Joe Rentmeester, Doug White, and Andy May give tips on having an easier hunt when in swampy or marshy areas. We learn the best tips on using scouting maps and the best way to read the map when hunting or tracking.
Publish Date: Mar 25, 2021
So, Andy, you know the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about swamps is scouting with maps. That's that's the first thing that pops in my mind. But I'm curious. What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you start thinking about this topic? And are we thinking the same thing? Or did you want to kick these guys in a different direction? No, that's the That's the first thing, Um, that I think about two. In fact, um, that's one of the reasons I like hunting swamps and marshes so much. I hunt quite a bit of this stuff, and I find it at least where I'm at. I find it fairly easy to break down and hunt, but not easy to get into them, if that makes sense. So like the game plan I feel like for me is it's fairly easy to figure out where to go and what to scout. Like the transition lines and all that are usually pretty clear. But what makes it hard a lot of the time is accessing it a lot of time. It's a lot of physical work which can keep obviously, the majority of the hunters out, I think like swamps and marshes tend to get tend to be better in high pressure areas because it just pushes more the more mature deer into them. So, um, I don't know if you guys kind of feel that same way, but, like, as far as like, as far as cyber scouting and reading maps, like, I find this the easiest to pick apart, but not necessarily the easiest to access. It requires a lot of physical labor A lot of times is Would you agree with that, Joe? Yeah. So I would definitely agree with that. Um, the one thing if you throw in there is, uh, cedar swamps. If you were to look at, like, a cedar swamp on a map, that's where you really? In my opinion, you really can't decipher much. I mean, you can see your swamp still have transitions, and you can still kind of find those. Um, but with the cedar swamps, you really have to get into them and kind of pick them apart. You have to kind of get in there on foot. So that part, I would say, is a little bit different. Yeah, we have some of that up north in northern Michigan. I've actually never hunted like a true cedar swamp. I've hunted Tamarack. I've hunted like tag holders. Lots of like the red does. Your dog would, Um, just a lot of cat cattail marshes and whatnot. But the Cedar swamp, we have quite a bit of that up north, but I've actually never hunted it. And I've heard the same thing I've heard it could be very difficult. How about you, Doug? As far as like reading the maps. Is that Is that pretty much what you start with? Yeah, for sure. I'm a big map guy. I mean, I live in South Florida, so a lot of places I hunt, it's a drive. I can't really put boots on the ground. I hunt giant tracts of land. Um, so basically, I am narrowing down a lot on the map, and there might be some huge pieces of public that I might not even really go to because I can't narrow down on the map because it's not the right, uh, sort of terrain, you know? You got those those giant swamps if they don't have good hard edges, um, or like deep water edges or something that I can key in on on the map. Um, you know, unless I have some intel on that place or, you know, something like that, I might just right, right that place off and go somewhere that's more more catered to my style and a little more efficient. Can you elaborate on that? A little bit, Doug, because I've I read you write something about this where you said that you'll you'll avoid areas with these soft edges, as you call them, Or kind of indistinct rolling terrain stuff like that and that you really as you just said, really? Look for those hard edges. Can you explain what you mean by that and what that looks like on a map? Because I imagine when someone is trying to figure out how to pick apart a swamp when looking at a map. At first glance, um, for new people that can be intimidating. It can be hard, even when you've been doing it forever, especially if you're going to travel to new places and new swamps where you've never been in that area. I've done that where I've looked at maps and thought you know, and ended up when I'm standing there. What I thought was a high ground was the low ground and vice versa. So you kind of have to take everything with a grain of salt. But as far as maps, where you know what the terrain looks like? You know what the vegetation looks like and you can see it on the map. Basically, you know, people have different terms for the edge types. Soft edge, hard edge. To me. A hard edge is if I'm on the edge of that swamp and I'll just keep it for Florida. Guys, if you've got Cyprus on your right and you got saved pines on your left and you can say Reach out with your right hand, touch the Cyprus and you can reach out with your left and touch the pines. That's a hard and you've got a hard line right there. But if it kind of bleeds in and say it takes 50 yards 100 yards where it's mixed cypress and pines, um, it's it's going to be a lot harder to nail down exactly where that deer is going to move through there. Um, so I don't know what it looks like on the map. I mean, if you know what the different types of trees look like, or the different types of vegetation. Um I mean, it's just gonna be literally a hard line. Um, where those two to vegetation types of meat that you don't want to see them really blended together. Um, in some cases, you might if your gun hunting I like that kind of stuff. But if you're talking mostly like bow hunting, a lot of guys listen to this hard for bow hunters. So I mean, you're really trying to nail down where that deer is going to walk, and it just makes a lot easier when you got the defined terrain. Like you said with rolling terrain, Same thing for his country. I looked for the steepest stuff I can find, and I looked for places that only have a little bit of it. So I know where to key in on. Because otherwise you've got the same problem of everything was good everywhere, and you can't be everywhere. Yeah, yeah, Joe, do you look for something similar when it comes to kind of prioritizing areas that have that really distinct hard edge. Uh, not necessarily. Um because when you have that around here, it seems when you have that hard edge, you also have, um, other people finding the same spots and pushing the deer out of there pretty fast. Um, so then you end up finding yourselves in those spots that don't have the hard edge that are a little bit more difficult to find out and figure out. Um, yes, I mean, I guess just Really? Yeah. So? So that's interesting. So then what? When you're looking at the map, then if the hard edge for you is working as well up in Wisconsin or that part, what on the maps, Are you keying in on otherwise? Sure, So you can still kind of catch little. I'm thinking of a local swamp near me. Could still kind of catch little points that get out or get in. So, like, let's say you have a line of cedars and cat tails, and it's it's more of a soft line. You can still kinda see those spots where the soft line might dip in or the soft line might dip out. And that's where I like to check and you usually have a trail either running into the cedars or out of the cedars. Um, those are great starting points, but then it's tricky because they're gonna be that one lone high tree out in the cat tails that is holding, betting that everyone's going past or, um, it can be very deceiving. So I mean, it's a starting point, but gosh, you really, if you can, you really want to tear through an entire swamp like that.