Hunt High-Country Georgia Bucks At Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA

This public land in extreme northwest Georgia has some high and rugged areas.

James Fry | November 1, 2003

It was still long before daylight on that eventful morning when I settled into my climbing stand. With my safety strap cinched, my possibles bag secured to the side of the stand, and my Thomson/Center Hawkin loaded and capped — I was ready. As I looked up at the brilliant array of stars dancing through the near empty hardwood branches, I thought that perhaps this would be the day.

I had decided on a whim the night before to try a two-day primitive weapons, either-sex hunt season at Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA in Walker County. I had never deer hunted on this nearly 17,000-acre mountainous area, but my dad and I decided to try it.

We left long before daylight and were probably the first hunters of the morning to make the long, winding trek up the east side of the mountain. When we reached the top, we drove until a particular patch of hardwoods caught our eyes and we decided to hunt there.

Sandy Daniels, of Rock Spring, shot this beautiful 9-pointer on Crockford-Pigeon Mtn. WMA during a hunt in November of 1998.

By the time shooting hours arrived, the deer were already moving. I could distinctly hear several deer walking slowly through the crisp, fallen leaves. The thick patch of woods I was in prevented me from seeing them, but it was quite evident by the increasing noise that they were working their way closer. Finally, two does popped into view about 40 yards out. I immediately sighted in on the lead doe and fired. When the smoke cleared, I could tell right away that my first Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA deer had dropped on the spot, and I immediately became a fan of the WMA. If you like to hunt up high in the beautiful mountains of northwest Georgia, you need to try Crockford-Pigeon Mountain.

Sandy Daniel, a taxidermist in Rock Spring, has been hunting this WMA for many years. Over the years, heʼs fed his family a lot of venison that came from this mountain, and heʼs learned how to hunt it well. The walls of both his house and shop are adorned with fine racks taken from these rugged hills and are proof of his success. Sandyʼs favorite strategy for hunting these mountain bucks is to hunt the “tables” on the sides of the mountain.

A good portion of the land at Pigeon is the side of a mountain. While the top is wide and relatively flat, the sides of the mountain are steep and rugged in many places. But there are flat spots all over the side that can and will funnel deer. According to Sandy, “youʼre better off to go to the higher points and scout the tables. Itʼs not easy to get to the tables, because theyʼre right off the brow of the mountain.”

Find the white oaks, find the game. That’s always been a mountain hunting strategy, and Pigeon Mountain has some good stands of white oaks.

These tables, or flat areas on the sides of the mountains, are where a lot of the good deer are taken each year.

However, if youʼd rather hunt the top of the mountain, the only road open to vehicles is Rocky Lane. If you access Rocky Lane from Chamberlain Road (on the east side of the WMA near the check station), itʼs a long, slow drive up the mountain. The people that work on the area do a great job of maintaining the gravel road, but you still need to take it easy going up (or down) this mountain. Thereʼs no room for error on these steep slopes.

About the time you reach the top of the mountain, youʼll come to a fork in the road. The left fork is South Brow Road and runs out to Hood Overlook and beyond for about a mile or so. Rocky Lane continues off to the right and is the road youʼll need to take to access most of the mountaintop. A mile or so farther, another road will turn off to the right. This road runs north along the top of the mountain for a couple of miles and then ends at a couple of gated trails. These are long trails that offer access to a lot of territory as they wind around and down the mountain. Rocky Lane will then turn off to the south and stay inside the WMA for a couple of miles before the management area ends and the road leads off the mountain.

Hereʼs a pair of Pigeon Mountain bucks killed by Andy Pierce, of LaFayette. Andy often look for trails going up the mountain and follows them until he finds a flat spot.

WRD biologist Jerry Bearden told me that Pigeon Mountain WMA has a good, healthy deer herd with a population of around 35 deer per square mile. Considering the amount of rugged terrain that encompasses the area, thatʼs quite impressive. These deer have plenty of soft-mast trees along with a number of good oak trees to feed under each fall. In fact, GON had a Friends of WMAs work day there several years back and GON volunteers planted more than 300 red-oak trees.

