In the south, as in many other parts of the country, we have vast swamps that are often a maze of runs, sloughs, dead end back waters and at times, row after row of areas that are flowing water, higher ground and then flowing water again.
I hunt two of these… the Salkehatchie and the Coosawhatchie river systems.
The former system is, in some portions of the river, over a mile wide and while the latter one is less massive, what it lacks in width, it makes for with huge oxbows and twists / turns of the main run.
Both of these systems have their own unique characteristics (and charm!) but they also have two other things in common:
· They are both filled with deer.
· They both have islands – isolated patches of higher ground that are surrounded by acres and acres of flooded ground.
The deer love the swamp… it is a great area for travel, it has water, green browse, there are usually loads of hard mast, there are generally dense thickets along each side of the swamp and they feel very comfortable in these areas.
I profess a great love for these swamps and hunt these areas whenever I feel that I can get on some deer – either traveling or feeding…and sometimes… as a refuge area…
In these vast expanses, when you locate one of these islands, there is dry ground for bedding, green browse, all the water they want and often – thick areas for cover.
They are generally less concerned, I think, with the dense cover – because they are fairly relaxed down in these swamps anyway.
In many instances, you can spot these areas from a distance due to the green growth that accumulates on the higher ground… something the sodden and often flooded adjacent areas can not provide.
Locate one of these areas, and you have done two things… identified a potential hiding and bedding area for the deer and also found yourself a potential great area to set up a stand, be it a climber, fixed or even a ground level blind.
That is one thing about certain swamp locations – with the flooded areas – there is often less underbrush and you can see well from a lower vantage point or even from ground level.
Attached are some photos of one of these islands that I hunt… it is about 2 acres in size and you can see that it rises up just enough to offer some dry ground and green growth…
I do have to cross some very wet areas to get to this island and at times, it requires hip boots (depending on recent rains) but it is well worth it!
Try to locate one of these “Islands in the Stream” on the land that you hunt – on public land this may well be a bonanza!