John's Journal...

Use Swamp Fox Tactics to Bowhunt Wetland Buck Deer with Will Primos and Mark Drury

Day 3: Learn Water Tactics to Take More Deer with Will Primos and Mark Drury

Editor’s Note: Will Primos of Jackson, Mississippi, the creator of Primos Hunting and the “Truth” series of hunting videos, is well-known throughout the U. S. Primos enjoys hunting deer in water, as does Mark Drury of Osceola, Indiana, the Co-owner of Drury Outdoor Productions and the founder of M.A.D. Calls.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View"Once when I hunted a back-water area along the Mississippi River near Natchez, I noticed something in the water that totally surprised me," Will Primos recalls. "As I looked closely out in the water, I could see five deer, and two of them were bucks, with swarms of mosquitoes around them. However, only their heads were above water. I'm convinced these deer stayed in the water not only to dodge bowhunters in the early season but also to escape the mosquitoes. When I hunt a flood plain, I often find the biggest bucks in the water, not only in the early season but in the late season as well, even when the water's cold."

Bowhunters realize that deer will cross water and often stand in water to avoid hunting pressure. However, many hunters don't know that mature bucks will bed out in the water during daylight hours. "One season I hunted a large buck that often would go out into a flooded-timber swamp," Primos says. "But I never could locate the spot where the deer came out of the swamp. Although I assumed the buck couldn't remain in the water all day, I never saw the buck in the daytime. One morning I put on my waders, followed the deer trail into the slough, made a straight-line path from where the deer trail entered the water and waded across the flooded timber. I spotted a big cypress log lying half-submerged in the water and was shocked when a big buck jumped up and ran. I waded out to the log and made a surprising discovery. I found deer droppings all over the top of the log and decided that the older buck spent most of his daylight time living on top of that log in the water. Here the buck could stand up, stretch, turn around and go to the bathroom without having to get back into the water. That fine buck taught me that often older-age-class bucks will live on a small dry spot in flooded timber in the daylight and only come to shore at night." This type of situation is perfect for learning all you can from trail cameras, if they’re placed strategically.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewYou're probably wondering how and what deer eat in the water. Generally some of the biggest and oldest acorn trees grow in highly-fertile river-bottom swamps. When the river floods, current in the center of the river pushes the acorns that have floated-up from the flooded lands back into the dead-water swamp areas. Often deer will find more acorns in the water than on dry land. Deer also feed on grasses growing in mud at the bases of trees and on shrubs and bushes growing above the water line.

Other bowhunting experts have discovered the value of hunting wetlands. The late Dick Kirby, the creator of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, liked to hunt swamp bucks all over the nation. Kirby once told me, "Anywhere you find a river system that floods, you can use swamp-hunting tactics to bag nice bucks." Mark Drury hunts water bucks, primarily in Missouri and Illinois. He explains that, "When a river floods and pushes water back into the woods, deer will funnel around the ends of these sloughs. Imagine a 12-lane highway barricaded except for two lanes. All the cars going in both directions must pass through those two lanes. You can expect this same type of traffic jam with deer when woodlands flood, and you’re hunting at the end of a slough that protrudes deep into a woodlot."

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle books “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property” and "How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows”, click on them, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
Tomorrow: Know the Advantages of Hunting Deer in Water

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Hunt the High Spots above the Water Line and Scrapes in Water to Take More Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Use Swamp Fox Tactics to Bowhunt Wetland Buck Deer with Will Primos and Mark Drury"

Day 1: The Techniques of the Swamp Fox During the Revolutionary War Will Help You Take Buck Deer
Day 2: Know the Advantages of Hunting Deer in Water
Day 3: Learn Water Tactics to Take More Deer with Will Primos and Mark Drury
Day 4: Hunt the High Spots above the Water Line and Scrapes in Water to Take More Deer
Day 5: How to Choose Your Equipment for Hunting Water Deer

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Entry 735, Day 3