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.
After a record-setting temperature of 85 degrees on Monday, a front blew through the south bringing rain followed by windy, chilly weather. Southern hunters couldn’t ask for better hunting weather as temperatures dropped to the 30s in many areas. Nothing gets deer moving like a cold front and southern hunters should see increased deer movement this weekend.
Alabama’s archery season began last week and reports are coming in from some successful bowhunters. Darrin Jarvis was hunting in Sumter County in western Alabama and had a wildly productive day. Jarvis hunts with traditional gear, a Hoyt Sky Recurve, and was posted over white, red, and water oaks all dropping nuts. A group of does came by and Jarvis nailed the last one in the bunch which toppled over after 75 yards.
That evening he set up by a greenfield and a dropping water oak. The deer began parading by at 3pm and at 5pm a bachelor group of seven bucks came by. Jarvis knew a bigger buck was using the field and spotted him bring up the rear. However one of the small bucks noticed the hunter trying to draw his bow. After they left, it was showtime for Jarvis.
“I turned to look at where the larger buck was because all my attention had been focused on the smaller buck to get into shooting position and realized the large buck was then 10 yards in front of me. Before I could draw back he bolted and ran across the field to run into the woods. Just before he jumped into the woods, he stopped and gave me a short window of opportunity to make a split second decision as to whether to take the shot or not.”
Jarvis did take the shot, which he later walked off at 37 yards. Jarvis recalls, “Though I knew this to be a long shot I really felt comfortable and at ease, drew the bow back and let the arrow loose. The arrow went right where I aimed, but the deer dropped just enough to where it was a little higher than I would have preferred.” After getting help, he found his buck, a 170 pound ten-pointer to cap off a fantastic opening day.
Like most deer hunters in October, food sources, particularly acorns and food plots, are productive hunting spots. Darrin Jarvis and many other southern hunters are having success around these magnets. A hunter in Georgia, taking advantage of the muzzleloader season, also scored on a ten-pointer last week, but he was hunting near some fresh scrapes, though he didn’t know it till later.
Phil Lehnherr hunted his club in Butts County and bagged a doe in the morning. That afternoon he joined his friend Mitch and his son Mathew. Paul and Mathew headed down the trail and split up to go to their stands. Paul noticed a big fresh scrape on the way to his stand. An hour later he heard Matthew’s gunshot and received a text asking for help. On the way to Matthew’s stand, Paul noticed a series of fresh scrapes that were not there when he walked through an hour earlier.
Mathew bagged a 163 pound ten-pointer with a 17 inch inside spread and two kicker points. His buck was apparently active making scrapes that afternoon right up until he was harvested. This story points out that some bucks are now making scrapes, even in the daylight.
This cold front coupled with pre-rut conditions in some areas all equal some excellent deer movement and hunting in the next few days.