Food Source Updates For Georgia’s 2022 Archery Deer Season

GON’s Hunt Advisor Team offers timely reports from the deer woods.

GON Staff | August 29, 2022

The persimmons in Crisp County are showing some color. Hunt Advisor Jodi Manders said they have some stands set up on travel routes leading to the persimmons, which are known as “deer candy.”

The glorious season is upon us. It is time to hunt! 

While the primary purpose for many of us is to put fresh, all-natural meat on the grill and stock the freezer, please remember that hunting is fun. Get out there as often as possible and take advantage of something that makes our country unique—abundant wild game and a society that—at least for now—allows us the freedom to hunt and put up meat without a visit to a grocery store. Don’t take it for granted! 

GON’s valuable team of Hunt Advisors are back with their timely, local and informative info from the deer woods. 

Here’s your statewide scouting report for the archery season opener. 


Cherokee County: Tim Dangar, of Ball Ground, reports, “As I just turned 72 on Aug. 19, I was thinking about how the excitement of hunting season is still a big deal! We have come a long ways in technology, as far as scouting, but in my mind there is nothing like getting in the woods and seeing for yourself. We have a great soft mast this year. We are seeing deer under apple and pear trees just about every day. The other hot food source right now is kudzu. We have had good rain which has produced new tender growth, and the deer are loving it. 

“A food that will come into play mid to late September is persimmon. The trees are hanging full, and they are just now showing a little color. We have an abundance of deer here in north Cherokee, and the herd is looking very healthy. I try to pay close attention to the health of the spotted fawns because it will give you a general sense of the health of the herd.”

Tim Dangar reports persimmon trees in Cherokee County that are so loaded with fruit the limbs are straining.

“Hope everyone is getting bows tuned in because you never know when that 130+ class buck will give you a shot, or good fat doe. We indeed have a lot to be thankful for, and the excitement of another season and health to enjoy it are high on my list! God bless til next time.”

Elbert County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “I just got permission to hunt this property in mid-August, so it’s going to be a learning season. I’m very excited about it though, as it has not been hunted in four years. I only asked about turkey hunting and lucked into deer also. The property is nothing but big mature hardwoods with a swamp bottom that borders the Broad River. I have found some muscadines, but they are already falling and will probably be gone by the time the season rolls around. The landowner only asks that I don’t bait because of hogs, and I will respect her wishes.

“I don’t expect the action to ramp up until later in bow, and it should be awesome come gun season when all those big white oaks start dropping. I’m hoping with the lack of hunting pressure on it in recent years that there will be some bucks running around in there, and some sporting great hardware on their heads.”

Fulton County: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “I’ve always found that my cameras have more activity about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. than you would expect. That pattern goes away by late September. If you can deal with the heat and the cameras are indicating this for you, give this midday pattern a try. Watch the cameras and hunt according to that pattern because you will have a couple of weeks of predictable bucks. My key has always been to hunt them on a hot food source as close as you can get away with and play the wind. Good luck, there are lots of bruisers in the little bit of woods left. 

“I’ve lost a couple of our suburban Fulton County spots, but we will get a few quotes each month from several buddies who hunt north Fulton. 

“Justin Mizell had this to say. ‘Muscadine vines are a great good source to focus on early season. The kudzu patches are still green and plentiful in many parts of Fulton County, as well. The deer appear to be more brazen and relatively unafraid of human interaction in the suburban areas. I’ve been seeing a lot of midday feeding by mature bucks, as well as does. The deer are starting to shed their summer coats, but I haven’t seen any bucks that have shed their velvet.’

Dave Wagner told me, ‘Given the small tracts available to me with suburban bowhunting, corn is still the go-to for the primary attractant for drawing the deer to my area. The bucks are in their bachelor groups and have been consistently nocturnal, however, they have been showing up closer to shooting light in the mornings recently.’

