General Swamp Hunting questions

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Jimmy wallhanger
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General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby Jimmy wallhanger » Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:38 am

Hey, going to focus pretty much my entire season on swamps... I have some questions for the experienced swamp guys here.

I found some winter beds that Im pretty sure will be a wet mess and have a foot of water over them, do I just use that info for late season when the place is frozen?

How do you walk thorugh? I have no issue walking throgh swamp water its the mud and taking forever to walk 50 yards and having every step take alot of energy and each step making a suction noise. Also my boots are 18" high I have some hip waders I was thinkinbg of wearng under my bibs, does water ever get in your boots?

I have a GPS that I primarily use but I am thinking of using tacks to mark entry and exit routes but I worry of alerting other hunters, the place I hunt has alot of pressure but most on the outskirts and I seen only one sign of another hunter in the swamp.

Also how hard is it dragging a buck out? Whenever Ive shot a deer Ive always gutted it then drag it out with teh rest of my gear, no sled. Theres a ton of coyotes and Im paranoid they will find my animal when Im walking back to my ride.

Im sure theres other stuff Ive overlooked as well.

Thanks in adavnce.
Last edited by Jackson Marsh on Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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UncleBuck3268
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby UncleBuck3268 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:37 am

I don’t have the experience that a lot of guys on here have, although I do spend quite a bit of time in the swamps.

There is no real true answer as to how to walk through a swamp as every situation is different. If you are going a long distance I would avoid hip waders and just wear the boots because the waders may not seem heavy at first, but they will tire you out. You absolutely will at some point fill your boots with water. It really isn’t too bad though as long as it isn’t extremely cold.

Just be aware of any spots that have no vegetation growing in them and just little like a muddy pit of muck. A lot of times there is not a bottom in that stuff, or if there is you will have a hard time getting out. This stuff is the reason a lot of guys are not willing to put the work in. It’s not only the mud and water. Don’t forget the heat and the mosquitoes. It really is tough and isn’t for everybody.

You could start by not burying yourself 2 miles back and try to do some observation sits. Put yourself through a hundred yards of stuff the first time out and see if it is for you. Just remember with these observation sits your not only studying deer, but also any other hunters that may be using the area. This is how I started with the swamp hunting. Gradually worked my way in and started to feel more comfortable doing so.

As far as the dragging, hopefully you have a few buddies because yes it is very tough all alone. Another thing you could consider is the gutless method and pack out in garbage bags.

Good luck!
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby MichiganMike » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:22 am

Swamp hunting is my specialty. here is my take:
On the beds- those can change. If there is water in there- they will not be there. They'll be on some sort of dry ground or humps. you'll have to re-scout it. Especially in late season- they'll be bedding near a food source which can change too. But USUALLY its in cedar swamps with fallen timber in my area. Offers food, GREAT security, and a place to bed out of water.

As far as walking through- there really is no easy way. if there was, everyone would be doing it. I try to find humps or patches that have bushes or scrub brush- those will hold places to step where you don't go through. If its warm enough and you need to go through water- just take your boots off and walk through in your underwear- or wear a pair of shorts under your pants. I stay away from waders in swamps if I can. If I need to use them- I bring a pair of extra boots and ditch the waders somewhere when I reach dry ground. Little extra to carry- but I really don't like wearing waders for long distances. The boots I just use gear ties and a bungee cord to fasten to my stand along with my sticks.

If tacks are easier for you and help you- use them. If its nasty swamp- most hunters wont go through there. If they do see your tacks or sign, it may deter them from going in knowing that someone else has already been in there. Can work to your advantage.

As far as dragging- really no easy way either unless you pack it or have a buddy to help you. Jet sled definitely helps. Buck I shot last year was a good 3/4 of a mile of straight swamp. I was by myself and I didn't get home until about 1 AM. cool thing about it was it makes for a great story, really makes you appreciate the experience and is very self rewarding in my book. Im not worried about coyotes or wolves but if you are, I read somewhere to hang a light over your kill. Supposed to keep them away, and it will also help you find it once you come back.

hope this helps- good luck to you!
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby PK_ » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:58 am

I would advise not putting any reflectors where someone will spot them during the day. Guys will follow other people’s trails during the day, almost nobody will follow a trail they aren’t familiar with into a swamp in the dark. But having said that I only use reflectors at specific spots where the trail gets real tricky or I have to cross water at a specific shallow spot...

Dealing with that deep muck is the worst. I will gladly walk thru deeper water if the bottom is firmer. Jungle boots are the way to go if the temps are mild or you can even run them with a wool sock liner and neoprene wading socks in cold weather, rubber boots suck when you swamp them and sometimes you will not go to places you really should because you don’t want to go deeper than your boots.

