Hunt Advisor Reports November 2017

An October lull, attributed to very warm days, is about to be replaced by cold temperatures and rutting action in the Georgia deer woods.

GON Staff | November 1, 2017

The 2017-2018 Georgia deer season began with a flurry of good bucks—the Truck-Buck contest saw an all-time record for the first week of bow season—but the action seemed to cool as the air temperatures warmed.

During late September and the first of October, it was warm to hot, especially during the evenings, which is typically the best time to catch a mature buck on his feet during daylight hours before the rut. Now, during this last week of October and into November, cold mornings and rutting action will mean big bucks are just as likely to be cruising in the mornings and during the midday hours.

Here are the reports from Hunt Advisors spread across the state.

Grace Seay, 13, of Sharpsburg, went ahead and filled her buck tags by knocking down these two big bucks in Coweta County on Oct. 21, opening day of gun season. Both bucks showed up together and were filtering through a swamp. Grace shot the lead buck, which was the 8-pointer. After about 10 minutes, the 10-pointer calmed down and eventually provided Grace with another opportunity at big opening-day antlers.


Lumpkin County: Richard Von Scherr, of  Dawsonville, reports, “Warm temperatures made for some tough hunting in this early season. Deer continue to behave in their summer patterns, with big bucks staying under cover and younger bucks starting to get frisky. Acorns are beginning to drop well, and we anticipate travel behavior to begin to change based on this, and an anticipated cold snap coming in at the end of October. Strategically focusing on travel corridors between the bedding and feeding areas will be optimal for bagging that early season buck.”

Here’s an awesome bow-buck from Gilmer County. Cody Dilbeck, of Ellijay, killed the buck on Oct. 13. It’s been green-scored in the 130s.

Madison County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “Well, they say there is a first for everything, so I’m doing this report while sitting in the tree on Sunday, Oct. 22. So far the only complaint I’ve got about this deer season was the hot and dry weather during bow season, but that did not slow activity. I have seen more deer already this year than I may have seen all of last year. I started seeing buck activity about the middle of bow season, and it has steadily progressed. As of the gun opener, I witnessed bucks chasing like it was early to mid November, which is normally the peak around here. Food sources are plentiful. The white oak and red oak acorns are raining from the trees, and the water oaks are just starting to drop. I did have to replant my food plots, but with the cooler temps, they’re doing well and will be there for the deer when the acorns are gone.

“This tract of land I have is a small-tract success story to me. It’s less than a hundred acres and joins my personal property. When I first started leasing it seven years ago, you couldn’t hardly see a deer, much less a mature buck because of the brown-it’s-down attitude before I got it, but I have pampered the deer all this time, and now I’ve got numbers and some shooters on it. The key is keeping them fed and letting them walk. There’s no way to keep them on it all the time, but if you can keep some girls around, a lot of the boys will hang around, too.

“With this good rain (Oct. 23) and a lot cooler temps coming in this second weekend of gun season, it could be an early rut, which wouldn’t be a bad thing because that would just make for an earlier secondary rut. So if you can, get out there, and get after ’em.”

Mackey Westklake, 6, shot this awesome 8-point buck in Habersham County on the morning of Oct. 18. Mackey’s dad, Keith, said the youngster practiced all summer with his CVA Compact .243, and it paid off with the young hunter’s first deer. “I have never felt that level of joy in my life! At that moment I knew I had a hunting buddy for life,” said Keith.

Ansley Chancey, 8, of Covington, killed this Taliaferro County 8-pointer on Oct. 22 at 7:34 a.m. while hunting a clover food plot with her father. “We got in the tower stand about 7 a.m. and about 34 minutes later here came the buck.,” said Ansley. “I had my gun ready to shoot. It was about 75 yards away. It was 5 yards from the woods. I am 8 years old, and this is my first deer!”

