Hunt Advisor Reports For December Deer

GON Staff | December 4, 2018

Members of our Hunt Advisor team saw a wide range of rutting activity, from “best rut ever,” to sporadic and spread out action, to non-existent chasing during the daylight. Whether hunters see the action or not, one thing’s for sure—there’s a rut every season, and bucks are going to get with does.

In addition to recaps on November action from across the state, this month our Hunt Advisors give some great tips and techniques for putting a December buck in your sights.


Cherokee County: Tim Dangar, of Ball Ground, said, “Well friends, before we get to a hunting report, let me tell you a story. In early October, I went for normal six-month doctor visit. All blood work normal, everything good. While there, I told my doctor I may not have the energy level I once had. She suggested I go for a ‘Know Your Heart’ test, which included a CT scan of the coronary arteries. I did that on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The next day I was

This impressive Franklin County 11-point buck was killed by Macon Clark, of Hartwell.

up a tree on Dawson Forest WMA first hunt. The morning was beautiful, but no deer and no shots. On a side note, the deer population has been going down for a while on Dawson Forest, a story for another time. So, about 11:30 a.m. I was thinking about getting down when I received a phone call. It was the nurse from the ‘Know Your Heart’ test the day before. She said the CT scan showed a large amount of calcium in my coronary arteries and suggested I see a cardiologist as soon as possible. I told her I was 25 feet up a tree and had about a mile walk out, is that a problem? She said, ‘Well, I hope not.’ I came down, took the stand off the tree, and made it out to the Jeep with no problem. On Nov. 5, I underwent open-heart surgery to correct three 100 percent blocked arteries and one 99 percent blocked artery. GOD IS GOOD! Tomorrow will be

This Cherokee County bow-buck taken Oct. 27 was extra special for Jake Booker, of Woodstock. “My grandpa and I watched him on the trail cam last year and early this season. Unfortunately, we lost him on Aug. 4 to Parkinson’s disease, and I know he would be proud of this one.”

three weeks post surgery, and the body is healing amazingly well. It’s amazing what happens when you get normal blood flowing again! So, as far as a hunting report, I did talk my wife into riding me around a few times to check green fields late evenings. The deer are really hitting the fields hard right now. We would see anywhere from 20 to 25 deer each trip. As far as the rut, I haven’t heard much from my buds in the way of a hard rut. A friend of mine, Chase Jordan, was blessed to take a 130-class 8-pointer on Thanksgiving morning close to me here in Cherokee County. 

“With the progress I am making with my walks, who knows, I may have a little more to report for the January wrap-up. Hey, if you have coronary artery disease in your family history, please go for the ‘Know Your Heart’ check up. It could save your life. Until next time, hope all is well, God bless.”

Gilmer County: Larry Fox, of Ellijay reports, “I can tell you for sure that the acorn crop is limited. There are a few red oak acorns, but white oak acorns are few and far between in the Gilmer County area. My son took a 5-point on Rich Mountain WMA. He told me his was the largest checked out so far. He said not that it was real big, about 120 pounds, but all that were checked out were young deer. They also had one bear and one hog. I hope and pray that all you folks and your family are in good health both physically and spiritually, and had a great Thanksgiving!”

Here’s a giant from northeast Georgia. Nic Fowler’s Hart County 10-point should net in the high 160s—or better—and will be the No. 2 buck ever from Hart. Read the hunt story here.

Madison County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “After a very promising start to the season, November turned out to be somewhat slow and disappointing. Rut action slowed down, and deer sightings fell off. After taking a buck in late October, I’ve only seen some young bucks and three decent bucks that I hope can make it through the season. The buck sign was pretty much nonexistent after bow and early gun season. They made a lot of scrapes and would never return to them. Doe numbers are down, and from the shooting and talk I’ve heard, they have been hammered all around me this year. I would think the new baiting laws have a lot to do with that. 

