Water Skirting- Using a deer’s pattern of skirting large water sources for the perfect ambush.

The worst text message I woke up to last fall came from my dad.

Big ten just slipped by at 26 yards, one limb in way.

By far the best text message I woke up to last fall came from my little brother Ben.  Around 7:30 am on the second to last day of the season, my phone buzzed, and the text read

“Just arrowed first buck, big six down.”

Indeed, a beautiful buck had fallen to my little brother however, where my dad had a close encounter with a big ten point and my little brother killed his first bow buck proved to be a great example for other hunters.

whitetail tracks on water edgeWhen we hear water many hunters think, water holes, hot temperatures and long hours waiting in a blind or stand for a thirsty animal.  Yes, these are all true, but I am not talking about hunting thirsty animals here.  If you have a small pond or swamp on your piece of property, have you ever thought of using it to your advantage instead of seeing it as wasted space?  Bodies of water offer hunters a strategic advantage.  Bodies of water, whether it be a pond, or swamp, allow us to see where deer are skirting around the edges.  Often times, deer will not want to swim the body of water thus finding the shortest distance around the water to their destination.  This usually hugging the edge of the easiest maneuverable location on the outside of the body of water. During the rut, these travel corridors can be the ticket to catching big bucks checking trails for does.  My youngest brother and father both capitalized on this understanding of deer movement.  With a large swamp taking up most of this particular chunk of woods they had been hunting, my father had hung his climbing stand on the easiest point of access for deer to skirt the swamp.   With well-worn trails near the stand to prove his theory, it was only a matter of time before arrows began flying. Within days, my father had the big ten-point chase does into shooting distance and my brother arrowed the big six with its head to the ground

Using bodies of water to your strategic advantage can bring results.  While hunting travel corridors between bedding and food are almost always given the most attention in camp, don’t discount the edges of swamps and ponds.  They may be your ticket to narrowing down your big buck’s travel patterns.

Jason Reid

Last Updated: September 12th, 2022

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