Island delights

High water caused by heavy rains often turns high spots in low-lying areas into islands that will fill up with wildlife.

Rivers and streams along the coastal plain and in the larger watersheds of the Piedmont and Midlands areas will have high hills within the river corridors, and these hills don’t always flood when everything else in the area is inundated.

Deer will migrate to high ground when rivers surge, either island in the swamp or a high hill adjacent to a river bend or oxbow. Hunters with a small john boat, kayak or canoe can encounter big bucks seeking refuge on these islands.

Rivers carve their way through the landscape, creating new channels and leaving old ones behind. When these channels get cut off from the main-river flow, oxbow lakes are created. Heavy current erodes soil, but it also causes soil to accumulate in other places where currents slow down, and pile up, creating islands and higher ground that remain high and dry, even during prolonging periods of flooding.

While a new flood can create and destroy islands, some high ground in the flood plain, created hundreds of years earlier, will have a well-established forest, providing deer with both food and cover. These islands can often be discovered from USGS Topography maps or identified on Google Earth.

Deer feel instinctively safe in and around water. Often, when hunting pressure increases rapidly in an area, they look for places they can hide out and get away from hunters. They will seek out heavy cover, and any high spots in the flood can be great places to find a mature buck.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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