Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

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Singing Bridge
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Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:17 pm

The quest for 2017 continues... very limited time to hunt so I'm making the most of it. I'm hunting big woods Swamps where the deer have no access to agriculture. My spots are within National Forests and State Forests. Most of my areas the timber is too mature and access to quality food sources for the deer is very limited.

Antler growth is poor and next year I plan to move at least part of my hunting to public land with at least somewhat better conditions. The yearling Bucks are almost all spikes in my hunting spots, the 2.5 year old bucks are 6 and 8 point bucks. The three year olds are 8-10 points.

I'm right on the tail of an 8 and a 10, while still attempting to relocate the mature 10+ I walked up on opening day. Here are some of the Bucks I've interacted with this year:

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Jackson Marsh
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Jackson Marsh » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:39 pm

8-)

Nice SB!
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Jonny » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:53 pm

:clap:

Way to keep after it. I’m always impressed with the hunts you have given the area you are in
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Singing Bridge » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:54 pm

Thanks Jm and Jonny

Almost forgot this guy... I see a lot of bobcats in the remote, deep swamp areas I hunt. They do not like to be seen and neither do I... guess we have that in common. Most Hunters stay out of the areas I hunt.

A few years back I had a melanistic phase (black) bobcat running around my hunting area. I was priveledged to see him up close- I believe a hunter seeing a black bobcat is rather rare.

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Jackson Marsh
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Jackson Marsh » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:02 pm

I would love to see a bobcat in the wild. Very cool.
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby stash59 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:07 pm

Even without big antlers it sounds like great fun. Killing any buck in there is a huge accomplishment.
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby oldrank » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:14 pm

Pretty cool pics SB. Gotta love Michigan public land !!!!
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby JakeB » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:01 pm

Excited to see how the rest of the season unfolds for you! Good luck!
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Singing Bridge » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:33 am

Jackson Marsh wrote:I would love to see a bobcat in the wild. Very cool.


They are fun to watch. I busted into a Cedar swamp to scout once, with a foot of fresh snow on the ground. My travel was quiet because of the snow. A large blown down pine tree was in my way and I began to walk around it... I came face to face with a bobcat that was rounding the tree from the opposite side. I remember how impressed I was with the speed of the cat as he exploded out of there... they can really haul the mail!
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby matt1336 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:55 am

Hey Bridge,

I own property in northern WI, Price county. I’ve found he bucks to be similar to your description- lots of spikes, small antlered deer, some of these deer carry the tiny head gear all there lives. We do have our slobs however. Anyway....do you find that the body size of a lot of these deer, does and bucks alike tend to be bigger than the deer down south.
Last night I shot a 5 pointer with maybe a 12” spread. But he’s a big deer. 180# dressed. I live in SE WI and any buck I’ve seen with that kind of body weight, this time of year especially was carrying a rack in the 120s minimum.
I’ve killed a couple big bodied bucks with not as impressive racks up here now. The biggest does I’ve shot come from the north woods too. Just curious about your thoughts.
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Wetfoot » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:38 am

Antler growth is poor and next year I plan to move at least part of my hunting to public land with at least somewhat better conditions. The yearling Bucks are almost all spikes in my hunting spots, the 2.5 year old bucks are 6 and 8 point bucks. The three year olds are 8-10 points.

I'm right on the tail of an 8 and a 10, while still attempting to relocate the mature 10+ I walked up on opening day. Here are some of the Bucks I've interacted with this year:

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quote="matt1336"]Hey Bridge,

I own property in northern WI, Price county. I’ve found he bucks to be similar to your description- lots of spikes, small antlered deer, some of these deer carry the tiny head gear all there lives. We do have our slobs however. Anyway....do you find that the body size of a lot of these deer, does and bucks alike tend to be bigger than the deer down south.
Last night I shot a 5 pointer with maybe a 12” spread. But he’s a big deer. 180# dressed. I live in SE WI and any buck I’ve seen with that kind of body weight, this time of year especially was carrying a rack in the 120s minimum.
I’ve killed a couple big bodied bucks with not as impressive racks up here now. The biggest does I’ve shot come from the north woods too. Just curious about your thoughts.[/quote][quote="Singing Bridge"]The quest for 2017 continues... very limited time to hunt so I'm making the most of it. I'm hunting big woods Swamps where the deer have no access to agriculture. My spots are within National Forests and State Forests. Most of my areas the timber is too mature and access to quality food sources for the deer is very limited
Sounds a lot like the UP. We do have some large antlered bucks, but they are rare.
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Singing Bridge » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:51 am

matt1336 wrote:Hey Bridge,

I own property in northern WI, Price county. I’ve found he bucks to be similar to your description- lots of spikes, small antlered deer, some of these deer carry the tiny head gear all there lives. We do have our slobs however. Anyway....do you find that the body size of a lot of these deer, does and bucks alike tend to be bigger than the deer down south.
Last night I shot a 5 pointer with maybe a 12” spread. But he’s a big deer. 180# dressed. I live in SE WI and any buck I’ve seen with that kind of body weight, this time of year especially was carrying a rack in the 120s minimum.
I’ve killed a couple big bodied bucks with not as impressive racks up here now. The biggest does I’ve shot come from the north woods too. Just curious about your thoughts.


A five point, 180# dressed, is an awful big 5 point (congrats!!)- and a great example of poor antler development. Environmental stresses of winter and poor food, along with a few other factors lead to this poor antler development. As you noted, most of these areas have some slobs running around so it is hard to place a large share of the blame on genetics. In Michigan's U.P. and the northern lower peninsula, I see the racks really start to take off at age 4.5... at least compared to the prior growth rate. When they reach 4, I start to see some 120's and low 130's net. The very, very few that hit 5 and 6 start netting in the 150's and sometimes the 160's. I believe the older age class of big woods bucks has obtained significant size and more of their development goes toward their racks. They are also able to reach other foods that the rest of the deer cannot in this most harsh of environments.

Unfortunately the economy has created some hard times in many of these areas and the bucks are blazed at countless homes and cabins with spotlights and porch lights to bait piles out back, in the middle of the night and the entire year round. At least with the advent of crossbows, the number of rifle shots has diminished slightly.

As to your other point, the does in these northern areas tend to be older and yes, much larger. The two mature does I saw on opening day of gun season, for example, are noticeably larger than almost all of the farm country does around my home. Even after decades of hunting, I am always surprised at the size difference... age and environment contribute greatly to body size.

My hunting areas in Ontario, where the range of the whitetail disappears due to the harshness of the environment, harbors deer with a body size that is jaw dropping. For example I have viewed a buck that would easily dress at 300# and he was solid muscle. Compared to a fat Midwest buck... there is no comparison. The Midwest buck would run on site or pay dearly for it.

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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Singing Bridge » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:58 am

Wetfoot wrote:
Sounds a lot like the UP. We do have some large antlered bucks, but they are rare.


Exactly- locating the very few bucks that have reached that age in those big woods environments poses quite a challenge.

Big woods hunting is about as challenging as it gets. Without baiting as they do in some areas, you are really going against it. Which makes success all that much greater.
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Edcyclopedia » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:32 am

Spectacular! :clap:
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Re: Bridge Big Woods Public Hunt Update

Postby Hawthorne » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:40 am

Good write up! You bigwoods guys have my respect.
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