Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby stash59 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:46 pm

Singing Bridge wrote:
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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Thanx Scott!!


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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby hunter_mike » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:08 am

Just re-listened to try and analyze what I could have done differently the past weekend.

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Ridgerunner7 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:35 am

Loved it!

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:22 am

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

Postby cedarsavage » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:56 am

Thanks for taking the time to do this, it gives me a good idea of where to start on bed hunting in my upper peninsula spots. It looks like from your picture that the buck travels across the beaver dam, is that right?

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby ScottRejholec » Sun May 29, 2016 1:50 am

Just became a member, and I'm loving all the great information. SB you had recently responded to my YouTube comment:

At what time of the day does Scott enter his stands?

Prior to the rut I enter stands in early afternoon most of the time. The last couple of hundred yards I move very slowly to prevent noise during my approach- the swamps are so thick is important for me to get there early for stealth and to have a lengthy period where a nearby bedded buck has plenty of time to settle down and forget about me if he heard anything. During the rut periods morning hunting takes on more importance to me.

Thank you for your response. Do you have any tips on hanging your stand in the early morning darkness of a cedar swamp where sound seems to echo throughout the whole swamp?
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun May 29, 2016 3:32 am

cedarsavage wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do this, it gives me a good idea of where to start on bed hunting in my upper peninsula spots. It looks like from your picture that the buck travels across the beaver dam, is that right?

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Most of the time, if the buck feels secure, he will cross the dam- correct. Before crossing it the bucks like to watch it from a short distance off... while they listen and scent check airflow currents as well. When convinced the coast is clear, they wag their tail and cross the dam. This is the behavior demonstrated by 3 year old or older bucks most of the time. You have to pass their dam inspection, so to speak, before they cross. Any wrong movment, smell, or sound has the buck likely retreating to deep swamp. A lot of guys fail this inspection when hunting beaver ponds / dams and never see the buck... and they think the buck must have been somewhere else.

Even during the late pre-rut, when bucks are cruising at a rather fast pace and you can't hardly get them to stop with a grunt / whistle / yell... older bucks stop to "clear" the dam before crossing. It is that important to them. Young bucks typically just cruise across the dam, with no worries.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun May 29, 2016 3:52 am

ScottRejholec wrote:Just became a member, and I'm loving all the great information. SB you had recently responded to my YouTube comment:

At what time of the day does Scott enter his stands?

Prior to the rut I enter stands in early afternoon most of the time. The last couple of hundred yards I move very slowly to prevent noise during my approach- the swamps are so thick is important for me to get there early for stealth and to have a lengthy period where a nearby bedded buck has plenty of time to settle down and forget about me if he heard anything. During the rut periods morning hunting takes on more importance to me.

Thank you for your response. Do you have any tips on hanging your stand in the early morning darkness of a cedar swamp where sound seems to echo throughout the whole swamp?


I try to get there early, long before the arrival of a buck. This is a bit of an extreme example, but I travelled 2 1/2 hours through muck with hip boots on to get on stand to kill this buck... Which I killed after getting picked off by a much larger buck:

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

Postby ScottRejholec » Sun May 29, 2016 6:48 am

Singing Bridge wrote:
ScottRejholec wrote:Just became a member, and I'm loving all the great information. SB you had recently responded to my YouTube comment:

At what time of the day does Scott enter his stands?

Prior to the rut I enter stands in early afternoon most of the time. The last couple of hundred yards I move very slowly to prevent noise during my approach- the swamps are so thick is important for me to get there early for stealth and to have a lengthy period where a nearby bedded buck has plenty of time to settle down and forget about me if he heard anything. During the rut periods morning hunting takes on more importance to me.

Thank you for your response. Do you have any tips on hanging your stand in the early morning darkness of a cedar swamp where sound seems to echo throughout the whole swamp?


I try to get there early, long before the arrival of a buck. This is a bit of an extreme example, but I travelled 2 1/2 hours through muck with hip boots on to get on stand to kill this buck... Which I killed after getting picked off by a much larger buck:

Image


Right on, that's a dandy buck, nice work! With the close quarters of these cedar swamps, do you believe in grunting and or rattling during the rut? Or do you like to leave the buck travel naturally?
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby mainebowhunter » Mon May 30, 2016 2:52 am

Just listening now...what a great hunting heritage! Generations of swamp hunters. Finishing up the podcast later on this afternoon.

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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Tue May 31, 2016 3:45 am

mainebowhunter wrote:Just listening now...what a great hunting heritage! Generations of swamp hunters. Finishing up the podcast later on this afternoon.

