Overall Activity: Only a few seasons in the Southern states are open, though the rest are approaching quickly. Hunters in South Carolina are having some success, particularly if they are set up over fields in the evening. Several hunters report harvesting some nice bucks. Many of those taken in August still had velvet covered antlers. Overall most activity is early morning and late evening and will likely remain that way as long as it remains so warm.
Fighting: Bucks should have shed their velvet by now and will be in hard bone antlers. I’ve been getting trail camera pictures of a nice nine-pointer all summer, and pictures of him from August 31 showed him already in hard antlers. Some bucks may get testy or be itching to try out their headgear. But overall, the serious fighting is in the future.
Rub making: With most bucks having hard bone antlers now, some are beginning to try them out on saplings. Some rubs will be from bucks rubbing the velvet off of their racks and strips of velvet may be found on the trees.
Scrape making: No scrape activity at this time.
Chasing: No chasing yet.
Daytime Movement: Daytime movement is limited to early morning and late evenings. Most deer are laying low in cool areas during the heat of the day. Ten-year-old Christopher Lambert of South Carolina experienced some late evening buck movement and cashed in on the afternoon of September 6.
His Dad describes the action: “We saw a 3-pointer and about 15 wood ducks early, and just before dark I saw a deer moving through the woods. I told my boy, “There’s a deer”. He says “yes, I bet it’s an 8 pointer, being funny as we had been messing with each other all evening. When I replied, ‘yes it is’, you could actually hear his breathing change. The buck came out in the open and I gave him the go ahead to take the first good shot. As soon as I said ‘shoot him’, I see another deer behind the first buck. Turns out it was another 8 pointer. I took a second to try to see which was better. The first buck was wider but had skinnier beams and shorter G3’s. I told him to go with the second deer which was narrower with longer tines and just a prettier rack. I was watching through my scope (as a back up) when his rifle popped and I saw the impact on the buck’s shoulder. He made a good two hops and was down. Needless to say, we were both very excited. The buck weighed188 pounds. It was his sixth deer, and his biggest.”
Estrous signs: No signs yet.
X-Factor: The best tactic at this time appears to be watching fields in the evening. Any open area containing some type of deer forage is the best place to see and kill a buck. Target food sources early and late for action.