South Ga Swamp Habitat Hunting Strategies

Thread starter #21
Yes sir in a number of ways. I like to keep a humble approach and strive to learn at every avenue i can possible. The goal is to be consistent in my tactics and strategy vs the once in a blue moon sheer dumb luck which ill take it every time gladly. But with every year that passes i find it more beneficial to focus on the woodsmanship side of it and get back to the root of hunting the habitat, terrain, conditions, and sign vs relying on a food plot or feed pile to bring success or encounters. Nothing wrong with it as ive done it for many a year but now i want to break away and focus more on the meat and potatoes hunting and really test myself and what ive learned. Forums like these are a huge benefit for younger guys like myself that have a thirst, passion, and a realistic drive to want to learn from those that have been in the woods for many a year and found what it really is and takes to be successful in the woods season after season. And yes sir that buck won the 1st match i gladly give him the w in that initial meeting but looking forward to continuing the now evolved chess match with him into the season.
 

Nicodemus

ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
Yes sir in a number of ways. I like to keep a humble approach and strive to learn at every avenue i can possible. The goal is to be consistent in my tactics and strategy vs the once in a blue moon sheer dumb luck which ill take it every time gladly. But with every year that passes i find it more beneficial to focus on the woodsmanship side of it and get back to the root of hunting the habitat, terrain, conditions, and sign vs relying on a food plot or feed pile to bring success or encounters. Nothing wrong with it as ive done it for many a year but now i want to break away and focus more on the meat and potatoes hunting and really test myself and what ive learned. Forums like these are a huge benefit for younger guys like myself that have a thirst, passion, and a realistic drive to want to learn from those that have been in the woods for many a year and found what it really is and takes to be successful in the woods season after season. And yes sir that buck won the 1st match i gladly give him the w in that initial meeting but looking forward to continuing the now evolved chess match with him into the season.

Keep that attitude and outlook and you`ll do just fine.
 
Thread starter #23
Keep that attitude and outlook and you`ll do just fine.
Nicodemus,

Yes sir once i learned not to expect to see a deer every outing i go but appreciate the present of the moment and the hunt. That's when i realized how fullfilling it can really become, to learn how to read the woods and the sign and be able to develop a effective game plan that's where i want to work towards. Ive been able to find the deer before season and find some mature bucks but ive got to get better on my in season preparation and planning and hunting the early season all the way through the late season and figuring out what set ups to hunt and when. It took me all the way to last year to actually understand how to search out and find bedding areas and still working on how to read them for what conditions and what gets used when.
 

Nicodemus

ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
Nicodemus,

Yes sir once i learned not to expect to see a deer every outing i go but appreciate the present of the moment and the hunt. That's when i realized how fullfilling it can really become, to learn how to read the woods and the sign and be able to develop a effective game plan that's where i want to work towards. Ive been able to find the deer before season and find some mature bucks but ive got to get better on my in season preparation and planning and hunting the early season all the way through the late season and figuring out what set ups to hunt and when. It took me all the way to last year to actually understand how to search out and find bedding areas and still working on how to read them for what conditions and what gets used when.

You`re gonna do just fine. You want to learn and you have your mind right. I`ve been hunting these South Georgia river swamps since I started tagging along with my Grandfather in 1959.That`s when my lesson`s started, and to this day, every time I step off into these swamps, i still learn something new. The learning never stops, and I respect that. Never forget, there`s magic in the swamps that you won`t find anywhere else.
 
Thread starter #25
You`re gonna do just fine. You want to learn and you have your mind right. I`ve been hunting these South Georgia river swamps since I started tagging along with my Grandfather in 1959.That`s when my lesson`s started, and to this day, every time I step off into these swamps, i still learn something new. The learning never stops, and I respect that. Never forget, there`s magic in the swamps that you won`t find anywhere else.

Exactly, up in these North Ga hills/mountains we have up north of the city it's kind of repetitive as far as what you can expect to run across habitat diversity wise. As you mentioned that "magic" factor the curiosity of the unknown that may be lurking within the shroud, cover, and protection of the swamps. Im not necessarily new or green by any means. Grew up in a hunting family and have had alot of great memories and experiences over the years but looking back i think to me the memory that most stands out that gave me the bug regarding the swamp habitat hunting was back in the late 90s i believe. My father and i were set up overlooking a swamp bottom in Talbot county during the rutt and 1 morning we were set up hunting my father ended up taking a shot on what would have been his largest buck a massive 12 point that was trailing a group of does that came trapsing through the area just a short while before the 12 point showed up. And it was from that hunt on just that factor of the swamp that drew me towards it.
 
