of course I have all the time in the world, but most hunters have left their camps, due to wolves, etc. I do not believe that the big deer, get taken down much by the wolves, when those deer are in their prime. I have had to learn how to hunt deer, in wolf country, etc...... I love to grouse hunt, and so many do not hunt their dogs in wolf country anymore, giving me more unpressured spots.........

I have also tracked them wolves for miles. They know where the deer are, and have led me into some great spots, etc, that I may not have found on my own.

I only had one stare down with a wolf at about 75 yards. It was intense, for sure, but I guess it makes wild country wild
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby headgear » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:12 am

tundra@1 wrote:In many ways I have found wolves to be an assest. Here is why..... Of course I have all the time in the world, but most hunters have left their camps, due to wolves, etc. I do not believe that the big deer, get taken down much by the wolves, when those deer are in their prime. I have had to learn how to hunt deer, in wolf country, etc...... I love to grouse hunt, and so many do not hunt their dogs in wolf country anymore, giving me more unpressured spots.........

I have also tracked them wolves for miles. They know where the deer are, and have led me into some great spots, etc, that I may not have found on my own.

I only had one stare down with a wolf at about 75 yards. It was intense, for sure, but I guess it makes wild country wild


Exactly this, wolves are just like any other hunting pressure, sometimes it hurts a little but if you look around you can find a way to benefit off of it. The wolves are not going away and really we don't want them to be gone, they are amazing animals. 100% the wolves know where the deer are too! You can learn as much from their tracks as you can from deer.
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:40 am

I’ve been thinking about this a bit over the last few weeks.

I was thinking and A lot of the bucks that seem to come up missing that I know of arent those big mature bruisers. More so 2 yr olds, maybe 3. Will know they are alive around say Christmas but the following yr no sign of say a bigger more mature buck that they should have grown into. One guy I know baits heavy and he’ll get a half dz small 8’s on cam end of season then the next yr he’s scratching his head going “ a few of those had to survived” He used to really knock down some bruisers but he doesn’t get eyes or phots on any these days.

Our late season does include an uptick in bucks from the migration so possibly some of those are younger bucks that can’t compete for that prime bedding spot up north. As they age maybe they are able to lock down that spot that allows them to become a true bigwoods recluse. Thus they skip the migration and stay in their new found security?

I hear the data of a study done either in the up or N wis about bucks being so pattern-able yr in and yr out in their movements. So this would kind of go against that. Although their could be a lot of variables there. Lord knows a 5 yr old buck probably doesn’t do the same things he did when he was 1 or he’d be dead.

It’s just one of those things that’s always rattling around in my head.
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Re: Big Woods Snow Bucks - Think Again

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:46 am

headgear wrote:
tundra@1 wrote:In many ways I have found wolves to be an assest. Here is why..... Of course I have all the time in the world, but most hunters have left their camps, due to wolves, etc. I do not believe that the big deer, get taken down much by the wolves, when those deer are in their prime. I have had to learn how to hunt deer, in wolf country, etc...... I love to grouse hunt, and so many do not hunt their dogs in wolf country anymore, giving me more unpressured spots.........

I have also tracked them wolves for miles. They know where the deer are, and have led me into some great spots, etc, that I may not have found on my own.

I only had one stare down with a wolf at about 75 yards. It was intense, for sure, but I guess it makes wild country wild


Exactly this, wolves are just like any other hunting pressure, sometimes it hurts a little but if you look around you can find a way to benefit off of it. The wolves are not going away and really we don't want them to be gone, they are amazing animals. 100% the wolves know where the deer are too! You can learn as much from their tracks as you can from deer.


I’ve really got no hunting pressure to speak of around here in archery. I would say les than 1 hunter per sq mile some areas maybe 5+ sq mi. Not many wolves either but occasionally they move in. There’s no doubt they know where to go to find deer. They aren’t going to waste energy randomly cruising the timber. I’ll have to follow some tracks this coming snow season and see where I end up. I tell you one thing, when I climb down and begin to exit from a couple miles deep in a nasty swamp, I hate it when the wolves start lighting up nearby. I know they are afraid of me and such but I always think man I should’ve put the .45 on my hip.
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