Georgia Rut Predictions And November Buck Strategies

Georgia Hunt Advisors report from the deer woods across the state.

GON Staff | November 1, 2021

There’s nothing better than spending time in the woods to learn the feeding, movement and rut patterns for your local deer. The next best thing is a team of experienced hunters spread out across the state who know their deer hunting and are willing to share what they’re seeing.   

Here are the reports from GON’s Hunt Advisor team on how October deer hunting has been, and also on how the woods are looking in their areas for the upcoming November rut.

Barrow County produced this big and unique-racked buck for Jake Etheridge.


Cherokee County: Tim Dangar, of Ball Ground, reports, “Well, for the most part, the acorns are on the ground. Having said that, yesterday evening while hunting in the mountains some squirrels were cutting red oak acorns out of the top of a big tree all afternoon, so we must have some more yet to fall. White oaks are not near as good as red and water oaks, but a few trees here and there have some. Anyway, it sure has helped on the supplemental feed bill.”

Emanuel “Bubba” Threlkeld, 10, of Carlton, bagged this 8-pointer in Madison County on Oct. 21 while hunting with his dad Cody.

“A few scrapes are showing up along trails mostly, but not many rubs that I can find. I went down south to a WMA senior hunt first of October, but got rained out after one day in the woods—it was that week we got about 7 inches of rain. Water oak acorns were falling good and the deer were hitting them hard. I saw three deer that one day I got to hunt but nothing I wanted to shoot. Oh well, hope for better weather next year. 

“I also went north to a WMA senior hunt, and again the weather did not go in my favor, with strong winds to the tune of 25 and 35 mile an hour gusts. But when all is said and done, anytime you can get in the woods, it’s a good day!”

Corey Hicks got this nice north Cherokee County 9-pointer the morning of Oct. 17. They had nick-named the buck “Big Boy” due to his body weight, 200 pounds plus.

“If history repeats itself, our rut should start around the 15th of November and peak Thanksgiving week. I have seen no indicators in the woods that would change my thinking on those dates.

“There are still some ripe persimmons yet to fall. While talking about deer food, I have had good response to mixing in whatever I am feeding, some crushed persimmon by Wildgame Innovations.

“I’m looking forward to hitting some of those mountian WMAs in November and December. Until next time, be safe and hunt on!”

Blake Lewallen, of Talmo, killed this buck on opening day of muzzleloader season while hunting in Jackson County. They green scored him at 145 inches.

Madison County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “Don’t want to say that things have skidded to a halt, but they have slowed a good bit as of the time of this article. This trend started in the back half of bow season. I’m not concerned about it because of the acorns that are raining out of the trees, and that high beam in the sky—full moon—at night right now. I think this has caused a temporary pattern change. 

“The bucks are still doing their thing, making scrapes and rubs everywhere. I watched a big-bodied buck opening day evening that had broken one side of his rack off. The buck rubbed every bush and small tree he walked by around the edge of a food plot. I figure he lost that side fighting, just judging by his attitude.

“There’s plenty of food, from acorns to food plots and supplements I supply for them, and the deer are very healthy because of it. Should make for a great rut. Things seem to be right on schedule as far as the rut in my area. I’ve seen some bucks annoying some does, but they are showing no interest. It’s like a broken record for me, stay close to the food sources, whether it’s sitting on them, or in transition areas between bedding and food, and that magical time will happen.”

Looks like Walton County will have a new bow-buck for the record books. Reece Balon, of Gratis, arrowed this big 10-pointer on Sept. 16.

“The rut, for the past few years, has fallen around the same time, with the best activity being between the second week of November through Thanksgiving week. I’ve got several really good bucks running around that could use at least one more year to grow if they’re lucky enough. My son and I had a great season last year, so we may have to hold off this season. 

“When the does get hot, that will be all it takes to pull a shooter or two in. I’ve got my young hunting buddy from the Outdoor Dream Foundation that I took turkey hunting coming up to hunt with me for a couple days at Thanksgiving. Hoping I can get him on a good buck while he is here. My neighbor and I have compared notes, and I’ve got bucks he has not seen, and he has got some that I’ve not seen yet. 