A lot of times if possible I will have a separate route to drag a deer out, open water knee to waist deep is ideal, sometimes using sloughs, creeks, ditches etc... honestly dragging a deer out of a swamp solo is not that bad. Just take your time, drink enough water and don’t get overheated.

If you have to leave the animal to go back to the vehicle leave your jacket on it, the scent will keep the coyotes off it.
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Jimmy wallhanger
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby Jimmy wallhanger » Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:03 am

Great replies thanks alot. The swamps are hard-core cedar swamps when I was there earlier in the week pretty much all the cedar has been eaten that they cloud reach and there's a ton of cover and blown over trees etc.

Good tip about the mud without vegetation thanks.
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby headgear » Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:10 pm

Jimmy wallhanger wrote:Hey, going to focus pretty much my entire season on swamps... I have some questions for the experienced swamp guys here.

I found some winter beds that Im pretty sure will be a wet mess and have a foot of water over them, do I just use that info for late season when the place is frozen?

How do you walk thorugh? I have no issue walking throgh swamp water its the mud and taking forever to walk 50 yards and having every step take alot of energy and each step making a suction noise. Also my boots are 18" high I have some hip waders I was thinkinbg of wearng under my bibs, does water ever get in your boots?

I have a GPS that I primarily use but I am thinking of using tacks to mark entry and exit routes but I worry of alerting other hunters, the place I hunt has alot of pressure but most on the outskirts and I seen only one sign of another hunter in the swamp.

Also how hard is it dragging a buck out? Whenever Ive shot a deer Ive always gutted it then drag it out with teh rest of my gear, no sled. Theres a ton of coyotes and Im paranoid they will find my animal when Im walking back to my ride.

Im sure theres other stuff Ive overlooked as well.

Thanks in adavnce.


The bucks could use that bed really any time of year, start in season scouting areas to figure out if they in the area or what time of year they might favor that bed, if they aren't there they could be miles away when you setup.

As mentioned muck is the worst, had waste deep stuff turn me back a few times because I was a little concerned about getting sucked into it. Almost lost a boot in a hole other times, sometimes you have to use the deer trails, they kind know the best routes, or try a longer way around if you can find one. Different kinds of swamp will have different obstacles, holes and hunting challenges, pay attention to the details and think about how the deer use them. After a year of swamping you will figure out travel and be able to spot holes before you dunk yourself. Also just be prepared to get wet on a consistent bases, even after years of swamp travel you will step in spots that are just going to suck you into them, dump your boots wring your sock out and throw em back on, you will warm up in due time. I have done it with 6 inches of snow on the ground and been fine to hunt a few hours+.

Skip the tacks and don't worry about the drag until you get him, then get help or be ready to quarter him up if you can. Some long drags over the bog will kill your legs and you will get very wet but you are making memories you get brag about for years. The hardest drags are the best and most memorable anyway, embrace the pain!
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby szwampdonkey » Mon Feb 08, 2021 4:00 am

Jimmy wallhanger wrote:Hey, going to focus pretty much my entire season on swamps... I have some questions for the experienced swamp guys here.

I found some winter beds that Im pretty sure will be a wet mess and have a foot of water over them, do I just use that info for late season when the place is frozen?
They WONT be in those spots when it wet

How do you walk thorugh? I have no issue walking throgh swamp water its the mud and taking forever to walk 50 yards and having every step take alot of energy and each step making a suction noise. Also my boots are 18" high I have some hip waders I was thinkinbg of wearng under my bibs, does water ever get in your boots?
There is NO easy way to do this quietly. It WILL be a lot of work, you WILL be full of mud, you WILL get wet boots, and you WILL sweat in the early season.

I have a GPS that I primarily use but I am thinking of using tacks to mark entry and exit routes but I worry of alerting other hunters, the place I hunt has alot of pressure but most on the outskirts and I seen only one sign of another hunter in the swamp.

Also how hard is it dragging a buck out? Whenever Ive shot a deer Ive always gutted it then drag it out with teh rest of my gear, no sled. Theres a ton of coyotes and Im paranoid they will find my animal when Im walking back to my ride.
Getting your deer out WILL be a TON of work, no getting around it.

Im sure theres other stuff Ive overlooked as well.

Thanks in adavnce.


Hunting swamps is a TON of work and there is really no getting around it. Thats why there are deer, and mature bucks in particular, in them on public because if they werent theyd be dead. Despite this information most still wont put in the effort to hunt in them. They may give it a go once or twice after watching a youtube video but then give up on it.

That being said, best of luck in your pursuit of it this next season Id hunt no other way after doing it the past 20 years or so. Im rarely bothered by anyone else even on heavily hunted public land. Well, i have to redact that claim after this year there were Covid Hunters EVERYWHERE this year but i dont think they will last.
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby swampyak » Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:54 am

Just a couple quick thoughts.
In an area with even a small population of deer there can be a browse line on white cedar. At first glance it might appear that there is very little food available. However
northern white cedar seem to continually shed tip of the branches which in turn creates and almost never ending supply of browse for deer if the stand is big enough.