“I put a good deer in freezer, and that’s about all I ever do, but I would like to take one more for jerky and summer sausage, so I will keep going out and try to catch a late season good buck either hungry for food or love. The natural foods are pretty much gone. I think that’s one thing that hurt this year, very few acorns, and they were gone very early, so I will be sitting on bait the rest of the season.”

North Fulton: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “The bucks in the metro area had a typical rut in that it was hit or miss, depending if you were in the right spot for a hot doe to come through. Some buddies never saw a single mature buck chase scene with many days in stand. We have had a couple of great hunts with lots of deer, but no bucks 4 1/2 and older. 

“The rut continues in north Fulton into December. With sprawling linear travel corridors, the bucks have access to plenty of unbred does in December and even January some years. Also, with baiting we are starting to see some patterns emerge. Mature bucks don’t like feeders, but a smaller amount of the right attractant in the right place close to thick cover might give you the shot opportunity. 

This typical-framed 15-pointer could net as high as the mid 170s. Dylan Wylie, of Carrollton, arrowed the south Fulton County bow-buck. More pictures and the full story here.

“Since Lee Ellis and the other crew at Seek One Productions spend as much time and effort as any bowhunters in the north metro, I asked Lee his opinion. ‘This year has been a weird year for us,’ Lee said. ‘I haven’t really seen the hard chasing like I normally see. I have seen younger bucks pushing and chasing, but something just seems off. I think there will be some does that come back into heat in the coming weeks, so I am still trying to stay around as many does as I can. I think the deer will start to transition to their thicker areas of privet or whatever good cover they have. With the leaves dropping, I think they like to pull tighter to those areas where they feel safe. We have had some good deer on camera but no luck yet. With the baiting bill being passed, this year has had a learning curve for us. Some bucks like it, some don’t. Just depends on that particular buck’s personality. Seems like the really mature deer avoid it. I have had better hunts not around bait, just hunting the natural food. I think when deer are coming to bait they are naturally on higher alert. They know it’s not natural. Try moving stands higher and make sure to have plenty of cover.’

“We love hunting the burbs, but it’s a grind. We in north Fulton still have a full two months to bowhunt. Stay after it, and go when the weather and wind is right.”


Andy Stephens, of Dearing, with his Warren County 10-pointer killed Nov. 27. The buck grossed just under 140 total inches.

Columbia County: Dylan Hankal, of Appling, reports, “So far this season has been a different one in middle Georgia. There seemed to be a lot of pre-rut action in the beginning of October, but the action died off, and we didn’t see any sign of the rut until Thanksgiving week. 

“I suspect the peak of the rut will either be the week after Thanksgiving or the next week. It has been very different from years past where we would hunt hardwoods during the rut; however, the acorns are already gone so that leaves us with our food plots. Most of the activity has been in the food plots, but back in the thick pines—the thick cover. That being said, we are hunting in or around the pines at this time. As far as December hunting goes, it will likely be the exact same approach.”

Carrie Pitts was with Hunt Advisor Randy Kee in Crawford County on Nov. 3 when she killed her first buck. This was the 10th buck she saw that evening. The 8-pointer had an 18-inch spread and weighed 190 pounds.

Crawford County: Randy Kee, of Williamson, reports, “What a fantastic November in Crawford County! To date, 2018 has been the best rut I have ever witnessed. It was a very defined rut, beginning just a couple of days before Halloween and lasting until the 11th of November. The amount of chasing was unbelievable. For two solid weeks, the bucks were on their feet, and the does couldn’t run fast enough. From Nov. 3 until the 11th was the peak chasing in our area. After the 11th, the rain set in, and that shut it down. By the middle of the month, the does began showing up with their fawns once again and no suitors in pursuit. The rut really died quickly after the middle of November this year.

“On our property, we have some new clearcuts that were cut back in the spring, and those deer have been all over them. I will focus on these in December, as they appear to be the main food source in the area. The small amount of acorns this year fell early and are gone now for the most part. Green fields and food plots will be a great food source to hunt as we move toward the end of season. Try to locate your major food source that’s nearest to the bedding areas. As winter approaches, the deer will be focused on feeding and conserving energy. You can find that buck laid up in a thick, overlooked area with food nearby. If you are running a feeder, try setting it up on the edge of some good bedding cover. You never know what may show up!”

