Whitetail Hunting photo

Overall Activity: Georgia’s archery season opened this past Saturday and movement was decent and better than usual primarily due to the cooler weather. Morning lows in the 50’s and 60’s helped deer movement all across the South. Most hunters still report seeing most activity early in the morning and late in the evening. With rain expected this weekend, deer will be active when the rain ends which will also help our dusty food plots.


Thirty minutes into our Georgia opener, a doe walked to within 15 yards of my stand and I put an arrow through her for some very early-season venison. The doe appeared to be responding to a can call as she came in alert and looking. Keep this in mind during the early season as does will often come to a bleat call.


Fighting: Bucks all over should be in hard bone antler now with some light sparring going on. Most antler tickling is by the younger bucks with serious head banging by the older boys coming later.

Rub making: Some rubbing is starting to show up now that bucks have their hard antlers. Look for rubs along field edges, ridgelines, and oak groves indicating where they’re feeding and traveling now.

Scrape making: Some light scraping can be found, but it is sparse. Most scraping is not serious yet either, but may indicate that a buck is at least in the area. I found one scrape in the morning last Saturday under an overhanging beech tree limb. I put a trail camera on it and I’m anxious to see who revisits.

Chasing: No major chasing yet. One hunter killed an 8 pointer in Georgia that was reported to be harassing does. The buck was likely just being frisky and messing with the does and not indicative of any rut action yet.


Daytime Movement: The cooler-than-normal temperatures have generated some deer movement throughout the day in addition to the typical morning and late evening activity. Saturday evening I was hunting over a grownup kudzu and weed field and spotted an 8 point buck feeding about an hour before dark. I grunted to him several times and he would look up and stare and go right back to feeding. As it got closer to dusk, he made his way up the cut lanes and straight to the food plot that I was posted over. The 145-pound (dressed) buck gave me a 20-yard broadside shot and I took it. My son and I found him 60 yards away. (Yes that was two deer on opening day for me – and it was my birthday!)

The interesting note was that I had one trail camera picture of this buck on August 2. Whether he stayed on the property for that entire month and a half I don’t know. But he was there on September 14. Also, he was out feeding an hour before daylight and not waiting until dark to get up. The final point was that although the buck did not immediately respond to my grunt call, he did look and stare. When he was done feeding, he made his way toward where he last heard the grunts. I tend to believe that while it was not urgent for him to check out the ‘other buck,’ he did eventually walk over to me and provide a shot. Being patient and not over-calling is important.

Estrous signs: No signs yet.

X-Factor: Even though the rut is still a ways off, bucks and does may still respond to the right calls. Use bleat and grunt calls sparingly.