A lot of time with solo drag,s if I still have my equipment with me I will move my gear ahead 20 to 30 feet and put it down. Then I drag the animal to that point and start the process over. It gives you a little break and seems to work out well.
I know of a western hunter than when faced with long drags has a twist on this. He cuts his animal in half. Then drags one have a little ways then goes and gets the other half. He repeats this proses over and over until he gets back to his vehicle. Instead of dragging a 200lbs buck you are getting small breaks and are only dragging a 100lbs buck.
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby szwampdonkey » Tue Feb 09, 2021 6:11 am

swampyak wrote:Just a couple quick thoughts.
In an area with even a small population of deer there can be a browse line on white cedar. At first glance it might appear that there is very little food available. However
northern white cedar seem to continually shed tip of the branches which in turn creates and almost never ending supply of browse for deer if the stand is big enough.

A lot of time with solo drag,s if I still have my equipment with me I will move my gear ahead 20 to 30 feet and put it down. Then I drag the animal to that point and start the process over. It gives you a little break and seems to work out well.
I know of a western hunter than when faced with long drags has a twist on this. He cuts his animal in half. Then drags one have a little ways then goes and gets the other half. He repeats this proses over and over until he gets back to his vehicle. Instead of dragging a 200lbs buck you are getting small breaks and are only dragging a 100lbs buck.



Might as well just properly quarter it and pack it out if you’re doing that imo. I’ve packed a few out in WI once they FINALLY allowed us to do it a few years ago and find it to be a pretty viable option if you’re really in the suck.
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby swampyak » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:53 am

szwampdonkey wrote:
swampyak wrote:Just a couple quick thoughts.
In an area with even a small population of deer there can be a browse line on white cedar. At first glance it might appear that there is very little food available. However
northern white cedar seem to continually shed tip of the branches which in turn creates and almost never ending supply of browse for deer if the stand is big enough.

A lot of time with solo drag,s if I still have my equipment with me I will move my gear ahead 20 to 30 feet and put it down. Then I drag the animal to that point and start the process over. It gives you a little break and seems to work out well.
I know of a western hunter than when faced with long drags has a twist on this. He cuts his animal in half. Then drags one have a little ways then goes and gets the other half. He repeats this proses over and over until he gets back to his vehicle. Instead of dragging a 200lbs buck you are getting small breaks and are only dragging a 100lbs buck.



Might as well just properly quarter it and pack it out if you’re doing that imo. I’ve packed a few out in WI once they FINALLY allowed us to do it a few years ago and find it to be a pretty viable option if you’re really in the suck.


Most of my out of the area animals I’ve been part of we have packed out as well but in cases were the whole animal needs to be removed etc it makes sense
This fall we packed out two animals in one trip a little over a mile
My pack wasn’t big enough so we had quarters tied on outside the pack also
Still wouldn’t have been as much as a moose quarter but a lot for the pack we had with

If your a few miles back with all your gear it might be faster then making a trip out and back in

To each there own. A lot of ways to skin a cat
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Re: General Swamp Hunting questions

Unread postby swampyak » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:53 am

szwampdonkey wrote:
swampyak wrote:Just a couple quick thoughts.
In an area with even a small population of deer there can be a browse line on white cedar. At first glance it might appear that there is very little food available. However
northern white cedar seem to continually shed tip of the branches which in turn creates and almost never ending supply of browse for deer if the stand is big enough.

A lot of time with solo drag,s if I still have my equipment with me I will move my gear ahead 20 to 30 feet and put it down. Then I drag the animal to that point and start the process over. It gives you a little break and seems to work out well.
I know of a western hunter than when faced with long drags has a twist on this. He cuts his animal in half. Then drags one have a little ways then goes and gets the other half. He repeats this proses over and over until he gets back to his vehicle. Instead of dragging a 200lbs buck you are getting small breaks and are only dragging a 100lbs buck.



Might as well just properly quarter it and pack it out if you’re doing that imo. I’ve packed a few out in WI once they FINALLY allowed us to do it a few years ago and find it to be a pretty viable option if you’re really in the suck.


Most of my out of the area animals I’ve been part of we have packed out as well but in cases were the whole animal needs to be removed etc it makes sense
This fall we packed out two animals in one trip a little over a mile
My pack wasn’t big enough so we had quarters tied on outside the pack also
Still wouldn’t have been as much as a moose quarter but a lot for the pack we had with

If your a few miles back with all your gear it might be faster then making a trip out and back in

To each there own. A lot of ways to skin a cat


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