North Fulton County: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “I may need to wear an ankle brace when hunting the suburban hardwoods. White oak acorns are everywhere. I’m still using the blower to make my acorn-flat areas more attractive, but pinning one oak tree down that is best is difficult. On Oct. 18, I had nine bucks come in a single file line to within 20 yards of the stand. They were going to an open field right at dark. Judging from seeing this bachelor group, the bucks were not yet ready for the rut, but they were much more active with the cool weather. Acorns in my area remain the No. 1 food source, but those bucks were coming to taste honey locust pods.

“New scrapes and rubs appeared everywhere after the cold snap that came in Oct. 16-20. I think the newest large rubs I found were from my target buck. It has allowed me to know where he is bedding—in a thicket of pines with hardwoods to his north and south. I will continue to look for recent rubs and play the wind this month with hope he comes out for a few acorns during daylight hours. I will try a couple of times to rattle with a doe decoy to draw him in, but I’m only gonna hunt him on the right wind now that I have him located. The other advice if hunting in north metro is to look for deer car collision or friends talking about almost hitting a deer. When that peaks, you know the bucks might be a little more dumb from the rut, and it’s your chance to get that older, wiser buck. Good luck, it is the glory days.”


Crawford County: Randy Kee, of Williamson, reports, “For most of the month, we were in the October lull on buck sightings. Trail-camera pictures showed an increase in nighttime buck activity, most likely due to the warm weather we have experienced throughout the month. By the third week of October, the mornings got cooler and the buck sign really began showing up, but we still had no good buck sightings. Scrapes have been cleaned out nearly every night, and rubs are showing up everywhere. Fortunately, cooler weather is in the forecast, and things should begin to happen quickly.

“Opening day of firearms season brought 57-degree temps to Crawford County. While the somewhat cool fall weather was perfect for sitting in a deer stand, the number of deer spotted didn’t reflect that. Most hunters in camp reported very few sightings. We ended a lackluster archery season with only a few does taken.

“Acorns are still the place to be hunting. The acorns in our neck of the woods are falling pretty good this season. There aren’t as many falling as last season, but there are very few years that produce a mast crop like we had last year. Water oaks and red oaks are the ones that I’m seeing most of, with the deer favoring the red oaks. There are some white oaks out there, but they’re spotty and just starting to fall. These could be the hot food source as we head into the rut.

“If history repeats itself, the bucks should be on their feet by Halloween, cruising the feeding areas and thickets looking for that first doe to come into estrous. The last week of October and first week of November is one of my favorite times to be in the woods looking for a good buck. While maybe not as exciting as having bucks chase does around your tree stand, there are often more deer spotted, and they are slightly more predictable than they will be when actively chasing does. Set up on the best food source that you have or the most active trail between a bedding area and food source, and put some time in the seat. The bucks are liable to show up at any time of the day, so forget about your deer hunting app and feeding times and get out there. The bucks and the oncoming rut will dictate the majority of the deer movement.

“By the second week in November, I will be perched high above a clearcut in a stand that covers a lot of ground. With deer activity being unpredictable and the rut in full swing, I want to cover as much ground as possible. Spend as much time as possible in the stand while the deer are really chasing. Most of the members in our club will take time off from work to hunt the week of Nov. 5-11. This has traditionally been a great week to hunt the rut, and this year should be no different. The buck of your dreams could show up at any time of day, so any time that can be spent in the stand could prove to be very productive.”

GON subscriber Rory Foret, of Carrollton, got his freezer situation looking good after an Oct. 7 bowhunt on West Point Lake corps land.

Fayette County: Shane McMonigle, aka “rutnbuk” on the GON Forum, reports, “Goodbye HOT-tober, hello  DOE-vember! Folks, the greatest month of the year has arrived! Time on stand overrides temps, wind, moon phase, etc. Simply put, November is about two things—being where the does are and being there often.

“October continued really slowly for me up until the week before the gun opener. The colder air had the woods alive with deer. I was able to arrow a nice buck that Friday (Oct. 20) as he came in to scent check a doe at about 10 a.m. Rubs and scrapes are on the rise, and everything is set for an incredible textbook rut.

