Marsh/swamp bedding question...

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whitetail_addict
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Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby whitetail_addict » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:13 pm

So this piece of state land I've walked and hunted my entire hunting life from time to time gets pretty good pressure from a friend of mine through excessive use of cameras and overhunting good spots at the wrong times or with wrong winds or just too often period. He always seems to get good bucks on camera every year. By the way, his house is on an inholding lot of the public so he hunts it so much because its pretty much his back yard. Anyway, I've just kind of sat back and observed how he and others have hunted it over the years and always wondered where a big buck might bed in this piece. It's a mix of upland swamp hardwoods with the center being primarily marshy grass wetland... wet but able to walk through with boots most years. I did a hang and hunt in there last year one time towards the center and noticed a nice little finger trees extending in towards the middle of the marshy center with a small patch of cattails (about the only cattails anywhere on the property) at the end of the finger.

Well, that hunt didn't produce anything, but it gave me enough info to investigate further. So, a few days ago I took a walk in there to check things out. This finger is probably the one place on the property that doesn't see human traffic aside from gun season deer drives. Its actually one about 150 yards behind my buddies house though. However, I've noticed that he and others have always stuck to the upland woods when hunting near or just going by it to get to another spot. In getting out in the finger the got heavier and more confined... Only two or three trails running through or across it but they looked nice. Not much for buck old buck sign, but not too surprising considering a lack of competition is likely in the area in general as many young bucks are killed every year around there, plus these guys likely push the bucks out by overhunting the area too much early before the bucks really start laying down a lot of sign. That said, even with the lack sign, I figure there has to be at least one good buck hideout in that public piece.

So the finger of dead and alive trees had some good trails and two or three beds in sort of satelite/random spots... not quite safe enough for me to believe a big buck would use them regularly. I made it out to the end of the finger and about 20 yards off of the end of it into the marsh grass/small patch of cattails was two or three dead but still standing trees. Figuring they would have some solid ground under them, as Dan has often said, I checked them out closely. No such solid ground. With them being dead for years it maybe was more solid at one time but now not so. However, about another 20 yards north of that, still in the cattail patch but not under or next to any trees or brush of any sort was a lone hump... maybe a 1 foot higher elevation than the rest of the ground/water around it and only about a 5'x5' area. Sure enough, there was a big matted down spot in it with a few hairs. Again, with the pressure I don't think anything big spends the entire fall in this area, I'm just looking for the one or two spots they will use when they are in there either early in the season or whenever my buddy gets a pic of one hanging around the property at some point in the season.

To make it better, or at least I think so, the hump of dry ground had a small pool of water... kind of a half moon shape pond just to the north of the bed butting up to it. With that, I feel like enough things line up for that to be a good bet for a buck bed. Assuming it might be a situation where the bed isn't wind dependent due to the fact that its a flat area in a marsh/swamp I think I could access it nicely on a just off wind where he would think hes smelling anything coming from the south or the house and sneak to a tree within 50 yards actually. Though there were kind of matted down from winter when I was in there, the bed being surrounded by even that small patch of cattails makes me think I could avoid being seen by a buck there because they would likely be tall and thick surrounding the bed come fall.

Long story short, my question is does anyone have proven similar examples of a buck bedding in marshy areas where he wasn't necessarily under a lone tree or patch of brush? Again, this bed was found under no cover at all, but instead on the only dry ground in the middle of a small patch of cattails.

The toughest part if it is a buck bed would be timing when a buck is actually in there to give it a sit.


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whitetailassasin
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:34 am

I have a buck bed that is in the wide open on a elevated piece that's butted up close to a group of tails but it's not under any trees nor is it have any sort of obstacle close enough to call cover. It's pretty wide open. It's used very frequent from opener till rut. I've shot 2 bucks from it and every time I've hunted it saw a shooter. My set up there has to be quiet and it's close 55-60 yards away to be in the game. I've found several beds in the marsh that are open, and I think pre rut/rut time these are used to monitor does. From what I've saw they are cruising and bed here for s short period of times and then move on. So many things can determine beds like these, food, pressure, wind, etc. if you can find a good observation point and see what comes out and what time of year it's being used to your advantage. Just because big rubs or the visual sign we all hope to see there doesn't mean it's not a good buck using it. My best spot is almost completely void of rubs, scrapes, etc that would typically scream big boy ground. But the open wood lot adjacent gets absolutely demolished and shows monster rubs and scrapes. We determined some years ago that 95% of that is night time activity and 99.9% of the hunters pound that spot because of this. During the rut, anything can happen at anytime anywhere, as we all know. But the location your talking about could be a hangout for one of those solid bucks your buddy has on his cameras every year. Especially if it's going undisturbed.