“November is shaping up to be outstanding, so get on your food sources, or where you can see a good distance, and be there as much as you can.”


Congrats to 10-year-old Keeyln Falanga, who got her first deer, and it was a nice 8-pointer! While waiting in the blind after the shot, her mom Nicolette also got a shot at an 8-pointer. They were hunting in Greene County.

Danny Beck, of Monroe, with his biggest buck to date, a 12-pointer that he killed in Gwinnett County while hunting with a crossbow.


Fayette & Meriwether Counties: Jeff Scurry, of Fayetteville, reports, “The cooler weather definitely has the deer moving. Food plots are coming in nice. I have seen lots of red oaks dropping this year, but they are starting to dry up in both counties. I have been setting up mock scrapes all along the edge of fields and fire breaks, and I had lots of luck seeing bucks hitting the mock scrapes as the pre-rut approaches. I have also put trail cameras at primary scrapes. These scrapes tend to be in the same spot every year. I would definitely recommend that hunters start making some mock scrapes near their hunting spot. I have also noticed the bachelor groups have split up. The mature bucks are now solo, making lots of scrapes and rubs. The cooler weather has got things in motion.

“My tip for November is as always hunt where the does are. Deer are creatures of habit. In my area I do year-round supplemental feeding, which keeps the home-range does close to the area. Hunt where the does are—you will see the bucks.”

Clay Shearouse with his super Butts County velvet buck. The buck was a main-frame 6-pointer with a big drop tine. Clay got the unique buck with his compound bow on Sept. 24.

Hancock County: Matthew Gilbert, of Loganville, reports, “With all sorts of acorns falling and food plots thriving, our deer have plenty of meals to choose from. Deer sightings have been numerous in different locations. Having such a variety of food options, it will be difficult finding that elusive mature buck to hunt. We are running cameras, doing our best to get in the woods looking for sign, and we are communicating what we are seeing. This year will be more of a team effort when it comes to killing a target buck. The team effort also includes trying to not pressure the woods too much.”

This 150-inch 12-point buck—a main-frame 10 with split G2s—was killed with a crossbow. Kurt Huntzinger, of Greensboro, had the Putnam County buck on camera for about a month and finally got a 50-yard shot on a setup between bedding and feeding areas.

“Soft mast is still available with persimmons, but other fruits are playing out. Acorns are everywhere. Finding the right pocket of white oaks has been working for regular deer sightings, and when the does get ready, the bucks should be getting careless. Keeping up with the preferred food sources is important right now. With just a short time until the rut peaks, areas near cover, with lots of deer activity, should be targeted. Funnels, with food, that are between thick areas are hot spots in the mornings. For the evening hunts, we try to find wooded staging areas with acorns that are between bedding and food plots. 

“Deer sign has shown up everywhere. Big sign-post rubs and car-hood-sized scrapes are all along food plots. That tells us the deer are wearing out the green fields after dark. We use exclusion cages to watch the consumption of different varieties we have planted. Paying attention to the results of hunting and food plotting efforts has helped us fine tune some techniques to become more efficient since our time in the woods is limited.”

Laine Bullington, 13, of Conyers, with her 8-point buck taken in Hancock County.

“With almost all the kids in the family being teenagers, times to hunt are scattered with their schedules. Life is busy-fun right now, and making sure we find time in the woods is huge. The outdoors is very valuable to our family, as it is something we will always be able to do together. Maintaining life while prioritizing family time are intentional goals, and celebrating in the woods is one way for us all to love on each other. One of these moments came during the youth week, with Laine Bullington, 13, of Conyers, killing a target buck on our land. Her 8-pointer was on the hit list, as we have been watching this buck for a few years. Chasing soccer balls and volleyballs, and all the other kid activities are memorable. With the outdoors a family effort, getting to put hands on some antlers is one we all get to have some pride in!”

