Bucks and Thickets

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Twenty Up
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Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Twenty Up » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:11 am

Well after scouting Georgia swamp bottoms all morning I came to the conclusion that the big deer avoid that nasty stuff like I should have!! Thankful there were no ticks, chiggers or mosquitoes out...

But in all seriousness, how do bucks with all that head-gear travel about these places? I'm talking about can't see 5 yards ahead of you thick with vines at head level. Do they travel on the edge of this stuff or move about in the open hardwood areas? I never found a buck bed but stumbled across several doe beds, seems the does love that thick underbrush as every doe bed was located in one.


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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Tennhunter3 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:17 am

Here in tennessee they run along the thicket edges and overgrown logging roads. I very nearly got a big 10 in a swamp thicket this year about 80 yards after he left his bed. The spot I saw him was to thick to shoot.
I have seen them walk through places I'm amazed their headgear didn't hit trees.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:49 am

I find typical at night they will walk the logging roads. During the morning an evenings or rut with no pressure they will walk the edges an grown up logging roads with in the thicket. Most also follow the lay of the land.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Twenty Up » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:48 pm

Ghost Hunter wrote:I find typical at night they will walk the logging roads. During the morning an evenings or rut with no pressure they will walk the edges an grown up logging roads with in the thicket. Most also follow the lay of the land.


That makes sense, so once locating a bucks bed (decent sized anyways) you can pre-determine his travel routes by where the brush is clear. Especially at night, they probably hate walking through that thick stuff just like us. Tack on all the mosquitoes, snakes and other nasty insects they'll probably stay away from swamps until the late season after the frosts kill off these insects? Kinda thinking aloud here, hoping others chime in.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby checkerfred » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:52 pm

Interested in this too. I've seen them bust through clear cuts and thicker woods.. You think they would get caught.. Seems like I remember seeing something about them tucking their head back to keep the antlers from snagging.

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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby PK_ » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:53 pm

I remember reading about a collared buck living on public land in GA. He survived to maturity despite the pressure and reached the 150"s. They said the places he 'holed up' in were so thick the trackers literally could not even penetrate by crawling on their bellies. One of the spots where the buck hung out was right where all the hunters in the area would walk right by him.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Twenty Up » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:26 pm

PalmettoKid wrote:I remember reading about a collared buck living on public land in GA. He survived to maturity despite the pressure and reached the 150"s. They said the places he 'holed up' in were so thick the trackers literally could not even penetrate by crawling on their bellies. One of the spots where the buck hung out was right where all the hunters in the area would walk right by him.


That's crazy, do you recall which WMA they did this on?
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby TN Whitetail Freak » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:29 pm

Just scouted a thicket like this but all the sign was on the south edge where it was still thick but not as thick as the north edge

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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby checkerfred » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:23 pm

PalmettoKid wrote:I remember reading about a collared buck living on public land in GA. He survived to maturity despite the pressure and reached the 150"s. They said the places he 'holed up' in were so thick the trackers literally could not even penetrate by crawling on their bellies. One of the spots where the buck hung out was right where all the hunters in the area would walk right by him.


How would you even begin to find that bed?

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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby dan » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:11 pm

Big bucks in thick cover bed the edges. Often they bed the down wind side when bedded right on the edge, and 30 to 60 yards into the cover when bedding the up wind side. I rarely see them bed on cross wind edges... Does can and do bed deeper in. The bucks get up in the evening and come straight out, or follow the edges.
They move deeper within the thick stuff in late season when cover is scarce,. and when browse becomes a main food source. Just like in a cattail marsh where they b ed on the cattail edges, and bucks use the heavy more open trails. In open woods we are used to bucks having there own trails off to the side, but in heavy cover maybe due to there rack, maybe not, but they stay on the heavy more open trails till they exit the brush.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Zona » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:14 am

dan wrote:Big bucks in thick cover bed the edges. Often they bed the down wind side when bedded right on the edge, and 30 to 60 yards into the cover when bedding the up wind side. I rarely see them bed on cross wind edges... Does can and do bed deeper in. The bucks get up in the evening and come straight out, or follow the edges.
They move deeper within the thick stuff in late season when cover is scarce,. and when browse becomes a main food source. Just like in a cattail marsh where they b ed on the cattail edges, and bucks use the heavy more open trails. In open woods we are used to bucks having there own trails off to the side, but[glow=red]in heavy cover maybe due to there rack, maybe not, but they stay on the heavy more open trails till they exit the brush.[/glow]


My scouting so far this year in nasty thickets confirms Dan's statement. When I have to almost get down on my hands and knees to follow a trail in a thicket it is being used by does. If I can walk and only slightly crouched over the trails have lead me to buck beds. Bigger animal, bigger trail in the thickets is what I am seeing.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Zona » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:21 am

checkerfred wrote:
PalmettoKid wrote:I remember reading about a collared buck living on public land in GA. He survived to maturity despite the pressure and reached the 150"s. [glow=red]They said the places he 'holed up' in were so thick the trackers literally could not even penetrate by crawling on their bellies.[/glow] One of the spots where the buck hung out was right where all the hunters in the area would walk right by him.


How would you even begin to find that bed?

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I busted a buck a few years ago out of a bed that in a single jump, cleared a 6' high wall of multiflora rose that I couldn't even see through, let alone get to the other side. In just a couple leaps he was safe. Sometimes the trails are via the air.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Twenty Up » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:26 am

dan wrote:Big bucks in thick cover bed the edges. Often they bed the down wind side when bedded right on the edge, and 30 to 60 yards into the cover when bedding the up wind side. I rarely see them bed on cross wind edges... Does can and do bed deeper in. The bucks get up in the evening and come straight out, or follow the edges.
They move deeper within the thick stuff in late season when cover is scarce,. and when browse becomes a main food source. Just like in a cattail marsh where they b ed on the cattail edges, and bucks use the heavy more open trails. In open woods we are used to bucks having there own trails off to the side, but in heavy cover maybe due to there rack, maybe not, but they stay on the heavy more open trails till they exit the brush.


Thanks Dan, it's always comforting having your insight. You know so much about Whitetail you might become one! But in all seriousness a Swamp Buck is completely different than an open woods buck in my opinion. After putting several miles down yesterday I'm still unsure as to where they're holding up, but that just means I'll have to keep scouting!

Here's some pictures I took that I would like to share with y'all.

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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby cbay » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:23 am

Watched a mature buck for about an hour one morning as he made his way around in a heavy thicket. It was timbered a couple years earlier and the tops left behind were very thick. He would get his legs snagged on limbs and stuff a lot and ducked and weaved though it like it was no big deal. Was a really cool experience. I'll also add that the only reason i got to see this was by going a completely different way in to hunt that morning. I was curious if i was patterned going in the same way all the time and decided to loop around about a half mile and hunt about 200 yards further up the head of the valley and come down the middle point.
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Re: Bucks and Thickets

Unread postby Stanley » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:26 am

Bucks can and will move through thick stuff that we think is impenetrable. Their hide doesn't snag up like like our clothes do. I was hunting a thick,thick edge many years ago. I thought it was a good barrier. The buck jumped it like it was nothing. I changed my tune after that lesson the buck gave me. :lol: I started hunting in the "thick" ever since then. If you can find an open pocket, perfect spot to set up on.
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