The taxidermist counted 20 total points on this Fayette County buck killed by William McBurnett on Nov. 8.

Fayette County: Shane McMonigle, aka “rutnbuk” on the GON Forum, reports, “Folks, what a month of hunting we just had! The pages of GON are full of great deer, and so are the coolers. Many local coolers in the surrounding areas of my county are working tirelessly to avoid filling up. Deer were on the move and, at presstime, still moving. This year seemed to be a classic rut with mid-November really being the peak. Usually, I have better luck the week after Halloween, but this year it seemed to crank up a little later. I saw pushing and rutting activity from the first week of November all the way to Thanksgiving. My neighbor “Big Dave” got a nice buck the day before Thanksgiving, and it was two minutes behind a doe. I have noticed some of the does starting to bunch up now, as well. 

“For a December strategy, there is little doubt the new baiting opportunities will play a role in success as natural food sources thin out. As for a second rut phase, mid-December would be my best bet based on what I have seen this past month. However, as I have stated before, there are so many does in my county of varying ages that I am not sure if it really even ends until February. 

“I can’t remember a November in recent times that so many folks, from the first-time hunter to seasoned hunters alike, have had this much success in seeing and harvesting deer. Don’t give up on December. The woods are still full of deer, so get out there. Good luck, and God bless!”

Hancock County: Matthew Gilbert, of Loganville, reports, “To this point, our season has been reasonably successful and relative to what we expected. Early on, the deer hung up in the oaks and cutovers during daylight. This changed quickly as the acorns played out and the deer began looking at different food sources. Our food plots are well below average due to the lack of rain for so long. They are using the food plots, but we are somewhat worried about their winter productivity to keep our deer healthy through the winter months. We will be putting out a few exclusion cages to watch what happens with them, although right now, they are eaten down to the dirt.

“So far this season has been very successful with numbers of deer seen, but the old wary bucks have been pretty elusive. The rutting activity seems spread out and not very concentrated. We began seeing the better chasing around Nov. 10. This seems to be consistent for our area, although this year’s chasing seemed more spread out than we expected. 

Lila Grace Bullington, 8, with her first deer, a 197-lb. 8-pointer. The experience was shared with her dad, both granddads, cousins and a sister. The deer was killed when hunting with her dad in an oak flat as the buck was cruising through.

“Recently, the food plot activity has picked up. We are seeing most of our deer coming and going to food plots, and also in the food plots. The better chance at a good buck will be backing off these food plots and catching him on the way to one in the afternoon, or catching him on the way to bed in the mornings. We have learned how some stands are major producers in the mornings, with others in the evenings. And, it’s key to really protect certain food plots to keep this activity consistent.

“With the success we have had, the kids have had a blast! This is a priority for our property. Three hunters have killed their first deer so far this fall, and the smiles we are getting from them show they are making forever memories. We have had so much fun this fall with the numbers of kids hunting, visiting with our neighbors and eating exceptionally well. Even though everyone wants to kill a wall hanger, the experiences we are having are more fulfilling as we are getting to share them and joy they bring with others.”

Laurens County: Tim Knight, of Dublin, reports, “The rut in Laurens County has been sporadic at best, but lots of big bucks were taken in Laurens and surrounding counties. We have been super busy at the taxidermy shop. The acorn crop for Laurens that was damaged by Hurricane Michael is all but gone. Late-season hunts on food plots or in and around thickets are your best bet. I love hunting late season because the thickets are opening up some, and the deer are seeking thickets to hide. The acorn flats that had mast are now devoid of sign. Knowing the types of browse the deer use on your property is a must this time of year. The secondary rut and young does coming into estrous for their first cycle is close for middle Georgia. Does will cycle every 28 to 30 days until bred. Look for scrapes to open back up near thick bedding areas. Afternoon hunts are my go-to for late season. Try to slip in downwind and as close as you dare to known bedding areas. One of my favorite tactics is to do soft turkey yelps and take a few steps at a time as I slip to my stand location and slip up a quiet tree to hunt. Avoid trees like pine or shag bark hickory. 

