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.
_Georgia's bow season began on September 10th and Peach State archers were greeted to relatively mild temperatures in the 50's, which is somewhat cool for early September in the deep South. While the pleasant cool temperatures helped, hunters also had to contend with a bright moon that was within a few days of being completely full.
Some hunters who saw no deer were able to blame it on the moon. However, many bowhunters did see deer movement and some successfully harvested some early venison. Those who saw deer were primarily hunting over prime food sources. With the rut being months away, and even pre-rut and any significant buck activity still in the future, hunters have to seek out and locate deer foods and hunt them.
Main food sources include persimmons, muscadines, and acorns. Persimmons are deer candy and if you can find a tree heavy with the sweet orange fruits, hang a stand there. Muscadines, a type of wild grape, grow on vines that blanket trees and brush. A vine heavy with dark purple grapes is also a deer magnet. It is a bit early for acorns to be falling, but some may be dropping in the southern portions of the state. Look on the ground underneath pin oaks for a prime whitetail food. Food plots are always a good bet for early season action too.
A major change in the south Georgia woodlands this fall is the allowance of hunting over bait. Under certain restrictions, hunters can place corn or other bait and hunt over it, but only in the southern part of the state, mainly below Macon. Consult the regulations for specifics, but this new law is a first in Georgia and may change the way some people hunt.
Georgia hunters were reporting some deer movement, mainly early in the morning. Does with fawns and a few small bucks were seen. Some deer were seen but the archers were not able to get a clear shot with the heavy foliage still present. Several does were reported being harvested with a few misses admitted.
A hunter reported seeing a spike still in velvet, another saw three does, a spike and a 5-pointer, and yet another saw a 6-pointer and 3 does. One hunter in Paulding county observed a "shooter" buck and a big doe with three fawns and he was hunting an area that was "raining acorns and grapes."
One of the happiest hunters in Georgia is Rober Foster (above), who killed not one but two bucks on opening day. The bucks came through within minutes of each other and the bowhunter shot them both, a nine-pointer and a twelve-pointer. He reported that they were his 3rd and 4th bowkills of his life and his arrows were two feet from each other.
After hunting a buck for the last three years and getting numerous trail camera pictures, a Wilkes county hunter took the trophy ten-point buck. At 7:45pm, two smaller bucks came through and then the "giant" got too close to the bowhunter. The buck was green-scored at 154 inches.