Deer season is still open here in Georgia where I primarily hunt, and extends all the way to the end of January in some areas. However, the chances of seeing a mature buck have gone down, since most of the main rut activity is now over. Last week, though, I hunted a new area and saw numerous fresh scrapes. It had rained overnight and a buck had freshened up a long line of them.
If the bucks have hard bone antler, biologists tell us, they are capable and interested in breeding. But if the does are not in estrus, the older mature bucks go back into hiding and resume being nocturnal. There is always the chance for the "second rut" involving does that weren't bred the first time. So any time you can spend in the woods isn't wasted.
In Louisiana, bucks are chasing and the hunting is excellent. Just ask Nicholas Sampey. He's a 22-year-old oil field worker who chases whitetails in in Natchitoches Parish. Last weekend he experienced the type of hunt we all dream about. Sampey tells the story:
"It starts on Friday 12/06/13 when I had seen a lifetime high in Louisiana of fifteen deer in one sit. The bucks had started chasing and I saw eight bucks and seven does and missed two bucks that would have been bigger than this deer. I have hunted the rut in Kansas, and anyone that has knows that Louisiana is a step behind as far as chasing goes. I had never seen the deer move like this where I live, so to say I was excited would be an understatement. With my missing two bucks, I decided I would give a buddy a go at them on my stand, so I invited a friend to come hunt that same stand on Saturday 12/07/13. So with a bruised soul I found myself hitting the alarm clock still thinking about my mess ups the day before. Then I looked at my phone to see a text that says he can't make today, maybe tomorrow. With it open for me again I hit the stand in hopes at another chance.
"Shortly after 7 a.m. I turned to see a big-bodied deer standing in the food plot, so I grabbed my gun and he starts trotting across my line. He speeds up as his head hit the tree line I squeezed off a shot. While sitting there wondering in my head if the shot was good, my father and lifetime hunting buddy Dwaine Sampey sends me a text asking if it was me. I tell him 'yes' and start looking for blood after 3-4 minutes. After 5-10 minutes of looking, I'm about to head back to the stand when I hear leaves rustling. I turn to see a buck taking his last breath as a river of emotions overcome me."
Sampsey's buck was a stout ten-pointer that was out chasing does. He reports that "since Friday (12/6) I have seen a total of fifteen bucks that were either chasing or cruising for does, so now is the time to be out there. Our rut is usually last week of November through the first week of December." See more of the Sampey's hunting adventures at www.facebook.com/bowhunterspassionx.