Chris Ketchum said, ‘I’d say hunt afternoons as often as you can first of the season. I’ve got very recognizable bachelor groups on trail cam, and they typically show up within the last two hours of daylight. Not much activity from the bucks in mornings right now. This is pretty much the same pattern year to year.’”

Jackson County: Michael Williams, of Commerce, reports, “As I type this, we are exactly 20 days out from bow season opener and excitement is an understatement. Spent several days in the woods with my 6-year-old chasing bushytails following squirrel season opener on Aug. 15, which for me is the ‘Official/Unofficial’ open to the fall hunting season, even though it’s 98 degrees with 100% humidity UGHH! Scouted around on three properties we hunt in the Jackson County area, and as of right now it’s looking to shape up into a very thrilling deer season.

“Deer are heavily browsing on leafy greens and fruit-producing plants such as privet, kudzu, American beautyberry (if you have it), fig and muscadine. Any new growth trees such as tulip poplars are being munched on occasionally, as well. From what I can see so far in my area, if you have a persimmon tree the branches are probably laid almost flat. Every persimmon I have walked up on is completely covered. Definitely set a camera or stand up if you can.

“If you’re near any agriculture, I’d expect to see deer in the fields anywhere from an hour before sun up till after dark on in through the night when it’s the coolest.

“If you’re planning on planting any fall food plots DO IT NOW! Based on local weather reports, we’re going to continue seeing patterns of precipitation on in through the opener, which is good news for anyone wanting to plant and not having to stress delayed germination or possible drought.’

“Water as always is a key component during these ‘Dog Days.’ I personally run several cameras on water sources and get an abundance of images and video helping paint a picture of the status of the local deer herd.

“Glassed the treetops gathering intel on the acorn crop, and I saw several red oaks loaded, water oaks look to be about the same, as well. White oaks on the properties I hunt are in between. Some are showing a big heavy crop and some look thin. If you have sawtooth oaks, you should see a huge abundance of acorns—mine are busting at the seams. They are a non-native oak species, but they will produce a very nice crop that wildlife, especially deer, will browse on. All in all, as always, I think the mast crop will be a target area for deer as we get closer into the fall and acorns start falling.

“For the most part the bucks are following their typical summer pattern of bachelor groups which makes for fun trail-camera card pulls collecting all the intel you can on which is a mature target buck or just overall status of the herd in general. For me, this is the best time of the year to gather as much information as you can on what’s going on in the timber because the deer are a little bit more forgiving of our intrusiveness. Get your stands hung, shooting lanes trimmed, be observant to all early season food sources you have available and make a mental or physical note. Soon bucks will start shedding velvet and it will be on to the races, and hopefully the beginning to a great and bountiful season to all Georgia hunters.”

Madison County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “Man it seems like deer season comes around faster and faster the older I get. I don’t know how things are going to play out this season in my home grounds. The numbers are great, with a ton of fawns in the woods, but the quality of the bucks is non-existent so far on my property. I’ve been feeding all summer with protein and corn mixture, and they’ve been wearing it out, but I haven’t seen what I consider a mature buck yet. I’m not going to let this worry me, because the buck I took mid-November last year, I never had the first picture of him.

“The muscadines and persimmons are abundant, with the grapes already starting to fall. Acorn crop is also looking good, with the water oaks absolutely loaded, and the white and red oaks having plenty of nuts on them. 

“Early season strategy is pretty cut and dry. Find a good food source with water nearby, and you should be set. Bucks should be still in bachelor groups, and in their summer patterns, so it should make for some great stand time. Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable season.”

Rabun County: Tim Dangar, of Ball Ground, reports, “I took my annual mountain hike/scouting trip on Monday, Aug. 15, the opening day of squirrel season. It was overcast and there was a good breeze, which was a blessing for the 7-mile trip. Rabun County has the highest rainfall measurements of any county in the state. The green lush canopy of the trees made it hard to see the acorns in the tops. However, the red oaks are big enough to see, and they are good from mid-way to the top of the trees. Above 2,500 feet is where I observed the most nuts.