GON member Keith Smith, of Gainesville, killed this Wilkes County 13-pointer that was chasing does on Nov. 4.

“Over Thanksgiving I have seen five different bucks slipping out of thick cover to start their evening prowl. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before a shooter shows up. And one last note I thought was interesting. A trophy-managed club close by had their matriarch buck killed late November, so the club decided to put all does on the no-shoot list for the rest of this season in hopes some of the does will pass on his genes with their fawns.”

Meriwether County: Jason Swindle, of Carrollton, reports, “This was a strange year. In Meriwether County, we saw scrapes and rubs almost two weeks before we normally do. This was probably due to the cold front in late October. Since opening day, we have seen cruising and chasing consistently. The deer are feeding on the normal sources of nutrition like food plots and acorns. But, they are mostly feeding on a mixture that I created this summer. I pour one-third corn, one-third Buck Muscle pellets, and one-third peanut butter rice brand together in our trough feeders. I cannot keep the feeders full. This combination works particularly well when the feeder is within 100 yards of a food plot. Staging areas are perfect.

“I also witnessed something that confirms the studies done regarding barometric pressure and buck movement. In early November, I noticed that my Wunderground app predicted a huge spike in the pressure at 4 p.m. I went to a stand where the day before only two does were seen. The pressure on that day was hovering around 29.00. The next day when I hunted, the pressure slowly broke the 30.00 barrier. I got in the woods at 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., the pressure went from 30.05 to 30.20 within a matter of 15 minutes. What I saw next I will never forget. A total of 19 deer (eight bucks) came out of the swamp and were chasing feeding and moving. I learned the most important lesson in a lifetime of hunting—when the pressure is between 30 and 30.3, the buck sightings are significant. Under 30, they are minimal. When a rare spike happens, regardless of the time of day,

Trey Britt, 12, was hunting in Henry County Nov. 3 when he killed his first deer. The 193-lb. 8-pointer came out at 9:45 a.m. chasing six does.

look for a significant boost in buck movement. The app that predicts changes in pressure can be obtained at Other than temperature, this app is the most important tool in my bag. December hunting can be good in Meriwether if hunting pressure can be alleviated for two-plus weeks. I will be back in the woods in Meriwether in mid December. Meanwhile, keep the feed full, cams going, and check the pressure forecast.”

Monroe County: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “There have been some great bucks killed in Monroe County, and it seems most were taken early in November. The rut, to say the least, was very unpredictable. We missed it totally, and so did other friends hunting the area. We hunted with several groups over Thanksgiving and didn’t see a single mature buck. The number of gunshots heard was much lower than normal. My cameras showed the best days for bucks on their feet was late October and early November.

“For the remainder of the year, there are still plenty of white oak acorns, but unfortunately most have sprouted and not likely a preference. Food plots are good from all the rain, so we will hunt the plots in the afternoon sits for does and hope to still get several kids their first deer. The bucks may be around the plots looking for any late estrous does. Maybe early December will be similar to early November with big bucks up looking for the unbred does. Many kids have long Christmas breaks, so take advantage later this month and get a kid out hunting.”

Courtney Oplt, of Warner Robins, with her 11-pointer killed Nov. 12 in Crawford County.

Putnam County: Dwayne Britt, of Grayson, reports, “This year’s rut appeared to be spread out, as we were seeing bucks chasing does from late October until Nov. 16. I shot a nice wide-racked 8-pointer chasing does along with several younger bucks on Nov. 11. Another member took an 8-point the first week of November as it was chasing a doe. The deer movement has been good this year even with the higher temperatures and abundant rain fall. I tagged out on Nov. 16 with an 11-pointer as it was tending a doe. My 13-year-old son Griffin Britt was fortunate to take a 9-pointer on family land that should score around 140 inches.

