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BradB

Coniferous Bog and Odocoileus virginianus

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I've been scouring the web as best I can, digging and digging through pages, .pdf's, and scientific abstracts. All to answer a question that has been bugging me: To what extent do white-tailed deer use coniferous bogs? I can't seem to find anything in the literature.

A what, you ask? One of these:

pg175in1.jpgdescribed by the USGS here..

You see, my deer hunting area borders a very large one and I've never been entirely sure if the deer really use it. Yes, they use it for refuge at times when pressured--and they do seem to walk around it in the red-osier dog wood or black spruce that border it. But do they live and eat in there?

Something in an aerial photo that looks like this:

markedbogsm6.jpg

The text markings from left to right say "Low Grass and Sparse Cattails Wet!", "Coniferous Bog", "Black Ash", and "Upland".

In other words, is it worth a Herculean effort for me to go back there and hunt it? Are there other Minnesota hunters who have land near these types of ecosystems and do you have any theories or information relative to deer use of them?

Comments and discussions would be much appreciated.

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If that's where the deer are then it is worth the effort to hunt it.

I am sure the deer visit the area some. How much and when and for what? The easiest way that I know of scouting an area like this is when it is frozen. Likely you will not hunt directly in the bog, but rather just outside of it.

There likely are dry islands that the deer bed down on in the bog. If you are targeting a big buck it might be needed to hunt in the bog. The buck may not be out of the bog during legal shooting hours. Of course during the rut, who knows!

Good luck!

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I've seen many deer shot out of coniferous bogs. Ther is not much for food source but they can be a fantastic bedding area and setting up near them can be worth while. I do not think that crawling around inside one for hunting is worth it though. They are very difficult to walk around in and the visibility is usually pretty low.

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Thanks guys. I've been back in that stuff a couple times over the years, in dry years for fun. You are right that it is not at all easy to move around in. I didn't note any deer sign on those travels, but when hunting mature bucks you usually don't anyway.

My concern is that I hunt next to one that is huge. An irregular 2 by 7 miles or so. I'm undecided whether the big bog is a deer deflector, or a slight deer habitat.

It is my suspicion that the deer don't use these areas much as there isn't much to eat there. Tamarac, willow, sedge? Certainly, when it is hot they can lay down in the moist moss and cool off. And when they are moved by hunting pressure it is a refuge they can get to that they know they are safe in. But I don't really think they live there much.

I was looking to see if other fellas thought the same. There is a lot of this stuff in Minnesota, and other guys might have been wondering the same thing I have been.

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My land borders an area like this, not as large as the one you are referring to though. By my place there are a few areas where trails skirt the bog (major terrain features that create funnels such as ridges, points, fingers, indentations, etc). And I have found one primary trail that crosses directly through the bog.

I've never hunted in the bog itself, just along its edges or even a few hundred yards away.

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Thanks for the comments! I have shot 3 deer in the past few years that have come out of the bog. But I'm not sure how far they went in. I suspect they just go in a little ways for refuge, but don't range throughout. The first was one of 2 does that were coming out after a windy day when the wind dropped at sunset. The second two were an 8 point and a doe he was trailing about 1/4 mile in. And this was the area where there are dogwood clumps and small upland islands at the edge of the bog so they may just have been skirting it.

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I have one of these bogs on my land, and its fairly big. I have hunted the edge of it for several years. I have noticed that the deer walk the edge of it during opening day, but after getting shot at a few times, I see them coming out of the middle of it. I dont think they eat much of the stuff in there, but I have walked through it in the winter time and there is a lot of trails going through it. As for hunting inside of it, I have tried it one time, wont do it again. I was hunting in the middle of it, I heard the deer walking less then 20 yds away from me, never seen them, so I moved, same thing. I think the human smell lingers in there a little more due to the moist air. It didnt seem like a good pay off, I couldnt see more then 20 ft in front of me, it got dark in there really early, and the deer didnt make much noise, so you didnt hear them coming along ways away, and you cant see very far. Another thing is as I was sitting in the bog, I noticed there are some really strange looking bugs that I havent ever seen before, I didnt like them much. So I will stick to my stand on the outside of it looking into it. I was thinking this year I would cut a couple shooting lanes into it, so I can see farther. Last year I had a glimps of a big 12 pointer, that I only seen for 2 seconds, then never got back into a clear shooting lane, my neighber shot it 2 hours later.

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Good point about the human smell. The other problem with hunting in it is you make an incredible amount of racket trying to walk back there. First you have to go through the willows, then some alders, then black ash, and then all over moss on top of sticks. I dragged 2 deer out of there for just a quarter mile and it was hard, hard work.

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One of my good buddies has a swamp similar to what you're describing, but it's broken up a bit more with one long high ridge 1/2-3/4 of a mile running deep into it that's probably 10' higher than the rest. You can drive down this ridge no problem. The deer cross it from one side of the swamp to the other all the time. They have one stand back in a small clearing in the swamp that they've shot a deer or two out of. I've sat there a few times. I've often thought I heard deer, but couldn't see them, they usually skirt the clearing I think & you don't even see them. I can remember jumping a couple of bedded deer from near the stand though.

I would agree with your assessment of some bedding & travel, but as far as living in them, it's primarily in the first 100 yards or so next to the fields or other cover edges.

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All I can say Brad is that I wouldn't want to put one down too deep in there. Getting it out could be a rather significant challenge.

Bob

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One of the forties I own is 3/4 bog just like your picture. Yes the deer use it all the time. Even when you shoot a deer and it takes off no big deal. The best part is jump on your wheeler and go get it. The bog is just like riding on a snowmobile in one foot of fresh snow. It's a hoot buzzing around on the wheelers. Just one note of interest. I do have big and wide mudders on my wheeler.

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Great Bedding Area!....if you ask me.

I'd really check out that point!

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