Thread starter #26
Swamp scouting update :

Just wanted to provide a most recent update on this topic.

This weekend i was unexpectedly given a hall pass from my better half to take off to go try my luck out again at the club. That being said i of course junped on the last minute offering and took right off after work Friday to head to the lease. Saturday am rolls around and i decided to hunt the mouth of a hardwood creek bottom that i had found some white oaks that were starting to drop good. I hunted that morning and ended up passing on a young 5 point around 9 am. Around 11 or so i decided to ease down and scratch the itch of curiosity as the same bottom i was in ran straight into a chunk of the river bottom swamp that has been on the back of my mind for some time. So i ease down and begin to make my way through the bottom paying close attention to all signs and trails on my way through documenting as much as possible and marking down waypoints from the more noticeable elements in the area. I make my way through during of which there was no shortage in well worn down game trails and tons of fresh signs and tracks, horned trees on display fresh for many of them. As well i encountered 5 deer on my journey and 1 gaggle of good looking swamp bottom gobblers. Once i made it to the river bottom swamp to my much pleasant and unexpected surprise what should i find other than far as the eye can see the water table in the area was very much down and the flood waters it appears for some time had been receded. The area was dry for the most part with these minor pockets of soup bowl like areas that were holding water still but you could see these "higher" island kind of formations of chunks of ground that were elevated noticeably above the regular water table lines judging by the sign left behind and the older piles of washed out debris at the bases. To my extreme surprise was the overwhelming amount of loaded oaks that i found spread throughout anything from swamp white oaks, water oaks, and pin oaks were the ones i immediately noticed off the rip. The bottom was one of the most beautiful sights to this point ive ever had the privilege of laying my eyes on personally. And did i mention the overwhelming amount of sign and trails cutting through like ahot knife to butter. It was something else. Tons of deer activity and of course hog activity. Immediately i marked some starting points down gathered myself from the obvious excitement and came up with a plan to get started i went and pulled a cell cam and set it up in the area at the mouth of it to try and gauge the volume and frequency of activity. To say the least in less than 48 hrs of soaking in the bottom ive already logged several hundred pig and deer pics coming through all hours of the day and night. Not to mention i kept my wits about me i had my garmin handheld gps, a compass, and my phone with maps saved ready to go but to reiterate this forum is an awesome tools for us younger inexperienced hunters who have a thirst and hunger and passion to learn everything we can. Thanks again everyone it was a memorable weekend of firsts for me. Now to continue to work towards keying in a mature buck to chase in the swamp bottom.
 

Nicodemus

ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
A tip for you when you`re scouting a new area. As you move through the place, every 10 feet or so, stop and look behind you. That way you learn how it looks behind you as well as in front of you and it will look different. Every step you take in the woods changes your entire view.
 
Thread starter #28
Yes sir Nicodemus i appreciate that. My time was limited but i did try to change the angles up every so often while i was in there. Id stop scan a full 360 view then walk a few yards and look around and vice versa. As well id walk to opposite side of the creek bottom trying to get the "broader" picture of the signs and trails and see if there were any disguised trails further up above the bottom lying trails. I know bucks especially the big boys like to travel their own paths and dont typically follow out the does and yearlings regular usage trails. Which every so often id cutt a set of buck tracks off to the side or adjacent to the worn down crossings on its own little deal.
 

jmac7469

Senior Member
As someone who has been in many deep dark nasty swamps and killed lots of deer in them, keep in mind deer dont mind being wet. They will use the same trails and travel corridors even when the water is high. The property I hunted basically my entire life was really wet with lots of swamps and creek bottoms and a small section of river. One of the better bow bucks I killed was in water touching his belly. That swamp stayed wet year round but the feeder creek would get down to only a couple feet deep if we had a really long drought. Theres something really awesome about sitting in a stand listening to deer walk through water. Scout when the swamps are dry but dont be afraid to sit those trails and food sources when its wet. Trust me a deer will stick its head in water for an acorn weather its a white oak or a yellow one.
 
Thread starter #30
As someone who has been in many deep dark nasty swamps and killed lots of deer in them, keep in mind deer dont mind being wet. They will use the same trails and travel corridors even when the water is high. The property I hunted basically my entire life was really wet with lots of swamps and creek bottoms and a small section of river. One of the better bow bucks I killed was in water touching his belly. That swamp stayed wet year round but the feeder creek would get down to only a couple feet deep if we had a really long drought. Theres something really awesome about sitting in a stand listening to deer walk through water. Scout when the swamps are dry but dont be afraid to sit those trails and food sources when its wet. Trust me a deer will stick its head in water for an acorn weather its a white oak or a yellow one.

