Deer season has already opened in the low country of South Carolina and southern Florida, and the rest of the South is soon to follow. Though it’s still sweat-staining hot outside, the antler velvet should be drying and shedding soon.


Hunters in the southernmost portion of Florida have been chasing whitetails since early August. Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama open statewide on September 14, September 28, and October 15, respectively. After that other states have archery openers varying from region to region: Louisiana has opening dates of September 21 and October 1. The Delta and Hill Zones of Mississippi start bowhunting on October 1; the Southeast Zone opens October 15. Florida has four zones with start dates from August to late October. South Carolina spreads out their opening archery days from mid-August through October 1.

Whenever the season starts in your area, now is a good time to already be practicing your bow and fine-tuning your form. Food plots and supplemental feeding will help fatten up the deer and keep them on your property.

Many hunters already have trail-cam pictures of nice bucks on their properties. Robert Deaton provided the photo above of a good buck on his Morgan County, Georgia property.

Generally, deer populations across the South are healthy, though numbers are down a bit in areas due to EHD. But thanks to antler restrictions and good management, plenty of trophy bucks are around. Plus, good rainfall this year means plenty of water and natural forage.

About the Author: 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