“Johnny Black, from Blacks Deer Processing in south Fayette County, reports several kids were able to connect during the youth week, and Johnny had a nice amount of deer brought in opening day. The GON rut map is spot on for my county, as the seeking phase is in progress as I type. Expect a peak somewhere in the first 10 days of November. However, as usual for my county, it will trickle on for quite some time due to the high population of does.

“Also, the woods still have an enormous amount of acorns on the ground and still in the trees. Pick your spots carefully. Funnels close to bedding areas may be a better bet, since it is difficult to pinpoint which acorn buffet they are choosing. But the main ingredient is just hunt where the does are—period. I remember one year, I was concerned about not seeing many bucks as November was fast approaching. An ol’ bowhunting mentor and friend of mine simply said, “It’s November, don’t worry. They coming.’ So folks, make sure you get some time in the woods planned the next few weeks because believe me, they coming. God bless, let’s go to the woods!”

Hancock County: Matthew Gilbert, of Loganville, reports, “We have had plenty of deer sign in the woods and along the food plot edges. The woods are full of water oaks, and we have found spotty white oaks. Looks like we will need to concentrate on the thicker food sources and trails during most daylight hours. The food plots should be productive in the evenings, but to find a mature buck, we will hunt the thicker areas until acorns are gone.

“We have been seeing decent deer numbers and tracks scattered throughout our property. We stay out of known bedding areas and will hunt the periphery when we known a good buck is near. The recent rains have kept browse in these thickets available. With cooler temps coming, the deer will have to leave their hideouts to find preferred food sources.

The rut sign is typical. Scrapes are worn out, and good rubs are showing up everywhere. There should be some good chasing seen soon. These last couple weeks, deer have been seen on our property, although no shooters. My boys have not had a chance to hunt but once. We had an eventful opening-day afternoon with everyone seeing deer. Eight-year-old Turner didn’t get his chance with our does staying too far away. Davis had a great hunt seeing plenty of deer, and Wilson, 11, got his first bout of buck fever by seeing a good buck come and go within seconds. All we have to do is keep going, and it will all come together for the three of them!”

Monroe County: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “We just had a kids hunt, and the cooler weather had deer moving pretty good. We had one kid get his first deer ever. The white oak acorns are thick in my woods along with spotty northern red and water oak acorns. The hurricanes brought in some needed rain, and most food plots are now greening up well. We made one more planting in late October. I’m surprised the brassica is being hit this early, but I think I’m carrying a good many deer that should increase sightings.

“This next month we will be hunting in the afternoons closer to thick cover  that leads to the food plots in order to get a better chance at a buck. For the does, the food plots are hard to beat in the evening hours in November. The does should be feeding, and the bucks will be looking for the girls. They will scent check in the woods around the plots and be up moving more during daylight hours. I have a wide-open ridge and then a creek bottom where there is a natural pinch point. We will look down on this area during the full-on rut times. Remember to pay attention to the wind. I can really tell a difference after a day of hunting with several father/son groups.  The deer will go nocturnal for a day or two if not paying attention to wind direction. Good luck, this is for most of us our favorite time of the year.”

Putnam County: Dwayne Britt, of Grayson, reports, “We’re finally seeing a forecast for a break in the weather with much cooler temperatures for the end of October and hopefully early November. The food plots look great, and the deer are very active feeding on both acorns and food plots. A lot of the acorns fell during the high winds from Hurricane Irma, but a few are hanging in there and are still falling. This should make it easier to pattern the deer during the pre-rut with limited trees still holding acorns. Planting iron clay peas worked well with the deer not over browsing the small winter plots and hitting the iron clay peas first.

“I’m seeing a lot of buck activity including scrapes and horned trees all over the property. Opening weekend, young bucks were seen chasing does, but no sign of any does in estrus as of yet. Last year we had lots of mature buck activity the first two full weeks of November; however, the prior year it was primarily the last two weeks of October. I’m expecting to see some mature bucks cruising during the end of October, but we’re expecting peak times to run Nov. 9 through the 14th, give or take a day or two on each end. Pegging the Putnam County peak rutting activity has been tough with mature bucks seeming to chase for several weeks, but early to mid November has seemed to have the most activity.”