“The browse along abandoned roads and trails is getting a lot of attention now. The recent rain and wind had blown some red oak acorns off, and the hog and bear sign was heavy in this area. I walked up on three hogs that were rooting and feeding on some of these green acorns already. To all my fellow mountain hunters, please shoot at least one hog and bear this year. If you get in some of these remote places, you will definitely see that things are getting out of control when it comes to the hog and bear populations.”

A scouting trip to the Rabun County mountains on Aug. 15 didn’t just produce hog sign, but a picture of the culprits! Hunt Advisor Tim Dangar walked up on these hogs that were feeding on green acorns knocked to the ground by a storm.

“I love our north Georgia mountains and hope we will soon see the deer numbers once again return to what we enjoyed in the 70s and early 80s.”

Tim said the red oaks look good, particularly in areas above 2,500 feet.


Fayette & Meriwether Counties: Jeff Scurry, of Fayetteville, reports, “Deer numbers are up some this year from last. I have seen lots of fawns this year in both Fayette and Meriwether. I saw a few late fawns born two weeks ago, which shows high doe numbers, especially in Fayette County. I have also noticed a few does that have at least two fawns this year, more than I have seen in the past. We have done major predator control last year and this spring, which I think has helped with fawn survival rates.

“Lots of persimmons this year, and with the rain past few weeks our spring food plots are getting the deer through the summer. And we are also using supplemental feeding for added nutrition. Trail-camera surveys in my area have also shown an increase in deer numbers, so 2022 looks promising.

“Good luck to everyone.”

Jasper County: Tim Zech reports, “Jasper County summer rains have created a smorgasbord for soft mast this deer season. Deer are already on them, and the fruit load looks like it should run into the opening day of deer season.  Several does and one nice buck have been seen on the larger persimmon trees that have just started dropping. Many are still green but ripening fast. The muscadine crop is as good as I can ever remember.  I have been seeing ripe muscadines since August 10th and lots of green ones filling out and turning now. Our Shady Dale property has had a bumper crop of pears, as well. We pulled some for canning pear preserves, but there were more on one tree than it has had in the last two years combined.

Muscadines in Jasper County are a mix of ripe grapes and green ones, a great sign for opening weekend bowhunters looking for a prime food source.

“The bucks are still in bachelor parties as one would expect. A buddy did show me a picture of his first hard-horned deer on Aug. 20. This is was in Walton County just north of us. Jasper county is very predictable for August 30 – September 5th for shedding and I expect that will happen this next week.

“Good luck to everyone on opening day! I hope you can connect with your first deer on the early food sources and before they shift patterns with their rising testosterone levels—that triggers shedding velvet—in preparation for the upcoming breeding season.

Monroe County: Greg Grimes reports, “I’m not sure I ever recall this many muscadines, and they appear to be dropping already. That should be a strong focus when trying to pinpoint an opening-day archery shot. Maybe it’s just me, but I have never been one to tell (even with binoculars) if there is a strong or weak acorn crop. We will just judge the best place to hunt by looking at tracks, trails and droppings a day before our hunt. 

“We have mostly open hardwoods with one large food plot. We have spent most of the off-season creating several openings, with many we plan to let it grow up in thicker bedding cover. 

“With involvement in kids’ cross country and an elk hunt this month, our management efforts are focused on having awesome November and December hunts. Limited hunts the next two months should mean low-pressure deer, so if we hunt low-key, we might maximize our few chances. 

“I wish you all well in this early summer pattern, just don’t forget the ThermaCell.”

Putnam County: Dwayne Britt, of Bishop, reports, “Fruit-bearing trees look great this year. Muscadines are everywhere and will likely hang on up into the first couple weeks into the season. Persimmons are hit or miss, but the trees that seem to be bearing are loaded, but they likely not going to fall until gun season. Looks to be another good year on water, red and white oak acorns, and some of the white oaks are loaded. We are looking to plant food plots middle of September, so hunting plots will be later into bow season.

