Bruce: Two Southern States About to Rock

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. 2: For South Carolina and Georgia, that magical time of the year is here. Those states are on the brink of the rut and frantic, exciting deer action is about to bust out all over. It's the time of the year that all deer hunters dream about all year. Shown above is some evidence of that: a 139 inch 10-pointer killed in Taylor County, Georgia on October 31. The buck was killed by Dan Brig who reports that the buck was rutting with a swollen neck and black, strong-smelling tarsal glands. Brig was using Buck Bomb Doe P, which the buck appeared to be responding to.

Reports from South Carolina and Georgia are filtering in about bucks searching and chasing does. Some does are coming into heat while others are close to it. Close or not, the bucks are out looking for them and checking out each doe to see if she is ready or not.

Just being in the whitetail woods this time of the year gives every hunter a better-than-average chance of seeing and bagging a mature buck. But if all you do is sit in the woods with no plan, you're not maximizing your odds.

Several strategies can be employed to increase your opportunity to cross paths with a wall-hanger buck. With bucks on the move and in search mode, they cover a lot of ground and often in an unpredictable way. That's when it pays to position yourself in an area where you can see a great deal of real estate. Large fields and crops, powerlines, and low clearcuts are an ideal place to set up and wait on a cruising buck.

Travel corridors and doe feeding areas are another good choice to wait on a rutting buck. Since they're on the move so much, posting over a strip of woods or ridge where deer travel is a high probability location. Anywhere the does like to feed is also a place where the bucks will frequent to see if does are there.

At Bostick Plantation in South Carolina, their strategy is to put hunters on stands near logging roads that have scrapes and corn piles (baiting is legal in South Carolina, but not in Georgia). In doing this, they are combing high visibility with rut signs and food sources. They have been seeing and killing mature bucks over the past week. If you employ these factors in your stand selection, you're greatly increasing your odds of killing a good buck in the next few weeks in these two states.