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Appreciate it mb! 8-)
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby mainebowhunter » Tue May 31, 2016 3:57 am

Singing Bridge wrote:
mainebowhunter wrote:Just listening now...what a great hunting heritage! Generations of swamp hunters. Finishing up the podcast later on this afternoon.

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Appreciate it mb! 8-)


Finished up yesterday. Reminds me a lot of the way guys hunt around here. Weight, dragging deer for miles. Little jealous of all of the history/family you had to learn from (i am guessing your learned something from them :D ). Lots of these areas are not going to be learned by a few spring scouting trips. Generations of learning, generations of hunters. Your family probably has all of the spots named, stands named...like "big buck ridge" or "killing rock" . Only the names mean something to your family and friends.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Singing Bridge » Tue May 31, 2016 4:18 am

ScottRejholec wrote: Right on, that's a dandy buck, nice work! With the close quarters of these cedar swamps, do you believe in grunting and or rattling during the rut? Or do you like to leave the buck travel naturally?


Great question... but a tough one to answer. Early season / rut / late season, bedding areas versus swamp transitions, low pressure versus extreme hunting pressure... all impact what my answer would be.

I have rattled and grunted bucks in, inside my huge swamps... but it is the exception and something I do not resort to often. If I have a buck bedding area pegged I don't want him knowing I am there and I may be able to hunt it again with the right weather and a clean entrance and exit. If I rattle and or grunt and it isn't successful that buck will check my tree or groundblind within the next 24 hours and he will depart and stay away from bedding in that immediate area... most of the time.

Also, rattling and grunting in high pressure areas is like using a megaphone and yelling to the buck... "hey, there is a hunter in this tree... " something that many of us do not realize because even though they think they are in a high pressure area... they really are not. It is mind boggling how many grunt calls, and sometimes rattling the bucks hear every day during deer season on the outer edges of my swamps.

In areas with reduced pressure your odds go up. I have used a grunt call, successfully, deep in a cedar swamp to cover a mistake. I was 80 yards off the buck's bed in gun season, and I accidentally made a loud noise with the treestand. I knew if a buck was in the tiny bedding area I was covering he was locked on to the noise... no reason to panic. Normally this hunt would be done, but it was gun season. I waited several minutes and then issued three, soft grunts in different directions in an attempt to be confusing to the buck. Very fortunaely, the wind was light and my hearing would determine the outcome of my hunt. Five minutes after I grunted, I heard a large stick break in the bedding area... Whoa, game on! Over the course of the next twenty minutes I heard the soft snap of a small stick several times... and I realized the buck was very slowly traveling in a circle to get downwind of me. I had almost no visibility in the thickness of the conifer canopy. I finally caught a small patch of brown behind a pine tree almost... but not quite... downwind of me. I scoped a single deer eye peeking at me between a sea of green from the pine. The wind blew and i caught a glimpse of a rack... with part of the rack and the bucks eyes visible, a little movement on his part showed me some fur where his shoulder should be... and a 160 Nosler partition from my 7 Mag ended the hunt. I was exceptionally lucky that curiosity got the best of that buck and a shot actually happened... most often the cover is so thick the buck winds me if he responds to grunting and the hunt and bedding are done... at least for a while.

In high pressure areas, the buck above typically holds the bedding area until dark and exits in a different direction.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby ScottRejholec » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:43 am

SB- Thank you for bringing some great information and experience to my question. I will certainly take those tips into consideration this fall. I am the first and only hunter in my family. This year is my 14th year of gun/bow hunting, and I've had a lot of frustrating years due to not having anyone to learn from. It might sound pathetic, but it took me 3 years of bow hunting to finally see a deer close enough during shooting hours. I just became a member on the beast, and I feel like I've already learned many, many valuable tips!

My favorite spots are thick swamps. I too am not afraid to walk a mile into a swamp to get to my stand. Because of the work ethic, I certainly feel that I got lucky with the bucks that I have shot, and that I was at the right place at the right time. I can't contribute killing those bucks to knowing the skills of how to hunting bedding areas, and how to play the wind properly. However, reading and listening to the articles on this website, so far in particular from you and the beast himself, I am very excited to put these tried and tested tactics into play, and to become a more efficient and effective hunter. I appreciate you guys sharing your experience and knowledge.
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Re: Episode #4 - Swamp Hunting with Scott Shawl

Postby Nocturnal » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:38 am

Bumping a great podcast for anyone who hasn't listened to this yet. Nice job SB!

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