Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

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BigCedarJack
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby BigCedarJack » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:56 am

How do you feel about a buck bedding against a barrier that he and most any animal I can think of wouldn't want to cross,especially quickly, such as a rockslide.

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:31 am

BigCedarJack wrote:How do you feel about a buck bedding against a barrier that he and most any animal I can think of wouldn't want to cross,especially quickly, such as a rockslide.

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The barriers I see bucks bedding against offer multiple escape routes. I believe if the rock slide is navigable to the buck he may use it, but if not it would be unusual.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Justin85 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:12 pm

Definitely has me rethinking a few areas where I've always thought bucks may be but conventional wisdom says no because there are no trees to speak of.

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby 9pt » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:17 pm

Scott, Just want to say great job with the podcast and a big thanks for such willingness to help us all here on the boards. Your positivity is appreciated as well.

9pt

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:56 am

Justin85 wrote:Definitely has me rethinking a few areas where I've always thought bucks may be but conventional wisdom says no because there are no trees to speak of.

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I agree completely that those are great places to look. In areas with a lot of hunting pressure, that is one of the first things I look for... areas that won't hold a treestand or a spot with scrawny growth where you can only get up a few feet off the ground. The bucks are moving there due to the lack of hunter intrusion and and no human scent.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:58 am

9pt wrote:Scott, Just want to say great job with the podcast and a big thanks for such willingness to help us all here on the boards. Your positivity is appreciated as well.

9pt

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Thanks 9pt, appreciate it!
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby BigCedarJack » Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:31 am

I went and had a look at a place (rock slide) that came to mind after talking about barriers. This is a rock slide on the north side of the mountain and there is a doe group living on each side. The rock slides are deep with big boulders and deep crevices, makes a cattle guard look like a playpen. At the higher end of the slide is a very noticeable easement of terrain on the mountain and I was really curious if this would cause pinch point on a travel route. I did not find much of a travel route at this elevation. It was thick and rough going. However, what few tracks I did see all seemed to be those of a mature buck(s). When I got to the east side these tracks led to a bed.

copper/displayimage.php?pid=5049


green X = thick brush
yellow = high rim that blocks the view off from the east but I think might cause a thermal tunnel in an east wind?
grey = rock slide (it continues south) I wonder if the heat from the rocks doesn't create some thermal play?
purple = rough trail around the top (escape route? shortcut between doe groups?)
red = bed
blue = good visual to the north down the mountain (shallow cone)

Thanks for the tips on barriers, I will now have to walk more of these rock slides.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:04 pm

BigCedarJack wrote:I went and had a look at a place (rock slide) that came to mind after talking about barriers. This is a rock slide on the north side of the mountain and there is a doe group living on each side. The rock slides are deep with big boulders and deep crevices, makes a cattle guard look like a playpen. At the higher end of the slide is a very noticeable easement of terrain on the mountain and I was really curious if this would cause pinch point on a travel route. I did not find much of a travel route at this elevation. It was thick and rough going. However, what few tracks I did see all seemed to be those of a mature buck(s). When I got to the east side these tracks led to a bed.

Image


green X = thick brush
yellow = high rim that blocks the view off from the east but I think might cause a thermal tunnel in an east wind?
grey = rock slide (it continues south) I wonder if the heat from the rocks doesn't create some thermal play?
purple = rough trail around the top (escape route? shortcut between doe groups?)
red = bed
blue = good visual to the north down the mountain (shallow cone)

Thanks for the tips on barriers, I will now have to walk more of these rock slides.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:27 pm

BigCedarJack wrote:I went and had a look at a place (rock slide) that came to mind after talking about barriers. This is a rock slide on the north side of the mountain and there is a doe group living on each side. The rock slides are deep with big boulders and deep crevices, makes a cattle guard look like a playpen. At the higher end of the slide is a very noticeable easement of terrain on the mountain and I was really curious if this would cause pinch point on a travel route. I did not find much of a travel route at this elevation. It was thick and rough going. However, what few tracks I did see all seemed to be those of a mature buck(s). When I got to the east side these tracks led to a bed.

