Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

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FL Marsh
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Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby FL Marsh » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:53 am

I have been trying to decide how to approach a hunt or observation sit on this area to see if any bucks come out of this island in the middle of an active cattle ranch. The island is about 15 acres in size, about 12 acres of it is a wet cypress swamp, over the past couple seasons I have seen rubs pop up in the island on the edge of the swamp. I have never hunted it or placed any cameras in the area to determine if anything is holding up in there.

I have hunted the surrounding large woodlots and swamps with success, but this year the rubs really blew up in that island much larger trees and higher up on the trees, im hoping the buck is still around for next season.

Breakdown of the attached Map is as follows:

- Public Access from the north, easy walking in the cattle pasture, however not many people hunt this side.
- Private/state owned wetlands to the north not hunted, but does have human access for hiking and bird watching.
- Subject Island is about 15 acres in size, 12 acres is wet cypress swamp (Grey trees), surrounded with strip oaks and palms.
- X marks Big Rubs that popped up this season.
- Limited access property, deer hunting allowed only 5-6 weekends a season.
- Pasture is normally mowed yearly so never gets really tall.
- Image scale is about 1 mile from east edge to west edge of photo.
- Prevailing winds are from the NE or NW most of the time during season.

Image

I have been in the island on a yearly basis and never jumped any deer out of it, I have however killed a couple does in a smaller island a bit farther to the south. The cypress swamp is a thick nasty swamp with very thick lower vegetation that I have tried to access before with no success. I have never seen a deer go in or out, so if a buck is bedding in the swamp it would be in before sunrise and wouldn't come out till after dark. Have not seen any scrapes around the island, only rubs and tracks, no real trails in or out, or I missed them.
I am thinking a buck may be bedding watching the access if bedding on the north side of island or cypress / oak transition, or due to the the prevailing winds would the buck be bedded on the south side of island with swamp at its back? Is this wind based, vision based, sound based bedding if anything is bedded here?

Just looking to get some input on how some of you may approach determining if anything is bedding is the island. Or give me some pointers on how I should go about figuring this out?


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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby dan » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:35 am

Those rubs could be rut cruising for bucks seeking does... Are cattle getting on the island? If bucks are bedding on that island Im sure you would see them around the edges of it just before dark... They would most likely bed to edge of the down wind side of the island and may bed both sides (all winds) or one side (one wind) or neither.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby FL Marsh » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:43 am

dan wrote:Those rubs could be rut cruising for bucks seeking does... Are cattle getting on the island? If bucks are bedding on that island Im sure you would see them around the edges of it just before dark... They would most likely bed to edge of the down wind side of the island and may bed both sides (all winds) or one side (one wind) or neither.


Yes cattle do have access to the island, however sometimes the cattle is in other segments of the pasture maybe as part of a rotation to the fields? So it could go weeks without having cattle on that part.

Rut rubs is interesting, could be the case. Not sure how I could determine that? Rut in this area of FL is Late Sept. to early October. The little chasing I have seen in all my years was in the first couple of days of October. Haven’t been able to see when the rubs pop up specifically around that island but I know they are there every year, and this year they were just bigger and taller than previous years.

Maybe I’ll throw a observation sit or two at it from away on a days with different winds to see if anything comes out. I feel they are watching the access of anything is bedded on the north side, seems to me it would be ideal. However a southerly wind is not that common.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby Bogle » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:59 pm

I would think that the sign you are seeing was probably done at night. That's a lot of open ground to cover if they have to escape, especially if it is mowed. If the cows have access to it on any regular basis I would think it is pretty "open" inside the island. as well. That point to the West looks interesting.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby FL Marsh » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:13 pm

Bogle wrote:I would think that the sign you are seeing was probably done at night. That's a lot of open ground to cover if they have to escape, especially if it is mowed. If the cows have access to it on any regular basis I would think it is pretty "open" inside the island. as well. That point to the West looks interesting.


Agreed about the escape across pasture and night time rubs, I would say at most the pasture grass is mowed once a year, it is normally 3-4 ft tall during hunting season, so its not a like a super low grass field, a deer could duck down into it and move off without being seen well, in fact it is hard to see them in the field when your at ground level and spot one.

The cows do have access to the island on a regular basis, but only the green area of the island they can penetrate, the interior of the island (grey area in image) is all thick cypress swamp no cow is getting into, and the rubs on the south end lead into that center grey area of the island.

The point on the very west side of the image is a good area, I have kill bucks where that peninsula connects back to the main wood line, mainly working the back sides of some of those cypress swamps, most of the time during season the cypress swamps are flooded due to the summer rain, actually a lot of the woods is wet during season, the swamps spill out into the oak flats on a regular basis.

I think I'm just going to have to get into that swamp now and see if I can locate a high mound or something in the swamp, or really walk the interior edges of the swamp within the island and see if I can located beds or maybe faint trails leading in or out.

