Bruce: A Thrilling Southern Chase Scene

Rut Reporter Eric Bruce has been writing about hunting and fishing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years and hunts deer all over the South, including near his Georgia home. States covered: AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL.

Nov 11: The rut is on in some parts of the south, primarily South Carolina and Georgia, while the other states are inching closer to that magical time. Of all the things that go on in the whitetail woods, one of the most exciting has to be the "chasing" phase where does are coming into estrous and bucks are going wild in pursuit of them.

When a rutting buck catches the scent of a doe in heat, nothing else matters to him but to pursue her all out. It's the best chance to catch a mature trophy buck on the move. It's also the chance to see a herd of bucks of all sizes and shapes all chasing the same weary doe. If you're on a stand and an estrous doe runs by followed by a batch of bucks, it's the most thrilling, and possibly frustrating, time for a hunter as he tries to put his sights on one of the moving bucks.

The chasing scenario was experienced by a Georgia hunter this week. While bowhunting in Rockdale County, this is the action in his words:

"At 10:30 I heard a loud grunt and ALL HELL broke loose. Six or seven bucks were chasing a hot doe and here comes the same buck I had missed! Deer were running everywhere--it was crazy. Two other 8 points and smaller bucks were grunting, snort wheezing and running around my stand. I finally got the big buck stopped for a second at 30 yards. I saw him start to move again but it was too late as I had committed and I shot behind him. He ran off behind some brush, and one of the 8 points stopped at 28 yards. I was disgusted and my adrenaline was in overdrive as I grabbed another arrow and shot him. He ran 30 yards and crashed. Unbelievably I saw the big buck 2 or 3 more times before the morning was over and I almost got another shot at him, as I sat in the tree with ONE arrow left!"

That's a sampling of the kind of action one can experience in the woods during the rut. But it can also be hard to get an arrow or bullet into a buck as it's running around. With all the deer on the move, grunting and wheezing, it can be a challenge to pick out the biggest one and get a shot at it, all while you too are at peak excitement and flush with adrenaline.

If you hunt the Palmetto or Peach State, now is the time to be in the woods in hopes of seeing some serious chasing. You can bet I'll be out there in hopes of getting in on some of the action. I just hope that my heart can take it.