Sep 8, 2011, 12:49 PM EDT
Week three is upon us already and yes there are deer rutting somewhere this early in the season. When does your deer season start? Around here I’m waiting til next month before I can hit the woods chasing the big boys. Until then, I’m getting ready for another season, and for what happens after he or she is down. We just moved into a new house, so that means unpacking, rewashing all of the hunting clothes and finding where my gear is. It also means figuring out the drive times to my hunting spots, and how traffic will be on that drive. These are the things that making hunting fun, finding out if you have what it takes to go the extra mile to earn that shot, or even just the glimpse at that dream deer.
Hank Parker Jr., co-host of Hank Parker 3D
The deer in this part of South Carolina seem to rut earlier than anywhere else I have ever hunted. I am starting to see a few nice deer for this part of the country. South Carolina is not known for big bucks but it does have a great deer population.
Typically, we see rubs and scrapes begin in late September to early October, with full rut action around Halloween. Right now, our deer are in their bachelor groups and are very easy to pattern. We have deer coming to our C’mere Deer products on a daily basis.
I live in North Carolina and the deer here are totally different. We do not have the numbers of deer South Carolina offers and our rut doesn’t start until Thanksgiving. Here in North Carolina I am seeing groups of bucks feeding in bean fields. I have picked out a couple of places to hunt and have deer checking out C’mere Deer in a place where I can hang a stand. I am shooting my PSE bow at a variety of Morrell Targets and getting more excited every day about the upcoming season.
Good luck to everyone this fall.
Wade Middleton, host of Yamaha Whitetail Diary
The first cool weather of the year made it to Texas this weekend with cool being a relative term, as it was below 70 at daybreak and highs only hit the mid 90s. But, boy, it felt good for a change. The down side is this past weekend dry air and high north winds caused more wildfires in many areas of the state, causing a lot of damage in many areas. This year has been unlike any other not only for the abundant wildlife that call Texas home but for all the residents of the Lone Star state. Destruction of habitat is an understatement but it’s part of the natural process.
Moving on to more positive things we’re heading out to hang stands this week and move scouting cameras around as we prepare for our first hunts the first week of October. Early-season hunting here that time of the year is typically filled with early and late movement by the deer; however, the good thing is that time of the year is the easiest time of the year to pattern deer movement as the bucks are generally still in large bachelor groups so when you see one you generally see several. I can’t wait to get into the stand this year no matter if it’s here in Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma or Missouri–all states of which I’ve got personal hunts lined up in!
Cody Zabransky,Tecomate Associate Consultant – South Texas
South Texas bucks are still in velvet and holding tight with other bucks. While the drought has surely had a negative effect on antler growth this year, it sure is hard to tell with some of the big fuzzy head gear I’ve seen on some mature bucks. Moisture held over from a wet 2010 may have been key in sustaining deer through a dry 2011 thus far. Surprisingly, fawn crops have been stronger than expected and if South Texas can get a substantial rain shower in short order, deer may go into winter decently healthy. Begin looking for bucks shedding velvet for some unique pictures of that buck you’ve been watching for several years now! For now, good luck dove and early teal hunting!
Blaine Burley, Tecomate Land Management Professional – Georgia
Now is the time to get your trail cameras out to survey your deer herds and develop your “hit” list for this coming fall. My deer are hammering my mineral licks and protein feeders right now. Therefore, I like to put out my Reconyx cameras on or near my mineral licks and protein feeders this time of year.
Mali Vujanic, Tecomate Land Management Professional – Maryland and Delaware
For many people September 1 st means the opening day of Dove hunting across the U.S. But for me, this marks the beginning of a serious shift in a whitetail buck’s 12-month cycle. Velvet shedding now begins and for the first time in 5 months bucks, actually have a weapon on their head. Field edge scrapes will start to appear at this time, which is a very good indication that the summer vacation with their brothers is about over and it’s time for business. For a mature buck, early September is the time of year to lay claim to an area with great water and food, secure cover and plenty of does for the fast approaching rut. If you have done your homework early on, you know where these areas are located. Keep your scouting walks in the woods to a minimum as the mature bucks look for their hideouts.
Bill Miller, host of North American Hunter TV
It’s not the rut, but for whitetail addicts it’s nearly as good. The bow hunting opener in Wisconsin and Minnesota is quickly approaching – September 17.
Bow seasons here in the Upper Midwest run for two and a half months or a little better, so you might look at all the “cons” of bow opener and elect to stay at home. Who wants to fight all those mosquitoes, break out in a full sweat climbing into a tree stand, and have to worry about meat spoiling so quickly after you bring down a deer?
All that’s true, but if you’ve done your homework, then opening day represents a shot at bucks that are at the most patternable they are going to be all season. Even I might argue deer are slightly more patternable at the very end of the season when it’s cold, cold, cold and the snow has piled up. Then deer have to get out in those fields and eat around the clock, but the weather stars don’t always line up that way. Opening Day of bow season happens every year, and it invariably falls after the deer have had nine months of minimal to no pressure from human hunters.
Your trail cameras should have been out for at least several weeks now, and hopefully you have a bunch of pictures that have your blood boiling nearly as hot as a whitetail … well … in the rut! If not, there’s still time, but you’re going to have to quickly switch to two-a-days. Get to your hunting area both morning and night every day until the season opens. Drive the back roads, work the binoculars, figure out where bucks are moving to feed and when. Then buck up your courage and go knock on some doors to see if you can’t still find a place to put up your treestand for opening day, and the next day, and the next, and the next.
If you’ve seen a buck come on to a field at least a couple times on a particular trail, chances are very good he will again this time of year. You just need to be there waiting for him when he chooses that route again. And on opening day of bow season, he isn’t going to have the distraction of hot does to change his mind for him.
Brett Miller, Online Hunting Editor at NBCSports.com
This past weekend I was treated to a rare site, a piebald fawn; though they are a genetic anomaly, they’re still a treat to see. It’s easy to notice the size difference in fawns this time of year as well, since some are losing or have lost their spots while others still have those big white blotches covering their sides. The early fawns that have the right feed will be the ones you want to keep track of come late season. Those doe fawns will come into heat and the bucks will be searching them out, and so should you.
I’ve also noticed that the deer racks are getting thinner and soon rubs will be everywhere. These aren’t the rubs you want to pay much attention to; they’re just shedding the troublesome velvet. They will show you, though, if you have a big buck in the area. If you see some rubs on big trees, and are high up then you know Bullwinkle is in the area. Keep glassing the bean fields, and alfalfa fields, the bucks are still in bachelor groups and you should be able to tell exactly what you have in the area. Soon, though, those same bucks will break up and disappear, so get out there now. Good luck and come back next week for another installment.