Jmac thats basically in a nutshell what i am dealing with habitat wise. The chunk of ground i roughly investigated this weekend is a stretch of river bottom swamp that buts right up alongside a major stretch of river way. Bordered by a sizeable ridgeline that drops right off into it for a 3 mile stretch running the perimeter. This swamp habitat from the looks fluctuates and does not appear to be a year round water holding swamp more along the lines of a seasonal conditions depending wet season kind of situation. From what i could tell it looked like the water level had been receded for some time just by looking at the wash out zones and the debris piles left over. Not to mention i was not expecting the amount of clustered groupings of oaks i encountered in justy short little stroll into the area and i could have gone much much further into the interior of it. However i remained focused on not getting ahead of myself and to stay centered on taking baby steps to try and learn the area out.
 

kingfish

Senior Member
Here is something I learned several years ago and it works on a regular basis especially in swamps. As you scout, you will find scrapes. I used to not pay a whole lot of attention to them other than a confirmation that there was a buck in the area. Than I found a spot on the edge of the swamp where the tall pines and palmettos came right up to it. There were several fresh scrapes up and down the trail between the two areas. On a whim, I climbed the only straight tree I could find in the middle of all the scrapes and started using my bleat call. After the third series of short light bleats, I heard a twig snap and he was standing there up wind 20 steps away. Long story short, I killed a good public land quota hunt 8 point. It has worked several more times since then. A tip I figured out is when you are on the ground looking around, try and find a spot that the deer can't see a long distance. What you want is the buck to have to walk close to you looking for the doe. The other thing that I find is that bucks have no problem coming in from up wind instead of circling in down wind most of the time when I'm using the grunt call. Best of luck, I thoroughly enjoy swamps and creek bottom hunting. Great advice from the others too, I too am always learning. Thanks
 

jmac7469

Senior Member
Look for the groups of more mature oaks, especially if there are palmettos around. The thicker the palmettos the better. Somewhere there is high ground in that swamp go find it as well. Dont hunt on the high ground rather position yourself with a favorable wind just off the edge of the high ground. In fact if you manage to find a good area of high ground I wouldn't intrude on it more than one time. High ground may only be a foot or so above everything else. Again dont get to caught up on the water when its wet, thats more of an inconvenience to us than it is to the deer. Message me if you want to go in more details I'll try to pass on my knowledge best I can.
 
Thread starter #33
Thanks both kingfish and jmac. Alot of great information has definitely been shared on this topic and i am very grateful for the tips and advice shared so far. Definitely taking as many notes as possible to apply to my tactics.
 

Jim Boyd

Senior Member
Just a few observations:

* old logging roads - look for scrapes
* habitat edges - pine to hardwood, etc
* points where the higher ground juts out into swamp, particularly if there is scrub brush, etc there
* beaver dams that the deer may walk around
* sharp creek turns that might wash out, pile up brush etc that deer might walk around
* oak flats along transition zones, particularly if you are gun hunting and can see a good way
* particular trees or clusters of trees dropping acorns for bow hunting
* we have had good success with stands out in the creek bottoms where you can see a good ways - look for trails and crossings

Walk

Look

Observe

good luck!
 
Thread starter #35
Just a few observations:

* old logging roads - look for scrapes
* habitat edges - pine to hardwood, etc
* points where the higher ground juts out into swamp, particularly if there is scrub brush, etc there
* beaver dams that the deer may walk around
* sharp creek turns that might wash out, pile up brush etc that deer might walk around
* oak flats along transition zones, particularly if you are gun hunting and can see a good way
* particular trees or clusters of trees dropping acorns for bow hunting
* we have had good success with stands out in the creek bottoms where you can see a good ways - look for trails and crossings

Walk

Look

Observe

good luck!
Thanks Jim Boyd. Again some really awesome bits of advice that yet again i had not necessarily thought of to this point. Ill be going back down the next 2 weekends and every trip down i intend to learn with each trip down more and more.
 

Jim Boyd

Senior Member
Thanks Jim Boyd. Again some really awesome bits of advice that yet again i had not necessarily thought of to this point. Ill be going back down the next 2 weekends and every trip down i intend to learn with each trip down more and more.
Good luck, sir.

You are an analytical guy with enthusiasm.

It ain’t if - rather it is when - you will score.

FWIW / I will say this, in our early days we hunted swamps a lot. I think the ease of seeing the tracks and trails may have lured us. We would set up out in the swamp in an area that looked or felt like “deer” and in many cases we would catch bucks cruising just because they were visible in the rather open bottom areas.

