Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:00 am

Here is a video I shot years ago of a buck demonstrating the exact same behavior of scent checking his bed from the other side of the barrier. This beaver pond / barrier was many hundreds of miles away from the pictures above. In the video, I stated that the buck beds to watch his back trail which was in error. He keeps that tree to his back and watches downwind across the ponds, which I verified through snow tracking and finding a buck bedding there with snow on the ground. His body position in the bed clearly demonstrated which way he was facing. Believe me, if he smells or hears something behind him, he can look that way in an instant...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuUr_OfEHDU


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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:12 am

What am I looking for?


Here is the video clip of me finding the big buck bed from the preceding video. There's nothing easy about it, falling pine needles from the tree would not allow a visual of "a bare spot worn to the dirt" from primary buck bedding. But experience told me that this should be a buck bed, and I knelt down and looked in the pine needles... Lots of deer hair (the area had lots of buck rubs too). Taking it further yet, I scratched away the pine needles in the bed and the video shows what I found underneath- a magnum buck print, 4 fingers wide.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzXGJW9AqjI
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:14 am

Jackson Marsh wrote:Great example SB! Maps really help.

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Thanks JM, I always appreciate your input.

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby headgear » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:50 pm

Great podcast SB, I like the addition of the pics to this thread as well, it really paints a nice picture.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Dewey » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:28 pm

Scott
Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed your podcast since so much of it related to stuff I enjoy hunting. Like you I mostly key in on big tracks when scouting or hunting. When I get a chance I'm gonna read over the rest of this thread. Just doing a quick scan looks like you provided more info I really need to check out. Good stuff. 8-)

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby olivertractor » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:40 pm

headgear wrote:Great podcast SB, I like the addition of the pics to this thread as well, it really paints a nice picture.

I agree good stuff!

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:51 am

Thanks Beasts, I always appreciate the feedback. 8-)
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:07 am

What am I looking for?


Image

These are the droppings of a North Woods Beast of a Buck. The smaller pellets are 3/4" of an inch, the larger pellets are 1" and slightly longer. Anytime we see an average pellet length of 3/4" of an inch or longer we relate it to a target buck. If I am near a bedding area it is an obvious clue that I need to investigate further. Also, you will note that these pellets are clumped together. I see this a lot in fall, especially during the rut periods. The bucks aren't eating well / poor diet, they are stressed by hormones and all the searching activity around does and this promotes the seasonal clumping of the pellets. As with all buck sign, there are no absolutes but there are certainly tendencies we monitor and take advantage of.

Image

This is the walking print of a big buck. The rear hoof has stepped on top of the front, nearly covering it. The splayed tips of the front leg print can be seen if you look closely. I pay close attention to a walking track that is 4 fingers wide or close to it, which indicates the likelihood of a good buck. In this pic my hand is over a foot above the track. When I placed my hand in the track, it was 5 fingers wide- about as big as they get.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:38 am

A lot of guys struggle with tracks, and understandably so. A big, wide and walking track is key. But there are also other clues that you never hear much about. For example, are there other tracks with the big set you found? If there are, carefully deciphering them and taking your time with the think cap on will give you an idea of what you are looking at.

But what about a lone track, that's big, and is all by itself??? Bucks are much more apt to be travelling by themselves, as other than during the rut or when a local bachelor group is going strong, they tend to be by themselves. The older a buck gets, the more I find this to be true. In fact, when I find a walking, 4 finger wide track that has no other fresh tracks with it whatsoever... that's a great indicator that you are most likely looking at a big buck track. I find it to be true the vast majority of the time.

We all know of or have seen a doe with really big hooves, but I can assure you they are not the norm. A lot of guys that don't want to put in the effort will say something along the line of, "my buddies cousin from out of state shot a huge doe with feet bigger than any buck we've ever seen... tracks don't mean a dang thing...".

And that's fine, just move on and keep the faith.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby stash59 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:39 am

Great stuff Scott!! Roger Rothare wrote about how bucks scent check beds also. Thanx again. The pics really help.

Have you noticed how much growth a buck shows in his tracks from say 2 y.o. to 3 y.o. And is there a big jump from say winter to next fall. Since with winter being a stressful time less growth will occur. During the limited scouting I got in last spring with snow on the ground I came across what were the largest tracks for the area. They were 21/2 to 3 fingers wide. With strides longer than what I concluded were doe tracks.I just wondered if that might indicate a buck that will be 3 fingers plus in the fall. 3 y.o. bucks would be good bucks in this area.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Czabs » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:42 am

I enjoyed the info when I could hear it! I had to really sit down and listen to make sure I didn't miss anything. I like to listen while I do things around my house...this time I couldn't. That is my only complaint...some great tips Scott! Thank you. :clap:
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:34 am

stash59 wrote:Great stuff Scott!! Roger Rothare wrote about how bucks scent check beds also. Thanx again. The pics really help.

