Big bucks hide out on swampy islands to survive

High ground in watery areas is safe haven

Big bucks in the Carolinas get crafty to survive the long hunting seasons here. Deer flock to high ground in ponds, lakes, and swamps. Hunting pressure pushes them to these locales. This is especially true toward the end of deer season.

Any hunter using hounds knows exactly where deer go when dogs are on their tail. They flock to water when danger approaches. But they are not fond of bedding in 2 feet of 45-degree water, either. Deer will stay on upland islands, ridges, or hills deep inside a swamp until the disturbance leaves them alone. These are perfect places for deer to escape and regain their sense of security.

Deer hunter Chad Weatherford loves to hunt the high rises in swamps as end of the season approaches.

Hunt the high ground

“When hunting in water, the first thing that comes to mind is hunting swamps and rivers when they are overflowing. It is one of my most-favorite times to hunt because there are higher spots in there below the water line that hold lots of good deer in the late season,” he said.

Deer head for these remote islands to escape hounds and other hunters, and Weatherford will sometimes encounter one of these good bucks on the approach to these isolated areas.

“I always slip in from the downwind side and take my time, only taking a few steps at the time,” he said. “They will be hard to see, but as you get closer to the hill in about 1 to 1 ½ feet of water, you should be able to find them.”

Islands don’t have to be large at all; deer will hold up on very small areas, some barely big enough for their bodies. But larger islands are more easily accessed and will hold more deer.

Hunters willing to go the extra mile to find these high hot spots might be rewarded with a big buck as the season wanes.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 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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