“The young deer can be seen feeding on corn; however, the older bucks are not even on it at night from any of my cameras. We have several white oaks and water oaks still dropping acorns, and the deer are spending a lot of time feeding on this food source. Our food plots look great, and most deer activity has been midday or evenings on the plots. If hunting pressure drops after Thanksgiving, food plots should be a good place to take a deer late season. And of course if you still have acorns, I would make that the primary hunting location. As the woods open up from falling leaves, find those hardwoods that are isolated and have thick cover around them or at least nearby, and try to get in quiet to hunt some of those mature bucks. Try hunting those areas that get little hunting pressure. Sometimes these areas are close to camp, or the stands that were too thick to hunt during the early season. Given the rutting activity already observed, I would expect to see any does not breed or late yearlings to cycle back into heat anywhere from around Dec. 15 through Christmas. Good luck!”

Robert Pierce, 83, of Alpharetta, shot this big 6-pointer with a crossbow on Nov. 7 in Forsyth County.

Walton County: Darrell Dickens, of Loganville, reports, “The first week of November’s deer movement started out slow due to the weather. It was warm and rained for the better part of the week.  That first clear, cold day we had after the rain, the woods exploded with rutting activity. It was one of those days we all wait for. On Nov. 12, the rain started again. This time it was cool and raining. This didn’t seem to slow down the deer activity much at all unless the rain was coming down hard.  

“On the morning of Nov. 13, it was cold and raining lightly. I tagged my second and final buck for the season. I killed an 8-pointer that was chasing a doe.  

“I’ve sat in the stand a few more times with my sons and a friend since the 13th. I haven’t seen much rutting activity but expect around the first full week of December to see the second rut kick in. Of course not as many does will be coming into heat then, but you may get lucky and be in the right spot at the right time. 

“The deer are really hammering the food plots and are still on the water oak acorns. By the first part of December, the water oak acorns should be about all gone. Deer will be focusing on food plots and privet in late December. I’m looking forward to hunting with my sons, friends and taking a couple of does before the season ends. Good luck to everyone, and be safe out there.”


Crisp County: Jodi Manders, of Cordele, reports, “As we enter late November, things have been a bit different this year for us on the east side of the county. We have not experienced a full-fledged rut but have seen constant deer movement with an increased doe population than normal. If I had to pick the busiest day for rut, I would have to say it was Nov. 15 when we witnessed mature bucks chasing does. The other bucks we have seen were just cruising or trailing does for a couple days before and after the 15th. The deer also seem to be moving later in the mornings to midday rather than right at daylight to early morning, which has required some long stand hours for sure but worth it. 

At 95 years of age, Mr. Harry Tel Hodges, of Screven County, continues to bring home the meat!

“Overall our season has had increased deer movement and sightings and seems to have had a lot more mature bucks taken, according to the local processors. We did see a couple of mature bucks cruising on the 22nd and 23rd. The main food source they have been eating is natural browse, and occasionally they stop in the food plots and nip off the green tops of wheat and rye. 

“For December hunting, it will be somewhat harder to spot that mature buck. They seem to disappear and stay in the thickets, but we might spot one traveling through a known trail to a bedding area. So that’s where we will set our sights for December. It will definitely be a sit-and-wait hunt for sure.”

Early County: Sam Klement reports, “Hurricane Michael has wreaked havoc on pretty much all the woods in southwest Georgia around Blakley, Donaldsonville and Bainbridge. Prior to this Hurricane, all my stands were in place, food plots planted, and the camera surveys were showing us some super quality bucks to pursue. Since the storm, unfortunately, like many other hunters in this area, our efforts and available hunting time have shifted to cleanup work to our homes, cabins, hunting camps and properties. It looks like over a month later most of our woods still looks like Armageddon. We have been working most weekends to clean up the access roads and re-set our stands that were fallen during the storm. I have hunted a few times and managed to shoot one doe with my bow. I have seen several nice shooter bucks that did not present an ethical bow shot.