“Trying a different approach to bowhunting this year. I’m guilty of setting cameras up in July and corning them up into the season. I still do it the old way and pull cards, and the big deer are still shy around feeders, so I still throw some of the corn out. I have a few locations that always have a big buck hanging around up to and sometimes into the first week or two of bow season before they move nocturnal or change from their summer pattern. I may cheat a little and put corn out a few days before the season opens, or if the acorns are starting to fall, I’ll save a bunch of money and hunt the acorns. I’m making one trip the weekend before opening day, hopefully during or right before it rains. I prepped the areas with clearing lanes, trails and checking my stands several weeks prior. Hopefully it all pays off this year if I can stand the heat and mosquitos.  

“Watch out for rattlesnakes. I had a big one with 13 buttons hidden in the brush near me just recently. Also, check those stands and straps. Good luck and God Bless.” 

Walton County: Xane Bennett, of Monroe, reports, “This season I have implemented more food plots in thicker cover due to the transition zones on these particular property layouts. Clover and rye grass really seems to do well for me in these shady areas even throughout the winter. 

“I am intrigued by the amount of does spotted early on. I have seen an abundance of them in herds on some of my open field plots. The fawns seem to be thriving this season, as well. I have seen a lot even while driving around the county. 

“As bow season is gearing up, I will be heavily focusing my time on transition zones in the late evening. Action on my trail cameras seems to pick up around 5 p.m. or so. The early mornings aren’t bad, but most of the bucks seem to be in bedding areas before sunrise in my case. I would genuinely recommend not burning out permanent stands during early bow season just because of the lack of movement from bucks this time of year. Switching around a location consistently in a saddle or climber would benefit your odds come pre-rut. It only takes one doe hearing you step on a branch to ruin a location for a couple days if not longer. Locating and really paying attention to how and where these deer move will give you a huge advantage to stage yourself down the road for success. 

“Excited to see what comes of the hard work put into the properties over the summer. I seem to enjoy each drop of sweat and each tick pried of my body more and more each year. Regardless of anything, enjoy the memories and the lessons learned. Have a great season everyone, God Bless.” 


Crisp County: Jodi Manders, of Cordele, reports, “I hope everyone is ready for opening day, or at least getting ready. We are off to a slow start, and so are the deer. We have mowed all the grass fields a few times throughout the summer, so now we will be trying to get the food plot areas harrowed and ready for planting. We do have a few bow stand spots planted with peas and clover. Hoping the deer will come to those young and tender plants come opening day. 

“Our deer herd looks slim as of right now according to trail cameras, but hopefully they are just camera shy and the action will pick up.

“We have a few pictures of fawns, so that’s good to see. They have a few weeks of age on them now, so they should be able to escape any predators.”

Acorns are scarce on Jodi Manders’ Crisp County property, but they found at least some that are looking good for later in the fall this hunting season.

“There are a few persimmons that are starting to ripen up, so we have a few bow stands that are set up on travel routes going to them and a couple stands set on early food plots. The deer are sure to move through those areas. I also found a few acorns, which are scarce on our property. The deer will surely be frequenting those when they are ready.

“Hope you all have a great season. Hunt safe and God Bless!”

Harris County: Jimmy Harper, of Hamilton, reports, “With archery season about to kick off in Georgia, stick-and-string hunters in Harris County will have plenty of choices of where to hang their stands this year. Our area of the state has received more than adequate rainfall over the last several weeks, so both warm-season food plots and natural deer browse are in great shape going into the season. Food plot edges, as well as travel corridors to them and staging areas near them, are usually good early season stand locations for afternoon hunts. 

“Ripe muscadines have been dropping since the third week of August, so deer should be hitting them on a regular afternoon pattern if you have enough wild grapes in a small area to draw and concentrate them. Additionally, there are still plenty of green muscadines remaining on the vines, so this pattern should be good until later in September. And if we continue to get dependable rainfall, we’ll also go ahead and get our cool-season food plots in the grounds, and these will possibly be drawing deer in by the end of this month. 

