David Hall hunts in Fulton County, Georgia, in western suburban Atlanta. While this county is mostly developed, it also has some wooded pockets with some excellent deer hunting—and, with an archery season that lasts until the end of January, can provide a bowhunter with some exciting late rut or second rut action. Last week, Hall had the kind of encounter lucky hunters typically experience during the absolute peak of the rut. Here’s how he describes it:
“I had to hunt super hard this morning (Jan. 9) as it felt “on,” so I kept my eyes and ears super focused. At 7:45 a.m., I hear something busting through the creek bottom. A small doe came from the ridge across the way and headed up and away from from me. Then she turns back and runs to the creek bottom fast! Behind her is ‘The Man.’
“A good tall 8 pointer, about 130 class, is on her hard and fast. He chases her into the creek, only for her to do a 180º and come fast up my way - it’s on! He’s on her, she comes into my area and gets between me and the ladder stand stops and is nervous. ‘The Man’ has stopped 50 yards behind her and 70 yards from me.
“No one moves for over five minutes. I’m relaxed, figuring how this will play out, and keeping an eye on her and him. She’s not budging, neither is he.
“I double check the creek bottom to my left and there’s ‘The Man II’, an old dark wide ten-pointer, coming up to us. Yes, this is happening!
“The doe turns and heads away from me towards a ladder stand, the eight-pointer has to either come my way or down the fence line to cut her off. He goes down the fence line and right to a ladder stand, the wrong stand. ‘The Man II’ follows him by twenty yards. Two shooter bucks walking right by the stand I chose not to sit in.
“Then the doe takes off over behind the ladder stand. I can hear them bolt to cut her off, then nothing. All deer are out of sight. Two minutes later, here comes the girl, wide open, and the eight-pointer on her heels! They are 70-80 yards out and start zig-zagging all over and under and by the ladder stand again.
“For some reason I check the creek to my left again and see a coyote slipping by at seventy yards. The doe is running right to the coyote. She gets to him and stops. Then she breaks right hard and hits the gas, the eight-pointer still on her! They head north and out of sight wide open! I can’t see the coyote, but figure they all running hard to
“So I check back for the ten-pointer and there is his rack cutting the corner to the north and walking fast across the pasture. And then it was over. It left me shaking my head. Both wallhanger bucks and no shot, but had a blast!”
The doe being chased was likely a yearling doe coming into estrus for her first time, and was definitely noticed by the bucks. Anytime this happens, it is certain to get the bucks frenzied, as there as so few does in heat this late—two months after the main rut.
Also in Fulton County, Georgia, Blaze Meier took advantage of the extended archery season and killed a 120-class nine-pointer on January 13. Blaze, a new hunter, bought his bow a few weeks ago and began practicing. With tutoring from a friend, he began hunting and on one of his first hunts ever, he took the buck shown here.
The lesson is this: Peak rut or second rut, you need to spend time in the woods if you want to see action.