“The good news of this hurricane is we now have tons of bedding we did not have prior to this storm. For example just this week I was hunting one of my stands, and just after daylight I have a borderline buck slipping through a swamp on his way to bed. He jumped many dead falls on the way to my general direction and actually stepped out of a fallen treetop and stood motionless licking his nose for what seemed like 10 minutes as he smelled the VooDOO deer lure I sprayed and misted prior to climbing up. This buck, after feeling confident no danger was around, decided to bed up in this very tree top less than 20 feet from my stand. Two additional smaller bucks came in the same general area and bedded up, as well. My point being, the travel corridors and bedding areas have changed substantiality since the storm damage.

“My strategy moving forward will be to continue to hunt these thick areas to get into where the big deer live, and it’s just a matter of time before I get a shooter in range. As far as the rut goes, I am starting to see some fresh scrapes, lots of rubs and getting more daytime photos of mature bucks, so it looks like the rut which typically happens during the first cold snap in December for our southwest Georgia area is right on track. It will typically wax and wane depending on the cooler weather through the rest of December. Food source wise, all acorns have either dropped or been blown out due to high winds from hurricane. Most will rot in December due to continued rain. If you find a tree they are eating on. Sit it!

“Our food plots look good and will be great to hunt near during p.m. hunts. I like hunting the thickest, hardest places to get in knowing that I have a better chance of catching a mature deer either coming to bed up, leaving his bed or searching for does in their beds. I also like to hunt around scrape lines this time of year, hoping to catch a mid morning scrape cruiser. I always have my horns, grunt call, estrous bleat just in case.

It was a magical morning in Coweta County on Veterans Day Nov. 11 for two Iraqi War veterans. “I was invited to go hunting in Coweta County with my buddy James Whitlock and his daughter Ila Clare. I started seeing deer at 0650, and they just kept coming,” said GON member Boone Phaxai, of Lula (right). “This 10-pointer was the 10th deer that I saw at 0830 when he came out with two does. I couldn’t have asked for a better Veterans Day present.”

“Good luck to my fellow southwest Georgia hunters. I know it’s been tough pill to swallow with the hurricane devastation. At the end of the day, the time spent in God’s great outdoors is really what it’s about. We will all get our places back to normal at some point. The deer are a bonus. Enjoy every sit and every sunrise and sunset! Enjoy your family and friends at camp. Hunt hard and long hours when you can. The rut will happen despite the hurricane. Huntin is Good!”

Harris County: Jimmy Harper, of Hamilton, reports, “Although I’ve yet to let an arrow or bullet fly, it’s been by choice because this season is shaping up to be one of the best I can remember in my 35-plus years of deer hunting in Harris County. I can’t even begin to count the number of ‘legal but too young’ bucks I’ve had the pleasure of letting walk this season. Many hunting buddies have been making trips to their favorite taxidermist after they put some fully mature Harris County studs on the ground. On the 791-acre Flatrock Hunting Club where I spend about half of my deer hunting time, our members are having the best year for quality bucks in the history of the club—and that history goes back to the mid-1980s! Prior to Thanksgiving, our club members had already shot five mature bucks, including Robert Cook with a 125-inch 8-pointer the afternoon of Oct. 28 and a busted-up 130-class 10-pointer the morning of Nov. 21, as well as John Ullman with a beautiful 120-class 10-pointer the afternoon of Nov. 10.