There are also food plots to supplement the acorns during the rougher years. When I spoke with Jerry on Oct. 6, 2003, they had just finished planting nearly 60 acres in fall crops. And, as if all this wasn’t enough, former area manager Alan Padgett also told me that they manage an additional 450 acres of wildlife openings. Alan and Jerry both agreed that deer on this area are in great condition. I can see why.

Jerry told me that for some reason the peak of the rut occurs several weeks later than that of surrounding counties. This coincides with the second four-day, buck-only hunt on December 10-13 and offers hunters the chance to catch these mountain bucks when theyʼre the most vulnerable.

One of Sandy Danielʼs most memorable hunts occurred during the rut. He was hoping to get a shot at a large 6-pointer he had spotted several times over the course of two seasons. He had a good idea that the buck was still using the same area. It all finally came together for him one cold, fall morning as the big buck chased two does out in front of his stand.

Andy Pierce, of Lafayette, has also seen some exciting action on Pigeon Mountain. Andy has been hunting this area for a number of years and has taken several fine mountain bucks from there. Several years ago, he was hunting Thanksgiving morning when he heard the unmistakable sound of a deer walking through leaves. He could hear the deer coming from a good ways off and was starting to get nervous as he waited for it to make an appearance. By the time the deer finally made it up to the top of the ridge where Andy was hunting, the sun was just popping over the horizon. Silhouetted against the rising sun was a fine buck! The spectacular sight gave him a real case of buck fever, but he was able to control the shakes long enough to harvest the buck.

Andyʼs recommendation for hunting Pigeon Mountain is to look for trails going up the mountain. He said one way to find them is to look for deer trails crossing a road. When a good trail is spotted, heʼll pull off at the next safe spot and follow the trail up the mountain to see where it might lead. He has used this method many times in the past, and it has led him to some good hunting areas and several deer in his freezer.

Alan reinforced the idea of the sides of the mountain being great places to begin looking for a hunting spot. He told me that over the years, they have received the least amount of hunting pressure. A big part of that is because the terrain is quite steep in places. But itʼs about perfect for a hardy hunter who is looking to avoid the heavily-hunted locations.

A couple of other areas also deserve mentioning. On the north end of the WMA there are two seasonal roads. These roads are only open one day prior to each hunt and close right after the hunt ends. They both offer access to some fine hunting areas. Owl Hollow is one area in particular that Andy recommends.

Another good spot is Blue Hole. From Blue Hole, you have a couple of hunting choices as far as where to hunt. After driving through the dove fields, youʼll come to a fork in the road as you near the base of the mountain. The right fork is gated, but the road behind it runs for several miles as it winds its way up the mountain. It eventually runs into one of the gated roads on top mentioned earlier in this article. The left fork continues on for a short distance where it ends at the actual spring for which the area is known. From here, you can walk along the side of the mountain for a couple of miles. The border of the WMA runs south along the base of the mountain, but as long as you donʼt start veering east, thereʼs a massive amount of territory to hunt. I would recommend that you slowly angle up the mountain as youʼre working your way south. By the time you’ve traveled a good distance from the parking area, you should be pretty high up on the mountain. There are plenty of places back in there that I know are good hunting locations.

Pigeon Mountain is easy to find. From Lafayette simply head west on Highway 193 for almost three miles until you see Chamberlain Road on your left. Take Chamberlain Road for another three miles and youʼll see Rocky Lane on your right. Turn here and the check station will be one-third of a mile on the left.

Come out this month and experience some fine mountain deer hunting. If you’ve never hunted here, youʼll soon agree that Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA is a very unique and beautiful place. Its special magic has kept many hunters returning year after year. And if youʼre not careful, youʼll become one, too.


2003 Map



Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.