Late Season Deer Hunting Success

Kids Outdoor Outpost February 2019

Joe Schuster | February 3, 2019

When the calendar flips to January, is it the close of a deer season or the beginning of a new year of hunting? No matter which way you look at it, January still holds some opportunity to fill your freezer or to donate to a friend in need or a worthy cause. To succeed, you must be on your “A” game to drop one. Which is what I found out just a few weeks ago.

Forsyth County is one of the seven counties in metro Atlanta that have an extended archery season through January, and I’ve only been successful twice in 10 years of hunting this late season.  It’s a great opportunity, but the hunting can be tough.

On my last hunt of the season, a front was coming in that January evening, and I sensed that deer might move to feed before the weather changed. We had seen several nice bucks in December but decided to let them walk as they would probably be good ones the next year. I wanted to take an older doe.

The gray day slid into a slight drizzle with some of the drops hitting off my hat as sleet. At 5 p.m., she eased in, her steps quieted by the wet pine needles. I drew when she got to 20 yards just before she stepped behind a bush. When I released the arrow, it hit her slightly back. She kicked and ran about 40 yards and quivered. She dropped to her knees and bedded down. I felt that I had put a pretty good lick on her, and that she would probably drop her head and expire. Nope, another deer came trotting through and jumped her. She went another 20 yards and immediately bedded down again.

As light was fading, I decided to get down and try to slip another arrow into her. I got down and went tree to tree, quietly and slowly to about 30 yards of her. As I drew again, she jumped and ran into a thick tangle of privet hedges. By then, light was dropping fast, and as I headed to my truck, I felt that she probably would bed again and expire.

I went home, ate some supper and came back with my son, Jared. A younger set of eyes and a strong back could come in handy. I showed Jared roughly the area that she went into, and we started our search there. One sweep of my flashlight, and I found the white of her hindquarters as she had expired on her side.

Some agile knife work as the rain beat on us was only interrupted with knowing smiles with how we were so blessed to locate the deer. We certainly have had much tougher efforts tracking deer and not all have been successful, but that has never stopped us. Buck or doe and regardless of size, we make the effort to find them. Thanks to all of our friends who have assisted in these efforts, too!

That’s part of the hunting brotherhood. You give back to your fellow hunters in need, which often includes sharing your harvest, and you will get back way more in exchange.

All the best to you in your hunting adventures this year!


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