Georgia: Hunt Over Fruit-Bearing Muscadine

Georgia's archery season opened this past Saturday (9/14) and Peach State bowhunters are already taking some does and a few nice bucks. Most activity remains in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. The weather has been warm of course, but slightly cooler than typical of September in the South. The cooler weather and low humidity has worked in the favor of hunters. It has increased deer movement somewhat and enables us to get to our stand without being drenched in sweat.

Most hunters are keying in on food sources as the rut is still many weeks away. Large agricultural fields and food plots are a favorite stand location for many archers. One Georgia hunter commented that the acorn crop in his area is very poor but the muscadine output is good. He reports that the deer are eating the wild grapes 'as soon as they hit the ground'. If you can find muscadine vines that are producing, this is an excellent place to put your stand.

With South Carolina's season having been open for over a month now in some areas, several hunters have had some success on early velvet-antlered bucks. Most bucks should have shed their velvet by now and have hard bone antlers, but a few bucks are lagging behind.

Some of the South Carolina hunters who have scored report doing so on large fields in the evening. One such hunter is Mike Casstevens who nailed a giant Palmetto State buck. He had passed up the buck last year in hopes of it growing larger and it did. Trail camera pictures over the summer showed that it had survived and was still in the area. "I first saw him again this year in July while preparing for the season and caught him on a few game cameras. I put eyes on him twice and remained hopeful he would come back around come deer season," said Mike.

Mike first spotted the buck way across a field but had a hard time getting the crosshairs on him.

"Fifteen minutes of intensity through my scope, waiting for that next step and wondering if the elements would work with me, patience set in with the thrill of the hunt we all know and have felt many times. I made my shot with a long range tactical 308 using 168 grain A-Max Hornady Tap, from 367 yards," Mike relayed.

"Since last season I had regretted not taking the shot on this buck when I first saw him, however, having waited, I had the privilege to watch him grow yet another season as well as monitor him via the game cameras. The cameras caught him eating with a nice herd of does and other bucks, however, it was obvious he was the 'head buck in charge'. He is my once in a lifetime South Carolina Whitetail trophy that I can share with my grandsons and continue the hunting tradition in my family," Casstevens said.

Georgia and South Carolina hunters are out and many are seeing good action. However most of the action is around food and not related to the rut. The rut is still in the future, but some good decent action can still be found. This time can also be used for some valuable scouting and monitoring of deer patterns.