Big Plans for Big Woods
Buck hunting tips straight from Buckmasters Magazine. An interesting read for hunters everywhere.
Huge blocks of unbroken timber allow bucks to get old and burly.
“The barrel-chested 10-pointer strode confidently into the little clearing, heading slowly but steadily toward a sturdy, solitary evergreen at its center. In a sudden explosion of power and speed, the massive buck sent bark, pine needles and branches flying. Seconds later, a violent twist of thick, muscular neck snapped the tree cleanly in two. If you’d witnessed the scene from a nearby treestand, you’d have marked it as one of your most exciting outdoor experiences ever. But no one was there. No one discovered the impressive rub, much less glimpsed its heavy-beamed maker.
Many public land tracts hold the kind of isolated, big-woods habitat that mature, reclusive bucks crave. Yet for most hunters, figuring them out can be mystifying, even intimidating. The miles of timber and stands of thick brush devoid of game-luring ag fields seem an impossible nut to crack.
Big-woods tracts contain plenty of game-funneling topography if you know what to look for. Even so, they attract fewer hunters per square mile than less remote woodlots in ag land. You have to work a little harder and do your homework to crack the code of the “sea of sameness” in the big woods, but the rewards can be worth it.
SEA OF SAMENESS?
First, understand that locating big woods stand sites is more than throwing a dart at a map. There are definite hot spots, even in areas with virtually no elevation changes. Few know this more than Mike Noskoviak, who has owned and operated Superior Guide and Outfitters in northern Wisconsin’s Ashland County for the past 25 years.
For the same long stretch, Noskoviak has been a trapper targeting mink, raccoon, coyotes and more after his guiding season is complete. His dual-pronged lifestyle has served him well.
Successful trappers know about game movement, and Noskoviak says the same concepts apply to hunting.
“Find where all the feeder creeks and ravines run through a given area, because those are deer travel corridors,” he said. “The first thing you’re looking for is the biggest river. Find the major river (or rivers), and then find where the larger tributaries connect. Big woods hunting is very much like trapping; all of the area’s critters use the same basic travelways, just on different trails.””
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Photo credit: Original Author.