copper/displayimage.php?pid=5049


green X = thick brush
yellow = high rim that blocks the view off from the east but I think might cause a thermal tunnel in an east wind?
grey = rock slide (it continues south) I wonder if the heat from the rocks doesn't create some thermal play?
purple = rough trail around the top (escape route? shortcut between doe groups?)
red = bed
blue = good visual to the north down the mountain (shallow cone)

Thanks for the tips on barriers, I will now have to walk more of these rock slides.


That looks like an interesting spot, especially the purple line between bedding areas when the rut heats up. Without having been there, I would certainly think those big rock slides could potentially influence buck travel. Pretty interesting that the big tracks led to a bed too.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby olivertractor » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:42 am

Finally got a chance to listen great job guys!

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:41 am

What am I looking for?


Image

Image

During the podcast, some of you may recall me discussing scrapes that I've been monitoring for more than 30 years. Here are perennial scrapes that will be there again year after year, unless timber harvesting comes through. The picture is from a spring scout, the scrapes have been around so long they are 4 or 5 inches deep from the surrounding ground.

They are along a point, where the run from a buck bedding area intersects the main doe trail leaving a doe bedding area. The buck bedding area is along a micro-island in the swamp a couple of hundred yards to the left of the picture. The doe run goes down the point, out into the swamp, and then goes up onto a big cedar island where multiple doe families bed.

Here is the doe bedding area in the background of the picture:

Image
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:53 am

What am I looking for?



Image

This is a buck bed on a tiny, micro-island deep in a cedar swamp. Note that the bed is the only clean area, everything else is littered with debris. The tree is rubbed and there is deer hair in the bed:

Image
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:31 am

Here is an example of one of my hunting areas. The left side of the picture is cedar swamp, which is fronted by some beaver dams and ponds. The right side of the picture is boreal forest and upland, and is also the direction I approach from to hunt.

On the left side of the picture, the cedar swamp, the shiny spots are standing water inside the swamp that reflect the sky:

Image

In the picture below:

Red = Primary Buck Bed
Yellow = Gun Stand
Orange = Bow Stand
Blue = Beaver Dams


Image

I want to touch base on some buck behavior in swamps that I can demonstrate with these pics I used earlier in the thread. I know that quite often you will hear Dan or I speak of bucks scent checking their bed before they move up into it, something they do quite a bit. Even when they approach with the wind at their back, they will oftentimes walk in a j-hook a short distance downwind from the bed before they move up into it, and we see this quite a bit in all types of terrain. But what about the big bucks that bed against barriers, in swmaps or elsewhere, when they bed right up close to it. Does the bed have to be far enough from the barrier that the buck can do a little j-hook and scent check it?... not necessarily. In fact, they still j-hook but in a completely different manner, much of the time. I see / track the bucks running the opposite side of the barrier quite often, and they scent check the bed from the other side of barrier before they cross over and approach bedding.

In the pictures above, the buck bed I will be referring to is the red square. In the early morning the bucks will often walk the right side (east side) of the pond and scent check their bed on the other side of the pond. They then cross one of the beaver dams, and hook around to their bed with the wind at their back while they walk up.

If the barrier is small enough, the wind direction and thermal draw from the pond will get any predator scent to the buck while he walks along the other edge of the barrier. If you just tracked the buck on the other side of the pond (west side), it looks like he just approaches the bed with the wind at his back and lies down- when in fact, he did scent check earlier on his approach.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:54 am

Image

Here is an actual buck approach trail (orange) as he scent checks his bed (red square) on the other side of the barrier in early morning.

Buck's won't "always" do anything, but I have observed / tracked them enough around barriers to see that this can be common.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Jackson Marsh » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:58 am

Great example SB! Maps really help.

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