“What is interesting, and info that I think should help for the remainder of this season, and also in future seasons when acorn production is spotty like it is on the Harris County properties I’m hunting, is that four out of five of these bucks were shot either directly on or adjacent to food plots. What is even more interesting is that these same four bucks were shot on club foods plots where there was also a trough feeder that is filled year-round with some type of supplemental deer feed—corn this time of year and protein at other times. To put this further into perspective, our club has eight food plots, and four of them have feeders and four do not. So, 80 percent of our mature bucks this year—a year in which our acorn crop was very sparse—have thus far been killed in close proximity to a food plot with a feeder. Based on this, I know where I’ll be spending a large portion of my time for the remainder of this season, and also in future seasons when these same conditions occur! You may want to consider doing the same thing if your hunting land lacks a significant number of acorns, and if you either have food plots already or can plant them on the land you hunt. Finally, I’ve previously mentioned the value of maintaining a Log Book of your observations while hunting, and this is a very important entry that I’ll definitely be recording there, because it most certainly will help me in future seasons, and not just this one.       

“I spend the other half of my deer hunting time on my family’s 44-acre farm in Harris County, and we’ve seen more deer this season than in any season since the first one after we bought this property 12 years ago. What’s even more encouraging is that we’re seeing significant numbers of very healthy fawns during deer season, including several sets of twin fawns and buttonheads, which we have not seen for several years—basically, since the ‘coyote invasion’ really cranked up. We still hear as many coyotes at night as always, and those mangy critters still come into our yard and onto our porch, trying to eat our animals as well as their food. But the deer must be somehow adapting to life with coyotes and learning how to better survive around them, because there is little doubt that the fawn recruitment on the land where I live and hunt is up, and that is obviously great to see. But that won’t stop me—and I hope it won’t stop you—from killing every coyote possible, any legal way possible!

“We’re blessed to have approximately six weeks remaining in our Georgia deer season, and I plan to take advantage of all of it, hunting mainly food plots in the afternoons. And I also have a goal of helping my wife, Christina, kill her first deer—a nice, fat doe would be nice—so I’ll be spending some quality time with her and an ATC-TV video camera in a two-person blind trying to put a smile on her face and create a new hunter at the same time!”

George Law, of Perry, with a Houston County buck taken with his recurve bow. “The wind was almost stale, so I made a small fire and made a lot of smoke, put it out, and went to my stand. If I smell like smoke and the woods smell like smoke, then it’s a win-win,” George said. He then got a 12-yard shot at this bruiser that weighed 245 pounds.

Macon County: David Keene, of Oglethorpe, reports, “I think that most of our rutting activity happened during the night. I did see small bucks with their noses to the ground, but no mature Macon County legal bucks. I have seen several good bucks that were in thickets with no shot offered. We took a couple of does early in the season and two hogs. Several very good bucks have been taken around Macon County this season. A good 12-point was taken less than a mile from our property. Most of the white oak acorns were blown off the trees during Hurricane Michael. I am planning on doing some all-day sits during the late season to see if that will help.”

Twiggs County: Richie Green, of Jeffersonville, reports, “This year has been good for seeing deer for sure, but as for bucks laying down sign, it just didn’t happen on my leases. Very few paw marks were put down, and the ones that were never got worked. The rubs were not there like you want them to be, but man we have some good-looking bucks.

“By now all the white oaks are gone or sprouting on the ground from all the rain, but the food plots are doing awesome. The water oaks never stop falling it seems like, so if you don’t have food plots that’s where I would be.

“The rut around here wasn’t full blown, but they were chasing some around the last week of October and the first week of November, and I have some night video of some this last week of November, so the second rut is right on track.

“Some great deer have been killed around here. I’ve seen pics of a giant 160-inch killed and a bunch of good ol’ Georgia bruisers. The outlook is good if we keep letting them grow so the kids can see deer when they go and won’t get bored. And if they shoot a 90-inch buck, remember it’s huge to them, so make it huge to you. We’ve gotten off track on the joy of hunting.

“If you’ve never tried bleeting in a doe with the distress call, try it sometime. December is a good month for it. Tie a white paper towel on your bow rope and just bounce it off the ground while you blow the call from the stand. They seem to get hung up if they don’t see something flopping around. It doesn’t work every time, but neither does a grunt. But I promise it will work if you’re after does for the freezer. I hope your season has been as good as mine or better.”

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