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.

Hunter Woodham got an early start on Louisiana’s archery season. It opened September 17 in his area and he was raring to go. The young hunter had never taken a deer with a bow and they have several trail camera pictures of bucks on their property.

But due to a prudent father, Hunter was not allowed to go hunting on opening morning because he hadn’t practiced with his bow enough. Hunter shot his bow that morning and was ready for the evening hunt.

He was using an old hand-me-down Golden Eagle bow nicknamed “Good Night” and set up over an oak flat. Hunting over acorns is a good idea in the early season. Deer are concentrating on food sources as the rut is still many weeks away. Bowhunters set up on acorns or any food source will see mainly does, but there is always a chance to see a feeding buck.

As dusk was falling, the young hunter spotted a buck and a good old-fashioned case of buck fever fell over him. Hunter reports, “I went to draw back my bow and at half draw I started shaking and had to let off and take a couple of deep breaths. The next time I drew back I was able to release and place the broadhead in the front shoulder of the buck. He went down immediately. I then texted my Dad, ‘buck down’ “.

Woodham’s first deer with a bow was a seven-point velvet-antlered buck. Some crucial bow practice, pre-season scouting and hunting over a hot food source all played a part in his successful hunt.

Hunter’s hunt took place in Louisiana’s Area 3. Most of the rest of the state began hunting October 1. Arkansas and Zones 1 and 3 in Mississippi also began slinging arrows at whitetails on the first day of October. No doubt more success stories will start flowing in from southern hunters in these states. While the rut is still down the road in these areas, hunters should still look for rubs and other buck signs, which will point them toward active buck feeding areas. Acorns and other food sources may lead to a successful hunt just like Hunter Woodham’s.