Rex Marsh with his archery-season buck from McDuffie County. Rex killed the 183-lb. 8-point buck on an afternoon hunt Sept. 14.


Crisp County: Jodi Manders, of Cordele, reports, “Goodbye October! Hello November! October has surely been slow around here. We have not had much activity as far as daylight movement. The few we have seen have been late morning after 9 a.m. There are plenty of deer moving around at night, but that is hopefully about to change with the rut starting in November. It seems like the season as a whole has started off slow for other surrounding clubs, also. We know there are plenty of deer out here, we just have to wait for them to move in the daylight. 

“As far as hunting strategy during the rut phases, I think being in the right stand at the right time on those travel routes is going to be a good strategy. If the does are traveling the routes, the bucks are surely going to be following them or chasing them. 

“We have some really good looking food plots that the deer are starting to feed on, and we have a few acorns. The persimmons are still a good food source right now but are starting to phase out. There is lots of natural green browse for them to eat, also. We have some pictures of a few that look like they have been eating well, so the deer look healthy this year. 

“I hope you all have a successful November. Get in the woods and enjoy, Good luck, God bless!”

Three generations celebrated a first deer for 6-year-old Canon Law. Also pictured are dad Chad and grandpa George Law.

Early County: Sam Klement has hunted his tract referred to as the Hooch for 25 years. “We are seeing plenty of fresh buck sign starting to show up,” Sam said. “I love this time of the year—rubs and scrapes popping up everywhere! Acorns are dropping, plots are planted, and most of the farmers have harvested their peanuts. It’s starting to feel like fall!”

This is a Week 5 Truck-Buck and Youth Big Contest entry. Blair Bennett, 13, of Blakely, with her Early County 10-pointer buck.

“One of my neighbor’s college-age daughters shot a super 130-class 8-point earlier this week that was following a group of does on an evening hunt. Our scouting cameras are showing us more and more daytime movements of mature deer. Typically our deer—depending on cooler temps —will start chasing around the week of Thanksgiving and then the chasing will wax and wane through early to mid December. 

“One tactic I always use during this time of year is tying my antlers on a pull rope and letting them lay on the ground beneath my stand. I love getting in stands near the thickest spots on my farms, and as the sun starts to set—prime time—I’ll lightly pick up the horns and let them lightly rattle and tickle, sounding like some smaller bucks sparing. If there’s a buck within ear shot, he’ll generally come in to investigate. In addition to this light rattling sequence, I like to spray a few mists of Voodoo around my stand. I’ve been using this product for years with great success as both a cover scent and curiosity lure. 

“This is the time of the year I’ll start hunting longer and putting more hours in on stand time. Be safe out there, and good luck to my fellow southwest Georgia hunters… Huntin is Good!”

The first drive of the season on Oct. 16 paid off for former GON editor Roy Kellet. Roy killed the 10-point buck on a dog-hunting club in Liberty County.

Harris County: Jimmy Harper, of Hamilton, reports, “I hope you’re reading this from your deer stand, because it’s now early November and we’re in what I consider to be the best period of the entire season to kill a mature buck in Harris County—the cruising/seeking phase of the whitetail rut! If I had to pick one week to deer hunt this year, especially during this high-movement period, it would be Nov. 4-10. And within that one week, my favorite day to be in a stand would center specifically around Nov. 7, assuming the weather is not too warm to hinder daylight deer movement at that time. 

“As far as what types of areas I prefer to hunt during the month of November, I’ll spend the majority of my time hunting buck travel corridors, primarily thick creek drainages, but also edges of varying habitat types, especially during the morning hours. In the afternoons, I’ll focus primarily on doe feeding areas—any oaks that are currently dropping acorns, as well as remote, lightly-hunted food plots. For midday sits, I like to key in on the edges of known doe bedding areas, being careful not to push these ‘live decoys’ out of the areas where they feel comfortable and secure. But I still hunt close enough to catch any bucks scent-checking the does from downwind as they cruise by. 

