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.

While everyone knows that the best time to see and kill a trophy buck is during the rut, it’s not always a sure thing that you’ll see or get a shot at a mature deer. The underlying philosophy of many hunters is to put enough time in the woods during the rut and eventually, hopefully, it will pay off and you’ll get that shot.

I’ve been putting my time in hunting several times each week hoping for a crack at a nice buck. Up until this week, I had not even seen a buck with a rack on its head. It was getting discouraging, but I felt if I kept hunting what I thought were good spots that I would eventually bag a good buck.


All around me many of my hunter friends were seeing and killing good bucks. I’ve been hearing about tall-racked bucks chasing does through the woods or across openings and getting nailed by opportunistic hunters. Anthony Bettis killed a 15 pointer scoring 153 3/8 in Harris County, Georgia (photo above) that was trailing three does.


Robert Deaton (above) was hunting in Morgan County, Georgia when he bagged a ten-pointer with palmated mass throughout its rack. Deaton had seen the buck the day before chasing does.


Yesterday I was hunting Georgia’s Gwinnett County, hoping for such an encounter. Just as I got in my stand a six-pointer walked by ten yards away tempting me. Two hours later I was getting ready to get down and go on to church when I spotted a doe. I hurriedly re-nocked an arrow and got ready. Along with the doe was a dark-racked buck–but both deer had spotted me in my stand. I stood as still as I could and prayed for shot opportunity.

After some nervous moments, the buck got within 30 yards and I sent a Muzzy broadhead through his shoulder and watched him crash after 40 yards. Anyone who bags a nice buck knows how sweet the feeling is–and I finally got that feeling. I owed it to that doe for bringing the eight-pointer my way.

The bucks are chasing does in Georgia and South Carolina and will be soon in other southern states. If you’re in your stand at the right time, you may get that shot you’re looking for too.