Crisp County: Jodi Manders, of Cordele, reports, “We are anxious and ready to hunt November, and thankful for the cooler mornings that we have had. The deer seem to like it, too. It seems to increase their movement a little. The deer have really been working some scrape lines pretty regular for almost two weeks now. They are also hitting trees and have the travel routes beat down. We have some small young bucks sparing with each other. We haven’t seen a lot of mature buck activity, but it should pick up in the next couple of weeks. We monitor trail cameras, and they have proven that the bucks are moving during the night. The daylight pictures and sightings of deer have been right after daylight and around 10:30 a.m., and those have been young bucks and does.

“The food sources we are still depending on are the natural browse that the deer frequent such as persimmons and acorns. We have some green plots planted, but they are looking poorly because of lack of rain. I’ve seen a few bucks taken during the youth opener along with some does. Other hunters that I have spoken with have not seen a lot of deer movement either and stated that it has been too hot to hunt—they also approved of the cooler weather that’s coming.

“Overall, the season has been slow going for the most part because of the heat. During opening weekend of the regular gun season, we had a small young buck chasing a mature doe. In a trail-cam picture, she looks like she is trying to figure out what he’s up to so early in the season. I have had someone tell me that the bucks are chasing already, but they are not on our land. Looking forward to an eventful November. Hunt safe, and God bless.”

Early County: Sam Klement, Founder of Good Outdoor Technologies/Huntin is Good! hunts a trophy-managed lease in southwest Georgia on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. “We are starting to see daytime bucks from the stands and are getting more daytime buck photos. With the cooler temps starting to set in and the impending pre-rut activities, our bucks appear to be right on schedule. Many of my hunting buddies are seeing smaller deer spar, even some slight harassing of the does by the smaller bucks.

“Our food plots look great. We planted Labor Day weekend when we were getting lots of rain. They came up great and have had just enough rain to keep them coming up and looking good. These plots will be great holds for our deer in the late season and after the season.

“My focus as always is to hunt the thick, nasty pinch points and funnels in hopes of catching a mature deer doing his thing. As the rut gets closer—typically the first cool snap in December on this property—I will start to focus more on open areas with more visibility in hopes of catching a cruising buck I can call to. For now, I like it thick, and I use some scents like the curiosity lure from Voodoo. And I will do some light calling with my horns on a string just after sun up and before sunset in hopes of catching a buck’s attention.

“Our acorns are still plentiful and being hit hard. The white oaks have started to drop some and are being hit hard as soon as they fall. My adjoining neighbors are starting to see and kill some great bucks, as well. I know of three record-caliber bucks shot with a bow and a couple of nice bucks taken with guns, as well. My suggestions and reminders to everyone is that the more stand time you can sit, the more encounters and increase in the percentage you have of killing a good buck. I have killed some of my better bucks this time of the year in the mid morning in the thicker areas. Enjoy the outdoors. Good luck to my fellow outdoorsman. Huntin’ is Good! for the soul!”

Harris County: Jimmy Harper, of Hamilton, reports, “Opening day, and actually all of opening weekend, of gun season was a great time to be in the Harris County deer woods. Both afternoons were a little on the warm side, but the mornings, especially opening morning, was cool enough to make at least some of us let our thoughts start drifting toward November. The deer were moving good where I hunted, with some bucks, especially the younger ones, already chasing and harassing the does. Just on opening morning, I saw and heard three different bucks grunting and chasing two different does. The more mature bucks know the real thing is still a few weeks away, so they weren’t in on most of the obvious early rut activity I’ve heard about, but they have already opened up a significant number of fresh scrapes. There were also quite a few good bucks that hit the Harris County dirt over opening weekend, as well as many does, and that will obviously only get better as we move on into and through the mid-November rut.