“As far as hard and soft mast is concerned, persimmons are looking good, and these should be ripening and falling the latter part of archery season. So, if you have persimmon trees on your property, my suggestion is to keep a close eye on the status of their fruit, because it will really draw the deer—but only for a short period of time—when it starts hitting the ground. You’ll need to be ready to hunt persimmons quickly when they’re ripe.

“The acorn crop in Harris County appears to have been knocked back somewhat by the late freeze we had this past spring. The white oak acorn crop wasn’t completely lost, but it does look like it will be less than normal this season. Since they take two years to develop, we should still have a good crop of red oak acorns this year, but our red oak acorn drop next year will likely be impacted. Water oak acorns always seem to produce no matter what the weather is, but even their numbers seem to be below normal levels this year. Still, as deer season goes on, in-season scouting should reveal areas that have enough acorns to pull the deer in, and our hunting is usually better anyway during years when we don’t have bumper crops of acorns.    

“Our trail cameras are producing pictures of a fairly healthy deer herd on the three properties where we hunt in Harris County. However, we are starting to have some concerns, even as we continue to plant food plots, provide year-round supplemental feed, etc. We have pictures of some bucks that shed their velvet as early as mid-August this year. We have a picture of a 4 1/2-year-old buck that not only shed his velvet but also shed both of his antlers! 

“We have too many pictures of coyotes and too few pictures of fawns. And, for the first time ever on a large property where we’ve set a 120-inch minimum gross score for a buck to be harvested, we’ve yet to identify a single buck that meets this criteria to put on our Hit List. This may change as bachelor groups break up and bucks disperse, but this is not a good situation to have with archery season beginning. We’ll see how this plays out as the season progresses, but we’ll definitely be hoping it’s an aberration and not something that becomes a trend on our Harris County deer hunting properties.”

Macon County: David Keene, of Oglethorpe, reports, “We still have some wild scuppernongs that the deer are  still hitting. The recent rains have the honeysuckle growing well. We are going to have a fair persimmon crop for later in the archery season. We do not have any food plots planted yet but will soon. My neighbor clear-cut around 400 acres that bounds against my property, and I am seeing a lot of new bucks. If I can keep them on my property, it may be a very good season. Good luck and stay safe.”

Twiggs County: Richie Green, of Jeffersonville, reports, “The Outdoor Blast always gets me fired up for the new season, and this year was on point. Great Shoot-Out and show. Just wish I was one of the lucky ones to get in the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out but don’t know if my nerves could take it.

“Just got through planting my plots today the 17th of August. I know that’s late, but I’ve lost too much money with summer plots to ever do it again. The rain just can’t be promised, so I wait till August or September when there’s a chance of rain like this week. And it’s raining right now 10 minutes after I finished planting. Looks like the water oaks are doing what water oaks do, making more acorns than the deer can eat, but the whites are spotty here, and the grapes are nowhere that I can see. The late frost might have hurt mine.

“I joined a new club this year and am excited to see new land for a change, so I’m going to be concentrating on it for opening day. I’ve got a stand on a creek trail headed to some water oaks, so I’ll be there on the 10th if the Lord’s willing.

“I have a camera there that’s got plenty of meat crossing it, so if I can get one in the freezer there, I can relax, because I’m about out of the canned meat I do. The way things are going in Washington, I’m gonna stock up for at least three years, if you know what I mean.

“I’ve been seeing more deer in the fields this year than I have in a while, so I’m saying the herd is good. Thing is they’ve been there between 12 noon and 3 o’clock with it bumping 100 degrees. Better have plenty of spray with you for that.

“I want to send up a prayer for all the people that read GON and the people who put it together to have a safe and wonderful hunting season, and for T-Bone for not letting anything slow his passion for the outdoors down. We love you in J’ville, Bone. 

“Good luck everyone and welcome to hunting season—the best part of living in a free country.”

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