Over the years, I’ve developed a real passion for hunting and the outdoors . Its amazing to see how my two young girls are thriving from this exposure to nature. I think the hunting and use of wild game and fish creates a more well rounded individual who has a deeper, closer feel for the nature, which is lacking in in a world of technology and iPads.
If you haven’t taken a doe or a buck yet this season, don’t fret. There is still time! The latter part of the general season in Georgia and the late buck hunt in December are the two best times to tag out on a on deer.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) once were nearly eliminated in the state of Georgia, but through diligent wildlife management efforts deer were successfully restored throughout the state. In fact, the current deer population exceeds 1.2 million. Deer are a valuable natural, recreational, and economic resource in Georgia, bringing in more than $800 million per year in hunting license fees, sporting equipment sales, food and land leases. However, deer densities in some localized areas have the potential to inflict significant damage to forestry, agricultural or horticultural crops, home gardens, and shrubbery. But because deer are important both biologically and economically, management of their numbers requires consideration on numerous levels.
Below are a few tips that have helped me tag several nice deer nearly every season:
Hunt the Rut
Most of the big whitetails taken in Georgia aren’t harvested on opening weekend and are tagged either late in the general season or on the late hunt in December. Mature whitetails act a lot like blacktails in the West…they are nocturnal prior to the rut. During the rut, you’ll find them just about anywhere, including in your back yard! My advice is to pass up all the spikes early in the season and spend some quality time stalking when the rut is on. That’s when you want to be out there! Here’s a link to the Georgia rut http://www.georgiawildlife.com/rut-map
The nice thing about whitetails is that they usually won’t run for miles after they are spooked. If I’m certain that a clear cut is going to produce a buck (i.e. sign, rubs, etc) I’ll sit tight and glass it for a few hours, but if I’m not entirely confident in the cut I’m usually on the move.
I’ll cruise as many as four or five clear cuts in a day of hunting and I’ll usually check the timber around them for sign as well. By doing this you may jump a deer or two, but you’re doing some great scouting in the process and you’ll possibly find yourself a sweet spot full of whitetails. If you jump a good buck chances are he’s going to be right back in the same place within a day or two. If they’ve got food, cover, and does they aren’t going to journey too far away from the goodie.
Look for Signs
There’s a ton of great habitat in Georgia, but unfortunately most people don’t explore all of it. The best thing you can do is to check multiple clear cuts early in the season and see which ones have the most signs. Look for fresh rubs on small trees, tracks in the mud, and tracks crossing the roads that surround the clear cuts. Put the odds in your favor.
If you can’t find fresh rubs indicating that a buck is using the area it might not be the end of the world though. You do need to find does, however, as bucks will find them as soon as they come into heat. If you’ve located good numbers of does in your favorite clear cut the chances are good that a buck will eventually show up. The does almost act as a live decoy once the rut starts. And if you’ve found both does and fresh buck rubs…I’d hang out there for a while until that mature blacktail shows up. Once the rut starts he won’t be too far away.
Some guys I know started using the Scent Away system a few years ago and now I am totally sold on it. If you’ve ever wished for a couple of extra seconds when you’ve seen a buck, this will do the trick! .
Two of the last three years I know a few guys that have taken nice whitetails that should have winded them. Because they used scent control, however, they were able to get shots on two great bucks that they might not have otherwise gotten.
I haven’t gotten much this out this season and tear up and I look at my empty freezer. and If you get a nice whitetail in Georgiathis fall and don’t mind sharing a photo, I’d love to see it.
Here’s to a great season!