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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:45 am

Sounds like a solid spot to me. Regarding the lack of rubs I have several areas like that... The bucks are there though. How many acres is this piece of ground? I was pretty frustrated at my biggest piece this spring... I walked and walked and checked many suspected bedding areas, and didn't find anything that got me excited until the 3rd time in. It will require waders for access, and I don't even know if waders will get me there. I have to go back and check.

If it is as remote as it sounds, I think there will be bucks there more than you think. Even if the spot is a bit of a let down it has to be worth a hunt or two each season. If it were me I'd set a camera up and leave it all year. Or take it down just before gun season if you're worried about someone stealing it.

As soon as you mentioned those cattails and that being the only patch of them around (along with the high spot), I knew it was going to hold a good bed.

Was there any big poop or big tracks around?

The more I think about it the more I think you should consider this an excellent bed. Hunt it with confidence!

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mainebowhunter
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby mainebowhunter » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:05 am

Found beds yesterday in spot where I was hoping to find them. Right on the edge of a power line in the water on 5x5' dry islands. Small group of swampy section with cattails.
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But I found more than one bed, found multiple single beds. And I have a pretty good idea of the buck that was using them. Came very close to killing him last year. There is some buck sign...but nothing crazy. I did find one bed, not far from this one right next to a big ground scrape. Found probably 8-10 beds in this area I believe he is using. The amount of beds is important because by knowing where they all are and knowing the direction of travel, I can setup accordingly.

Curious were you able to locate more than one bed the general vicinity?
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby whitetail_addict » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:40 am

80 acre piece with another adjacent 40 across a dirt road. Private woods and swamp adjacent to one end and one side.

A few other beds in the general area but they were in and under the strip on trees leading out to the open area with the bed and they were in more open areas... I assume doe beds..?

No sign of droppings or tracks but I don't think the area holds many deer in winter and as wet as the swamp can be that kind of sign isn't going to stay visible from last fall.
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby mainebowhunter » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:23 am

whitetail_addict wrote:80 acre piece with another adjacent 40 across a dirt road. Private woods and swamp adjacent to one end and one side.

A few other beds in the general area but they were in and under the strip on trees leading out to the open area with the bed and they were in more open areas... I assume doe beds..?

No sign of droppings or tracks but I don't think the area holds many deer in winter and as wet as the swamp can be that kind of sign isn't going to stay visible from last fall.


You might all ready be doing this...so take it with a grain of salt. I find a lot of this beds. I mark them. And move onto another spot. Because until I can put a deer in that area the upcoming season, the bed does not mean a whole lot to me. I hunt in a low deer density areas. Many spots, the beds do not get reused. Once the buck is killed, another buck is not moving in to replace it.

The bed above -- there was 1 3.5yr buck that I was hunting in this spot. I have stuff prepped and ready to go IF he or another buck moves in to use these beds again this season. Its just a small piece to a much bigger puzzle.
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby deerhunterdon » Mon May 02, 2016 5:19 am

this , right on. ^^^^^^^^^^
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Re: Marsh/swamp bedding question...

Unread postby dan » Mon May 02, 2016 9:49 am

I have a few great spots out in the marshes near my home where there are beds out in cattails not under "lone trees"... I can think of two primary bedding areas that each have over 20 "treeless" beds in an area about 2 acres in size. One of the two areas I had a streak of about 7 years straight of shooting a nice buck out of... A lot of random beds in a marsh don't mean much if there are beds all over... Some are great, some are not... Getting good at knowing what your looking at is what puts bucks on the wall.
If there are big bucks on the property you scouted, and you have walked the entire property and found the beds, regardless of what they look like, he is likely in one of them, or some place you forgot to look.


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