Archery season is now open in Georgia and parts of Florida and Louisiana while South Carolina hunters can use bow or rifle depending on their region. Hunters in these areas are out looking for whitetails and some are having some action.
From what I can gather, there is still very little rut action out there in the southern woodlands. This is not unusual as the rut in most of these areas is still weeks away. If you cannot find rubs and scrapes, what’s a whitetail deer hunter to do? Same as in early season, you hunt food sources. All deer have to eat, and if you can locate an active food source, you’re very likely to see deer and possibly a nice buck. Look for dropping acorns, food plots, soft mast, and other deer foods. Those with deer sign around them, indicating that they’re eating that food, are the places to set up your stand.
One such hunter that capitalized on a deer’s need to eat is Shane Wilson of Douglasville, Georgia. Shane hunts in the west-central county of Harris and has had good success there, especially in the early season.
Wilson set up a feeder on his hunting property and had numerous trail camera pictures of a nice ten-point frequenting the feeder. “I went into this area in May and set up a feeder in between two creeks on a hardwood ridge,” Shane said. “I have been watching him all summer long and had thousands of trail pictures. I went in, set the stand and cut the shooting lane in July. I filled the feeder and set the camera about four weeks before opening day and left the area undisturbed.”
On opening day, Shane went in for the kill. “I got in the stand about 4:45pm and saw a 5-point at about 5:55, then at about 7:20 I saw him down by the creek. He was eating acorns and I stood up and got my new Bowtech Experience in hand. He took his time working up the hill as I thought he was coming in to the feeder. He then turned and went back down the hill. He then walked back up the ridge and finally committed to come to the feeder. Finally he turned broadside at 31 yards and I drew back settled the 30 yard pin and let the arrow fly. I double-lunged him and he ran off the ridge towards the creek.”
Shane went back to camp to get help tracking and found his buck 45 minutes later. The ten pointer, pictured here, weighed about 150 pounds dressed and was rough-scored at 125 inches.
If you can find some hot rut action, by all means hunt it. But most Southern hunters are not finding it yet. In the absence of rut sign, hunt food, and you too might bag a good buck.