Backwoods/Swamp in Columbia County “Getaway”

Hello friends,

I do not know if I can ever recall being so excited to hunt whitetail deer with a bow. In the past, ducks, bear, moose, elk, trapping and deer with a gun have been much of my fall pastime with bow hunts taking place but not being a big part of late summer thoughts.

This summer I have been thinking that I want to do some serious bow-hunting and with that thought, I have to find a place to go for an early season adventure.

A week ago, my thoughts were that I would head up to the Turtle Flambeau Flowage and totally hideout for four days. My plan was that I would go up this week, scout by using some trail cameras, put up a portable tree stand, and sit in a tree from five in the afternoon until midmorning the next day.

That plan vanished when I remembered that Iron County had some serious winter kill, and so I came up with a new one: Head down to Columbia County, put my canoe in on the Wisconsin River, go to a creek a few miles away where there are no roads or fields boarding it, paddle up the creek and find “deer paradise.” In reality, I did this last December with a muzzleloader and harvested a six-point buck on the first night, but had never explored this vast marsh for a bowhunt.

Thursday, August 2nd

High 73, low 48

I think it is important to write that I kind of suck at bow hunting, and like everything else in life it is due to a lack of effort. So here is my rather unusual plan. I am going to canoe until I hit a very desolate and marshy creek. Next, I am going to paddle up the creek for about two miles until I reach so many dead falls that obstruct my way that I have to walk.

In this case all foot travel will be done wearing hip boots and most walking is done in a marsh. I walked right by where I harvested the six-pointer, and paddled past where I have caught many trout, and trapped many raccoon and muskrat. I also paddled past two places where Selina’s golden retriever Fire has made two blind, double-duck retrieves.

At first, I did not travel with my portable stand or backpack, I just explored, and it would be best described as muddy, plenty of tall marsh grass and lots of raccoon sign. It was also very easy to fall, which I found out more than once as dead falls were blocked from view by tall grass. Falling is an art, and my plan always is to not panic when you know the ship is going down.

So I have to admit I did not see much deer sign, and that was because of the tall grass. But I did find an area where there is a marshy forest that borders a tag alder swamp, and I set three trail cameras out and then put my portable tree stand in a tree with a plan of sitting in it from 5 p.m. until about 9:00 the next morning.

It is 8 p.m. and I am really loving life in total comfort as I watch day become night 15 feet above the forest floor, and am positive that I will see several trophy bucks.

About 9:00 it is now about dark, I had quite the show as lots of Canada geese flew right over my head but no deer came by. At this point I realized that my pants and the inside of my hip boots are wet and I am not very comfortable. I also realized that I forgot my headlamp.

By 11:00 I was downright cold, and I came up with a plan of from up in the tree I would take off my hip boots, put on my rain gear and hopefully my pants would dry.

My 2:00 my pants had gone from wet to damp and I have to admit that I was loving life even though I had not seen a deer.

At 4:00 it started to get light and at 4:45, even though I was cold, I was fine and I knew I was going to see a big buck soon.

Long story short, the geese flew right over my head again. A doe came by and busted me and I think this spot would be very good during the rut but not until then.

For those of you that live in this part of the state I want to tell you a fact. I stayed in the tree until 9:30 a.m. Then I did the one-hour job of getting the stand down and back to the canoe. What is really cool is that on the paddle back down the creek I saw some very large tracks, and was pretty sure what they were.

I beached my canoe and clear as day saw where a large black bear had swam across the creek, got out of the creek and traveled through the marsh.

If anyone has an idea for a cool spot for a bow hunt I am all ears!


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