“Our food plots are up and growing good, but they could still use some more rain. The deer have started to hit them, and we’ve already started taking some does off of them, but the best is yet to come there as the weather gets colder. The deer are also feeding heavily on acorns, primarily the smaller varieties such as pin and water oaks, but they’re also visiting isolated white oaks and red oaks that produced acorns and are now dropping. Acorns should continue to be a primary food source throughout November, while food plots should get better and better as the season goes on, provided they don’t receive too much early hunting pressure, which could drive the deer to use them mainly at night.

“As a closing suggestion, I always try to make sure that I’m in a deer stand somewhere in Harris County each and every year on November 10th, 11th and 12th, no matter what. This year, those days just happen to fall on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, the last quarter moon, which I’ve found to be a great time to hunt, especially during the whitetail rut, will occur this year on Nov. 10. So, if I was only going to take one day of vacation during this year’s November rut, that Friday would be the day I would take off work. And, if I didn’t have any vacation days left, I just might have to come down with a sudden case of ‘deer flu’ and call out sick that morning! That day, and that weekend as a whole, has the potential to be just that good—assuming we don’t have any hurricanes or tornadoes!”

Laurens County: Tim Knight, of Dublin, reports, “I’ve taken two does so far. I’m just starting to hunt the good spots due to hot weather. I’m very glad to report that many does have been passed due to having one or twin fawns. I’ve seen the most offspring in years. I don’t like to orphan them when they are that young. Several good bucks have been taken that I know of, and a couple of great ones.

“The acorn crop in my area for water and pin oaks is fair. The white oaks and swamp chestnuts oaks are spotty to poor. This does not surprise me due to the fact we had a record crop last year. It’s time to focus on travel routes, corridors, bottle necks and funnels where bucks will be cruising in search of does. Also, it’s time to slip in close to known bedding areas and rattle and grunt to lure in other wise nocturnal bucks.”

Macon County: David Keene, of Oglethorpe, reports, “On Monday, Oct. 16, I had a buck chase a doe past my stand at 7:45 a.m. Bucks were grunting and chasing that morning. I also had a large buck chase a doe across the highway Sunday night, Oct. 22 around 8 p.m. I am getting several mature bucks on camera during legal daylight hours, and some them are midday.

GON Hunt Advisor David Keene had a close-encounter with a snake on opening morning of gun season in Macon County. “I had a large timber rattler under my ladder stand Saturday morning when I went to climb down. Watch your step,” David said.

“We have a lot of water oaks dropping and a few white oak acorns. We were in bad need of rain for our food plots, so this good rain (Oct. 23) really helps. That’s our first rain since Irma went through.

“On the gun season opener, dogs were running deer up and down the creek next to my stand, so no luck. Snakes are still crawling. I had a large timber rattler under my ladder stand Saturday morning when I went to climb down.”

Twiggs County: Richie Green, of Jeffersonville, reports, “The 90-degree heat and mosquitoes the size of horseflies took all the appeal out of the first half of October for me, but that didn’t stop my daughter Laci from killing her first deer with a bow while I videoed. We set up on a feeder on Oct. 7 in the morning after hunting it five different evenings without a shot. But it only took 15 minutes after getting there at 8 a.m. to seal the deal, and she had a 3-point down after a 25-yard blood trail.

“I haven’t heard of any being killed lately, but I doubt many bowhunters were going in the heat. The cooler weather had the small bucks chasing in my food plots at night, and I saw some dogging does while hunting, but nothing from the mature bucks yet. That will come soon though. The main foods now are white oaks and food plots. The deer are eating both as fast as they can and leaving my corn alone for now. Opening day of gun was quiet around here, and I only heard of a couple bucks being killed. If the weather stays cool into November, it should be an awesome year. The paw marks are showing up now, and the grunt tube is working a little. I have some sparing on camera, so it’s getting close.”

Laci Green, of Jeffersonville, dropped this Twiggs County 3-pointer while hunting with a crossbow on Oct. 7.

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.