It's been a challenge lately to keep up with all the big bucks being shot and the stories of hunters seeing bucks chasing does in Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. We often get early reports of young bucks pursuing does and the big mature bucks waiting on the real thing, but we are already hearing about the older bucks on the move. There are also pockets of action in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Last Saturday brought the coldest weather of the year so far, with morning temperatures in the mid-30s that spurred deer movement overall. At one hunting club in Morgan County, Georgia, a hunter reported seeing 15 bucks during the morning hunt. He was not sure of the total, which could have been as high as 19, because he kept seeing some of them over and over. At that same property, Lauren Deaton said she saw two mature eight-pointers twice chasing the same doe but she was unable to get the crosshairs on the fast-moving bucks.
This seems a bit early for the main rut as it usually is in these areas, but the proof is in what hunters are seeing. Most does that are seen have a buck nearby following them or checking them out. Scrapes are also being made and tended in many areas. Even older bucks are on the hunt, which indicates that many of the does are actually in estrus.
In Arkansas, Michael Howell had the hunt of a lifetime on October 19, "bucking out" in one morning on the eight and nine-pointers shown here. Both bucks had double throat patches, and his daughter killed a doe the same morning. Not a bad day.