Scouting river bottoms

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Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby JKoch » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:33 am

I recently gained access to some public and private river bottoms and wondering what the best way is to scout it? I have access by walking or floating the river. I have done the topo scouting already and think it may be best to float in as it is quiet and somewhat scent free, once Im close to where my blind or stand will be placed, should I drop a camera or just scout on foot?


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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Kybowhunter » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:48 am

The midwest whitetail public land stuff would be a good thing for you to check out. They put out good stuff. If it were me I would probably float it and look for oxbow points. All the river bottoms I have been on the deer bed on the points of the bends.
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Jonny » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:43 am

Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:59 am

Jonny wrote:Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.


Suppose to be answering scouting questions not giving away fishing honey holes :lol:
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Jonny
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Jonny » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:06 am

Boogieman1 wrote:
Jonny wrote:Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.


Suppose to be answering scouting questions not giving away fishing honey holes :lol:


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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Kokes » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:30 am

Jonny wrote:Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.


awesome write up and pic to boot, thanks for posting...
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Wannabelikedan » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:58 pm

Jonny wrote:Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.


Great post Jonny! I see the same thing. Curious though how big this river is width wise and how deep are deer wading on these crossing trails? Some of the creeks I'm hunting around are no more than 10 yards wide at normal level and crossing is fairly easy everywhere. But most rivers around here are 70+ yards and can be over 6 ft deep in the channel on an s-bend but the channel also shrinks in size due to sediment settling off the leeward bank.
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby hunter_mike » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:39 pm

I would definitely try to identify likely bedding areas first. As mentioned before there could be some bedding on the inside corners of the river bends. Also look for any low lying swamps that feed into the main river or another hotspot would be any type of isolated shallow ponds or old oxbows.

For scouting, this time of year, yes floating the creek would be a good idea. But also just walking around in there on the normal trails everyone else uses will allow you to see quite a bit of deer sign and allow you to figure out some access routes to suspected bedding areas without laying down your scent in places where you would start to alter buck movement.
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Wlog » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:23 am

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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby Jonny » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:38 am

Wannabelikedan wrote:
Jonny wrote:Look for a S in the river. Deer will bed on points and then the outside bends almost create a funnel for the deer. Every year I go wading in a river, and fish a s bend in the river. Always a deep hole on the outside bend that holds fish. But there is also a pretty obvious trail on the backside that I have seen deer use. And it is a guarantee I will jump a doe with a fawn bedded on the point. At least I have the last 15 years.

Another perk with the S bends is there will typically be a crossing there as well where it is shallower. Not always, but I shot my buck last year after he crossed right where he was supposed to, after spooking out of his bedding area where he was supposed to be, in theory.

Image

Red is where I find the bedding. Green is usually where I find crossings, not always though. And if you get a 7" rain storm, expect this to change. Found that out this year when I came back 3 weeks later, entire river changed. The blue line shows that on the points I seem to find a transition from woods to thick stuff. Always find beds in the thick stuff on the points. No trees grow there since they would be wiped out every spring in a flood. Gray shows how I have seen deer walk around the bends.

Way more experienced guys on here with river bottoms (Stanley), but my gun stand was scouted by looking at a map and throwing a stand and 2 days of hunting time at it. Worked well, and it looked pretty similar to the drawing. Could shoot both points, 2 crossings and a couple outside bends.


Great post Jonny! I see the same thing. Curious though how big this river is width wise and how deep are deer wading on these crossing trails? Some of the creeks I'm hunting around are no more than 10 yards wide at normal level and crossing is fairly easy everywhere. But most rivers around here are 70+ yards and can be over 6 ft deep in the channel on an s-bend but the channel also shrinks in size due to sediment settling off the leeward bank.


The creek I hunted was only 20 yards wide and maybe knee to mid thigh deep. The river that the creek flows into is about a hundred yards wide and about as deep in some spots. Some spots more. From my experience during gun season and talking to my dad and uncles who have decades of hunting down there, deer don't cross the river unless something forces them too. A couple does I saw last year, and some my dad saw a different day ran along the edge of the river, but wouldn't cross it. My uncle who hunts a quarter mile away in the same bottom sees the same thing, deer walking the edge of the river, but not crossing it. Really sucks when he shoots one on the other side. All of the crossings I see are worn down from years of use, and usually involve the shortest distance in the water, or it's a really shallow point. The most used crossing on the river has a sandbar that extends halfway across the river, so it is the shortest distance through the water, despite being some of the deepest water in the stretch.

But historically, most of the deer are shot across the river. Away from the river and by the creek, deer have been shot all over

I don't think water depth really bothers deer, but I think the distance is what bothers them more. Water over my head doesn't bother me. Swimming long distances in water over my head bothers me. You slow down tremendously in the water, and that would allow predators to catch up to you.

For the smaller creeks, look for a spot where the banks aren't high. The only crossing on the creek for maybe a quarter mile in either direction is the only spot there isn't a 5-6' drop in the water. That was the only spot I could cross, and the spot where my buck crossed. Also, almost all of the bank is lined with thick nasty brush. Only open spot was where I crossed, kinda made a little funnel almost.
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Re: Scouting river bottoms

Unread postby hunter10 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:16 pm

A lot of guys do it and I often wish I had a canoe or kayak but paddling into spots would be a good option. Some times you can park long distances away and launch the canoe and no one ever knows your hunting


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