Building Buck Beds In A Swamp

MattDDO

5 year old buck +
Hey everyone. I'm new to the forum and wanted to share this to get your feedback. I own a chunk of property that has a lot of cattails/swamp. A couple weekends ago my buddy and I decided to try to build (what will hopefully be) some buck bedding locations on high spots in the swamp and along the swamp/woods transition line. Anyone else have success or luck doing something similar? Here's a quick video showing what we did.

 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Welcome to the forum Matt.
Nice thick cover you have there. I don't know if it will work or not, I've never tried that, let us know.
Did you do all your cutting by hand?
 

j-bird

Moderator
I have never had much luck with making actual beds. So now I simply focus on bedding areas and let the deer figure it out from there. My experience is that does and young bucks bed differently location wise than older bucks do as well....just what I have seen.
 

MattDDO

5 year old buck +
Welcome to the forum Matt.
Nice thick cover you have there. I don't know if it will work or not, I've never tried that, let us know.
Did you do all your cutting by hand?
Yeah, all the cutting by hand. Those spots are a pain in the butt to get to so its just easier bringing hand tools instead of a chainsaw. Most of the stuff we trimmed back was pretty small anyways.
 

MattDDO

5 year old buck +
I have never had much luck with making actual beds. So now I simply focus on bedding areas and let the deer figure it out from there. My experience is that does and young bucks bed differently location wise than older bucks do as well....just what I have seen.

Thanks, J-bird. I'm doing what you described for a few areas (which i'm hoping will hold doe family groups). We just have a lot of this swamp that would be nice if the deer utilized it more. My strategy moving forward is kind of what you are describing though, I plan on making as many of these individual "buck beds" that I can and hope that a few bucks are able to pick and choose which ones they like.
 

pinetag14

5 year old buck +
I'll be curious to see how this works out for you as I also have lowland habitat that I am trying to improve, but I will say your place looks like prime bedding/security cover!

A couple of questions... 1) is there good sign of them actively using this area already? 2) if so, are they moving in close proximity to the beds you're creating?

I'm no expert so take this for what it's worth but, my first thought to try to promote usage of the specific beds is by going in and cutting some paths in/out of each one (probably 24" wide x 48" high) that extend out maybe 20-30 yards. They need to feel like they have a quick escape route in multiple directions. Also, you might want to cut some narrow intersecting trails throughout the swamp to try to guide them toward the beds. They don't have to go across the entire 9 acres but a couple heading in different directions maybe 50-100 yards long should give them a good starting point and they'll knock down their own trails from there.
 

Honker

5 year old buck +
There has been A LOT of discussion about this on forums over the years. Tony LaPratt (everyone groan together) claimed he could get them to bed in areas, and I think he might have because of the surrounding pressure those deer would stack up on his acreage. Dr. Jim Brauker utilizes hinge cutting to create buck bedding in much the same way as TL. Jeff Sturgis often discusses "depth of cover" where the bucks are bedding several hundred yards behind doe groups and any pressure. Dan Infalt has gone more into depth as far as what some of the main components are of buck bedding but not as much on how to recreate it. I think you are on the right track with the back to cover and prevailing wind and a view to the downwind side. From what I can tell bucks like to bed along the transition edges with those elements. But the major factor in all the information I've seen is pressure and surrounding pressure. If there is pressure, bucks will go to where there isn't any. I think that is why Dan Infalt repeatedly has encounters in large marshes. There are subtle changes (points, high spots, and vegetation) in all ecotypes and transitions that you need to recognize. At those areas, if you focus on recreating a suitable place for a bed, thick back cover, and a downwind view you should increase your odds at success.
 

MattDDO

5 year old buck +
There has been A LOT of discussion about this on forums over the years. Tony LaPratt (everyone groan together) claimed he could get them to bed in areas, and I think he might have because of the surrounding pressure those deer would stack up on his acreage. Dr. Jim Brauker utilizes hinge cutting to create buck bedding in much the same way as TL. Jeff Sturgis often discusses "depth of cover" where the bucks are bedding several hundred yards behind doe groups and any pressure. Dan Infalt has gone more into depth as far as what some of the main components are of buck bedding but not as much on how to recreate it. I think you are on the right track with the back to cover and prevailing wind and a view to the downwind side. From what I can tell bucks like to bed along the transition edges with those elements. But the major factor in all the information I've seen is pressure and surrounding pressure. If there is pressure, bucks will go to where there isn't any. I think that is why Dan Infalt repeatedly has encounters in large marshes. There are subtle changes (points, high spots, and vegetation) in all ecotypes and transitions that you need to recognize. At those areas, if you focus on recreating a suitable place for a bed, thick back cover, and a downwind view you should increase your odds at success.
I'm huge fans of Dan Infalt, Jim Brauker, Jeff Sturgis and Jake Ehlinger. Watching and listening to those guys talk has me hooked on habitat improvement the past 2 years.
 

MattDDO

5 year old buck +
I'll be curious to see how this works out for you as I also have lowland habitat that I am trying to improve, but I will say your place looks like prime bedding/security cover!

A couple of questions... 1) is there good sign of them actively using this area already? 2) if so, are they moving in close proximity to the beds you're creating?

I'm no expert so take this for what it's worth but, my first thought to try to promote usage of the specific beds is by going in and cutting some paths in/out of each one (probably 24" wide x 48" high) that extend out maybe 20-30 yards. They need to feel like they have a quick escape route in multiple directions. Also, you might want to cut some narrow intersecting trails throughout the swamp to try to guide them toward the beds. They don't have to go across the entire 9 acres but a couple heading in different directions maybe 50-100 yards long should give them a good starting point and they'll knock down their own trails from there.

Most of the sign I have found in/around the swamp are trails where the deer are transitioning through parts of the swamp to go to/from ag fields. My woods has swamp on both sides (essentially) and on each side of the swamp are ag fields. Trails like you suggested I think are a good idea as well, I'm planning on incorporating some this spring/summer. Trying to focus on the swamp and possible bedding locations in/around it right now while its easy to see high spots and easy to navigate. Once the snow melts and the swamp thaws, its really tough to navigate.
 

John-W-WI

Administrator
Looks good. I think a buck would use those beds if it is in a spot he is comfortable with. And only the bucks know the answer to that.

Keep in mind that generally speaking bucks want to bed alone, they won't bed down looking at another bedded deer. Does expect to be bedded with others. So keep you buck beds small and away from each other. Just my .02.

Welcome to the forum.

-John
 
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