Have you noticed how much growth a buck shows in his tracks from say 2 y.o. to 3 y.o. And is there a big jump from say winter to next fall. Since with winter being a stressful time less growth will occur. During the limited scouting I got in last spring with snow on the ground I came across what were the largest tracks for the area. They were 21/2 to 3 fingers wide. With strides longer than what I concluded were doe tracks.I just wondered if that might indicate a buck that will be 3 fingers plus in the fall. 3 y.o. bucks would be good bucks in this area.


From spring to fall it can be hard to tell much of a change in size, although sometimes I see growth. Tracks have characteristics that are like a fingerprint, individual buck tracks look different from the other bucks and this can help keep track of them. The shape of the print, the splay of front, the odd angle of one of the hooves, a chip out of the track, whether the toes are pointed (softer soil / swamps) or rounded (rocky terrain, hills, bluffs) are all identifying features. Dan had a great idea of taking a picture of the buck's track for future reference, and I snap a pic with my cellphone and catalog it.

I'm just an average joe, and I scout and hunt a huge number of areas. I can only afford a few trailcams, so tracks / droppings / rub height / bed size, etc. are my most valuable tools for monitoring my bucks.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:36 am

Czabs wrote:I enjoyed the info when I could hear it! I had to really sit down and listen to make sure I didn't miss anything. I like to listen while I do things around my house...this time I couldn't. That is my only complaint...some great tips Scott! Thank you. :clap:


Thanks Czabs, sorry about the volume. Mario is constantly improving things, and the volume sounded better to me on the Spreaker App.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby stash59 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:55 am

Singing Bridge wrote:
stash59 wrote:Great stuff Scott!! Roger Rothare wrote about how bucks scent check beds also. Thanx again. The pics really help.

Have you noticed how much growth a buck shows in his tracks from say 2 y.o. to 3 y.o. And is there a big jump from say winter to next fall. Since with winter being a stressful time less growth will occur. During the limited scouting I got in last spring with snow on the ground I came across what were the largest tracks for the area. They were 21/2 to 3 fingers wide. With strides longer than what I concluded were doe tracks.I just wondered if that might indicate a buck that will be 3 fingers plus in the fall. 3 y.o. bucks would be good bucks in this area.


From spring to fall it can be hard to tell much of a change in size, although sometimes I see growth. Tracks have characteristics that are like a fingerprint, individual buck tracks look different from the other bucks and this can help keep track of them. The shape of the print, the splay of front, the odd angle of one of the hooves, a chip out of the track, whether the toes are pointed (softer soil / swamps) or rounded (rocky terrain, hills, bluffs) are all identifying features. Dan had a great idea of taking a picture of the buck's track for future reference, and I snap a pic with my cellphone and catalog it.

I'm just an average joe, and I scout and hunt a huge number of areas. I can only afford a few trailcams, so tracks / droppings / rub height / bed size, etc. are my most valuable tools for monitoring my bucks.[/quote

Thanx Scott!! So am I correct to assume noticing an increase in track size is more of a year to year thing. Or is it more like they just tend to splay more with the added weight brought on by age? Gotta say it really stinks not being able to go out and study this stuff for myself right now!!

I'm more like you on the trail cam thing too. When I can get back at it it would take way more cams than is in my budget!!
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:32 pm

stash59 wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:
stash59 wrote:Great stuff Scott!! Roger Rothare wrote about how bucks scent check beds also. Thanx again. The pics really help.

Have you noticed how much growth a buck shows in his tracks from say 2 y.o. to 3 y.o. And is there a big jump from say winter to next fall. Since with winter being a stressful time less growth will occur. During the limited scouting I got in last spring with snow on the ground I came across what were the largest tracks for the area. They were 21/2 to 3 fingers wide. With strides longer than what I concluded were doe tracks.I just wondered if that might indicate a buck that will be 3 fingers plus in the fall. 3 y.o. bucks would be good bucks in this area.


From spring to fall it can be hard to tell much of a change in size, although sometimes I see growth. Tracks have characteristics that are like a fingerprint, individual buck tracks look different from the other bucks and this can help keep track of them. The shape of the print, the splay of front, the odd angle of one of the hooves, a chip out of the track, whether the toes are pointed (softer soil / swamps) or rounded (rocky terrain, hills, bluffs) are all identifying features. Dan had a great idea of taking a picture of the buck's track for future reference, and I snap a pic with my cellphone and catalog it.

I'm just an average joe, and I scout and hunt a huge number of areas. I can only afford a few trailcams, so tracks / droppings / rub height / bed size, etc. are my most valuable tools for monitoring my bucks.[/quote

Thanx Scott!! So am I correct to assume noticing an increase in track size is more of a year to year thing. Or is it more like they just tend to splay more with the added weight brought on by age? Gotta say it really stinks not being able to go out and study this stuff for myself right now!!

I'm more like you on the trail cam thing too. When I can get back at it it would take way more cams than is in my budget!!


For me at least, it's been more of an offseason to offseason change. The tracks do tend to splay more with a combination of buck age and weight. They also start to walk in more of a flat-footed manner with increased weight. Where the imprint of their dew claws become more prevalent. When I see a wide, walking track on a hard packed dirt road, and the dew claws are leaving heavy imprinting with the tracks, thats a big animal and game on.

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