To me this would also seem like an "Overlooked" spot most other hunters would walk past to get to the main woods on the west side of image, not many people go back there, but when they do they walk right past this island (Myself included). I have only ever stopped and briefly scouted the island never throwing a sit at it.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:26 pm

In cattle type country (pasture land) I find bucks bedding in little pockets like that all the time. If it is overlooked I would not be surprised to find them there in daylight. In fact I would kind of bet on it. The difficulty will be in approach. Are there any draws that you can use to access? Also, in small pockets like that, in open terrain, next time you go in there drop a lot of milkweed all around that island and notice what it does. I find a lot of back eddies before leaf drop and typically the bucks will bed on the downwind side (as Dan mentioned above) as they get the wind blowing down the "island" and then the eddies swirls the winds back them on the downwind edge. In those cases almost impossible to set up on the island - might have to find next cover they will pass through on their exit or plan to get in there way early in the AM
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby FL Marsh » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:51 pm

DaveT1963 wrote:In cattle type country (pasture land) I find bucks bedding in little pockets like that all the time. If it is overlooked I would not be surprised to find them there in daylight. In fact I would kind of bet on it. The difficulty will be in approach. Are there any draws that you can use to access? Also, in small pockets like that, in open terrain, next time you go in there drop a lot of milkweed all around that island and notice what it does. I find a lot of back eddies before leaf drop and typically the bucks will bed on the downwind side (as Dan mentioned above) as they get the wind blowing down the "island" and then the eddies swirls the winds back them on the downwind edge. In those cases almost impossible to set up on the island - might have to find next cover they will pass through on their exit or plan to get in there way early in the AM


Great points Dave.

This is flat flat land, no draws or even ditches to drop into, I don't have access to milkweed here in Florida, but I believe I have found something similar that worked well last year believe its call "Bull Thistle" once the purple flower blooms the milkweed type seeds come out. In fact this specific area we are discussing has tons of it.

I have a turkey hunt out there this weekend, so I will get out there and drop some milkweed around the island, the island is pretty large, its about 400 yards long east to west, and 250-300 yards deep north to south. Will be hard to tell what the air currents are like but will do my best as I walk around it.

I am also going to try to jump in the island and swamp and see if I can find anything that indicates bedding. Maybe will get more information to add to this thread to get additional input?

Do you think its worth leaving a camera out there for a couple months and pulling at some point during the summer well before season? Or would that even be to invasive? Don't want to bump anything if it deer feels secure there. I don't normally use cameras at all, but do have a couple I use sometimes.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:06 am

FL Marsh wrote:
DaveT1963 wrote:In cattle type country (pasture land) I find bucks bedding in little pockets like that all the time. If it is overlooked I would not be surprised to find them there in daylight. In fact I would kind of bet on it. The difficulty will be in approach. Are there any draws that you can use to access? Also, in small pockets like that, in open terrain, next time you go in there drop a lot of milkweed all around that island and notice what it does. I find a lot of back eddies before leaf drop and typically the bucks will bed on the downwind side (as Dan mentioned above) as they get the wind blowing down the "island" and then the eddies swirls the winds back them on the downwind edge. In those cases almost impossible to set up on the island - might have to find next cover they will pass through on their exit or plan to get in there way early in the AM


Great points Dave.

This is flat flat land, no draws or even ditches to drop into, I don't have access to milkweed here in Florida, but I believe I have found something similar that worked well last year believe its call "Bull Thistle" once the purple flower blooms the milkweed type seeds come out. In fact this specific area we are discussing has tons of it.

I have a turkey hunt out there this weekend, so I will get out there and drop some milkweed around the island, the island is pretty large, its about 400 yards long east to west, and 250-300 yards deep north to south. Will be hard to tell what the air currents are like but will do my best as I walk around it.

I am also going to try to jump in the island and swamp and see if I can find anything that indicates bedding. Maybe will get more information to add to this thread to get additional input?

Do you think its worth leaving a camera out there for a couple months and pulling at some point during the summer well before season? Or would that even be to invasive? Don't want to bump anything if it deer feels secure there. I don't normally use cameras at all, but do have a couple I use sometimes.


The problem with a camera in that kind of location is that almost assuredly, a buck will know when you visit that spot and if he is a slightest bit wary of humans you could push him off. If you find that spot "unhuntable" then I would try to find his other preferred bedding and then you can wind bump him a few times off (or use a camera in that spot and check it a few times thereby bumping him off) and then hunt him in a spot that is more accessible? My first plan personally would be to sit a few observation sits and watch where he travels and see if you can locate an ambush spot that he reaches during daylight - or go all in and throw an AM hunt at him and get in there 2 hours before daylight. IME - spots like those are very wind specific and you may find he only uses it during certain winds that wont allow for an AM hunt. Once again the key is to observe him from a distance and annotate wind direction and travel patterns if theya re present.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby FL Marsh » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:36 am

Alright, thanks for all the tips guys! I'm going to jump in there this weekend after turkey hunting and walk that island, if the sign of bedding is there ill make a plan, if not ill have to observe it at some point over the summer or early fall from a long distance away to see if anything is making it out of the island before dark. Ill try to observe it on two different winds, probably north and south winds to see if he is there only on specific winds.

Thanks again for the tips guys.
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Re: Possible Pasture Island Bedding (Help)

Unread postby Hambone79 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:31 am

Get in there early this weekend and turkey hunt it and watch for deer activity. you know how our Osceola turkey loves to roost in cypress swamps it appears to be a awesome spot for a bird to pitch down from to group his ladies up. I found a awesome bedding area with rubs everywhere this past weekend chasing a bird. I'm already trying to figure out an attack plan now for once archery opens back up.


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