John's Journal...


Click to enlargeNorthern Wetlands

Editor’s Note: Although outdoorsmen mainly think about hunting deer in southern swamps, swamps, bogs and flooded timber exist across most of the U.S. The deer that live along flood plains throughout the nation often have different movements and behavioral patterns than deer holding away from the water. These swamp bucks often defy reason and usually will be bagged by the men who understand why these deer do what they do. Let's look at the men who hunt swamp bucks across the country and the tactics they employ to take these animals.

Click to enlargeDick Kirby, the creator of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, hunts swamp bucks all over the nation. "Anywhere you find a river system that floods, you can use swamp-hunting tactics to bag bucks." To hunt in swamps, you have to survive the insects living in them. Regardless of where you hunt, most flooded- timber areas will have more than ample amounts of mosquitoes and redbugs during warm-weather hunting. "If you swat the mosquitoes, you will spook the deer," Kirby explained. "If you put on insect repellent, the smell of the repellent also may spook the deer. To consistently hunt deer in flooded-timber regionsClick to enlarge, be conscious of your odor, use insect repellent sparingly and hunt into the wind."

Kirby suggests you hunt underwater ridges in a swamp for continued success. These high spots often cross flooded timber and allow the whitetails to walk from one patch of dry ground to another woodlot without having to get as wet as they will by swimming the deep part of the slough. "These underwater ridges are major highways for deer to cross water," Kirby commented. "Hunt these shallow places as intensively as you will major trails going through a feeding area." In most sections of the country, hunting thick cover affords the outdoorsman some of the best opportunities to see the biggest bucks. However, when you hunt along a flood plain, Kirby recommends you take a stand where you can see for 200- to 300-yards out in the water on either side of your stand. "The Click to enlargemore area you can watch when you hunt flooded timber, the better your odds for seeing not only bucks but especially trophy bucks," Kirby reported. Kirby advises anyone who hunts in swamps anywhere to carry flagging tape to mark trails in and out of swamps and to use when following wounded deer. "If you shoot a buck that runs into the water and you go after that deer, you won't travel far before you realize that flooded-timber areas all look alike," Kirby said. "When I'm hunting in a swamp, I hang a piece of flagging tape at my stand when I start trailing a deer. I continue to tie flagging tape at eye level on branches all along the trail I take to recover my animal. If you don't follow this flagging-tape strategy, the chances of your becoming lost in an unfamiliar swamp are at least 200 percent higher."


Check back each day this week for more about SWAMP BUCKS ARE DIFFERENT...

Day 1 - Flooded Plains for Deer
Day 2 - Mississippi River Swamps
Day 3 - Northern Wetlands
Day 4 - Midwest Flooded Areas
Day 5 - Southern Swamp


Entry 280, Day 3