d_rek wrote:Singing Bridge wrote:whitetailassasin wrote:Scott, I'm not real up to speed on cedar swamps, so if there is a difference between the swamps I hunt and them, and how deer use them, I would love to hear that contrast. Also how different the food sources can be and the timing of why and how deer bed in them, as say a typical marsh or cattail swamp. Thank you.
Cedar swamps are different for a number of reasons. Other hunters are left behind almost immediately because of the lack of visibility and their fear of getting lost- gps or not... and you'd better have a lot more than just a gps when you penetrate.
The swamps I hunt will have you bleeding, literally, by the time you get on stand. That's just the way it is and most guys don't want to put up with it. Muck holes and water can be treacherous. Oftentimes walking out the only real visibility I have is a little hole above in the cedars where I can see a star or two.
Cedar swamps are the supreme escape cover for old bucks, there is nothing more daunting to hunters. They also provide the buck with food and water... he doesn't have to come out if he doesn't want to. White cedar is the only documented food source (browse) that a whitetail can eat in exclusion to all other foods and crops and survive a harsh winter. Plenty of water and food with supreme escape cover puts age on bucks.
With tremendous hunting and poaching pressure even some of the youngest bucks will move into a cedar swamp to escape. On opening day of Michigan's archery season I have had yearling bucks go by that had no chance of making it to the edge of the swamp before dark... its that bad in some areas.
Food sources are utilized outside the swamp whenever pressure allows. A couple of miles of travel for a big buck inside a cedar swamp before stepping out of its edge and being well after dark is a joke to a big buck.
Pressure dictates bedding on the edge, deeper into some islands and cover transitions, or downright scary penetration. The oldest bucks want to be left alone most of the time and will move to where that is possible... no human scent.
My swamps have local bucks that utilize them for bedding most of the year (sometimes all year) and they contain transient bucks that move in after leaf drop in the highlands, the rut, weather that dictates it, etc.
How bucks navigate these swamps, utilizing water and air currents for bedding to food, travel in between doe areas, etc. with nearly no visibility is little understood by any biologists and is something that only a few hunters have observed to this day. There is so much more to it than deer travelling within based on the tracks and scent of other deer.
Ask Kevin and Drew about their property near Gaylord aka 'Buckhorn Ridge'. The back half is cedar swamp. Ask him about the backpacking trip we did earlier in the year and how his two idiot cousins hiked from buckhorn to the Pigeon... there's a good story and some hilarious pictures we could share
Going to have to take you up on that suggestion!