Most of our bow stands were either on obvious trails or timber edges. That transition from dry ground to wet ground (read that as often thicker areas opening to swamp) were where we often set up, particularly if we could ID trail(s).

Other things I would look for:

Open gates that channel deer
Fence corners (an inside fence corner is deadly🤓)
Areas where the fence has been beaten down
Ditch crossings
Old home places, there may be old pear and pecan trees, etc
Any hedgerow
Any brier bed
Any plum thicket
A chinaberry thicket
Walk the sloughs and look for crossings - also some sloughs have a slightly higher area associated with them

For me - in short - anything out of what looks like a sea of normal woods.

Also, seat time that does not pay off today often provides the intel that fuels success tomorrow. They don’t call it experience for nothing!

Best of luck.
 
Hunted a couple of tracts like that for years, and in general I would try to go in real early in a boat on the morning coming in front the river, and hunt all day if you can. If you hunt afternoon, in my experience, you are better off coming in from the land. Similar to what you said and are looking to hunt, they like to hang on the dry grand surrounded by water where they feel secure. They are going to typically spend all night out feeding in plots, corn feeders, oak ridges, etc. and then move back into this areas just before or when it gets light, just like they would a thick area on high ground. If you get in early from the river, you can often beat him back to the spot. If you come in off the river in the afternoon, you will often run them out of there. It doesn’t even have to be that big of a dry spot or that thick, and several areas close together are great. I try to sit all day if I go through the trouble to get in a spot like that early, because they will move a good bit during the day in a place like that if they feel like they are secure. One of the best spots on some public land like this was a little ridge that led out to this area of four or five dry spots that was probably 10-15 acres total , 20 tops. The water along that little ridge regardless of how deep the river was flooded was going to be the shallowest path to those “islands” so they would always walk it. Saw a pile of deer and killed a couple of decent ones on that spot. Hardest part was getting in there and figuring out how to hang a stand and get climbed up when you are standing in knee deep or deeper water. My point is, they may be holding on a small little piece of high ground that is tough to get to or hunt in and of itself, but if they have a preferred way of getting there either via a little run of dry ground or shallow water verses stuff they would have to swim in, you can often hunt that and not really impact them that much or mess up the spot they are actually using.
 
Thread starter #38
Hunted a couple of tracts like that for years, and in general I would try to go in real early in a boat on the morning coming in front the river, and hunt all day if you can. If you hunt afternoon, in my experience, you are better off coming in from the land. Similar to what you said and are looking to hunt, they like to hang on the dry grand surrounded by water where they feel secure. They are going to typically spend all night out feeding in plots, corn feeders, oak ridges, etc. and then move back into this areas just before or when it gets light, just like they would a thick area on high ground. If you get in early from the river, you can often beat him back to the spot. If you come in off the river in the afternoon, you will often run them out of there. It doesn’t even have to be that big of a dry spot or that thick, and several areas close together are great. I try to sit all day if I go through the trouble to get in a spot like that early, because they will move a good bit during the day in a place like that if they feel like they are secure. One of the best spots on some public land like this was a little ridge that led out to this area of four or five dry spots that was probably 10-15 acres total , 20 tops. The water along that little ridge regardless of how deep the river was flooded was going to be the shallowest path to those “islands” so they would always walk it. Saw a pile of deer and killed a couple of decent ones on that spot. Hardest part was getting in there and figuring out how to hang a stand and get climbed up when you are standing in knee deep or deeper water. My point is, they may be holding on a small little piece of high ground that is tough to get to or hunt in and of itself, but if they have a preferred way of getting there either via a little run of dry ground or shallow water verses stuff they would have to swim in, you can often hunt that and not really impact them that much or mess up the spot they are actually using.

Across the River, that is what i am looking into os that water entrance off of a yak for the mornings and like you mentioned a land based entrance in the evenings. Basically for the majority of the members on this property they avoid the "swamp" like the plague basically for what you referred to as far as the headaches and effort of trying to hunt it consistently. Especially during the warm weather months before that winter weather starts to impact things if it even is a factor much at all. I did a light probing session this weekend into a chunk of it where i pushed through the interior of a continuous section of "islands" and it looked very good a bunch of scattered oak and pine pockets covered with browse and briars about head high which to me stood out as good bedding cover when you factor those dry ground islands along with that kind of cover. The farther in i went the more buck sign i found vs doe. Far as tracks go i didnt really try to locate any rubs or scrapes but the tracks were not hard at all to identify considering.
 
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