“We’ve had an unusual weather pattern so far this fall in Harris County, resulting in deer feeding areas and corresponding movement being very dispersed and difficult to pinpoint. For starters, we have very few acorns on the ground on the three Harris County properties where I hunt. White oak acorns are very sparse this year, and the red oaks dropped their acorns early. Normally, this would push the deer into our food plots to feed, but we got a late start planting most of those this year. September, which is usually a dry month in Harris County, was unusually wet this year. And then October, usually a month with ample rainfall, was extremely dry. All of this resulted in us just recently getting our food plots in the ground. They should still be great for late-season hunting, but that won’t help us or our deer herd this November. 

“Because of that, we’ve been spending a lot of our time and effort hunting natural browse in clearcuts, as well as under groves of red oak trees where edible acorns are still on the ground. That’s exactly what the newest member of our Flatrock Hunting Club, Lucas Law, did on the second morning of gun season, Oct. 17. Lucas climbed into a double ladder stand well before daylight with my youngest son, Jake, along as his guide and cameraman. Then, shortly after sunrise on a morning when the temperature was 15 degrees cooler than just 24 hours prior, Lucas killed his first deer, a beautiful 4 1/2-year-old, 199-lb., 123-inch, 10-point buck, as the deer got up out of his bed to eat red oak acorns in a thick hardwood creek bottom.

“While Lucas had a great start to his season, it’s been only an average deer hunting season thus far on the Harris County properties where I hunt. Deer movement, and especially mature buck activity, was very slow through October. Of course, we all know the hunting will only get better this month, especially if you can get in your deer stand right after a cold front moves through and drops the temperature 10 to 15 degrees! So hunt hard, hunt safe, and, most importantly, have fun and make some memories with your family and friends that will last a lifetime!”

Twiggs County: Richie Green, of Jeffersonville, reports, “Well, we finally got to see our breath this year on opening day of gun season, but it sure was a lot quieter in Twiggs County this year. Last year there were 127 shots opening morning. This year I only heard three. Of course last year people were in the woods because that’s about the only place they could be. Maybe this year the deer were quarantined, but the weather was welcome even though it won’t last.”

Caleb Stokes with his Wilkinson County 9-point buck that weighed 175 pounds.

“I put a camera out on a place where they always paw, and on the 28th of September it was like a switch got flipped. Three bucks started tearing up the ground and stayed there for a week, but it was all at night. I’m seeing some chasing on camera by the small guys, but the big guys know the deal. The trick is to keep the does happy so they will stay around and bring the bigs ones to us. I’m banking on my food plots to help keep them around because they sure do look good this year.

“The rut kicks in around my house the week of Halloween, but you can go 10 miles down the road and it’s the second week of November. But the main thing is that you have to be in the woods to kill ’em. I’ve been seeing deer at 11:30 till 1 on a lot of days and 3:30 in the evenings. It’s mainly does and babies, but I just like seeing deer.

“The acorns are hitting the ground here, and the deer are leaving the feeders to get them, so if you have acorns any stick with them.

My cousin Kaleb Stokes got a nice one opening day of gun season in Toomsboro. He said he shot at a doe and got down to see if he hit it and jumped a nice buck. He went back and got in the stand and another buck came out. A nice 9-point for his first-ever opening day buck.”

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  1. kimbrel31 on November 30, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Charles Alsheimer not Alzheimer spell check lol

  2. kimbrel31 on November 30, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    This is a little late but Charles Alzheimer’s work is interesting. He said second full moon after autumnal equinox triggers does estrous levels. I think he mentioned 3 types of rut. A classic rut,a synchronized rut, and a trickle rut. He knew he was onto something and turned down a lot of money to publish it. He worked with a biologist but I think a lot of them didn’t like him. I like his theory because it explains why some years people say the rut is weird this year. It also explains why I have seen mature bucks running small does hard at first of November on certain years. I wish I had wrote the years down to compare to his theory. Maybe someone will study his work more. He passed away.

  3. Ken Simpson on November 5, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Bucks are definitely in rut in north Cherokee, south Pickens. I’ve seen two buck chasing does in less than 24 hours. One buck came home with me.

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