Do You Deer Hunt in the Deep South?
A lot of deer hunters say deer hunting the rut in the South is completely different than hunting in the North. While some aspects of that are true (timing of the rut, length of the rut, etc.), the fundamentals of rut hunting remain the same. Here are five tips that work when pursuing rutting bucks in the South.
1. Use Rut Sign to Your Advantage
Rut sign is rut sign. I don't care if you're in Connecticut, Kansas, California or Texas. Deer lay down rut sign. And it's an every-day thing during the pre-rut and rut.
Now, I don't hunt over rut sign during the rut. I believe that's counterproductive. That said, I do sometimes hunt close to it during the pre-rut. Once the main event arrives, I use it to help determine deer are in the area and how deer move about and use the landscape.
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2. Focus on True Edges
Deer are edge animals. They love transitional habitat. That's where the bulk of the deer population will be found. And places without adequate edge habitat will likely harbor smaller deer populations.
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In the South, you have a lot of big timber. So there aren't as many edges as you'd find in the Midwest, or even the Northeast for that matter. That said, edges are still a part of hunting, even in the Deep South. They're just different types of edges. Focus on cutover timber, spots where pines meet hardwoods or other coniferous trees, and any other location where the successional stage of habitat changes.
3. Find Quality Food Sources
Food is food and the deer world revolves around it. Locate the preferred food sources for that area. Determine what the deer are keying on and incorporate that into your hunt plans. It's simple deer hunting 101 knowledge. But it's important.
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4. Locate the Doe Groups
Find the food. Find the quality bedding cover. And you'll find the does. Water isn't quite as big of a factor in the South because in most southern states, water is abundant. So once you've found the three key factors for good deer habitat (food, water and cover), you should be in the money.
5. Use Funnels and Pinch-Points
Deer travel the path of least resistance. That means they travel through saddles rather than over hills and mountains. They travel through fence gaps instead of jumping over them. They slip along narrow openings instead of beating through thick, nasty brush. That's how they behave. A deer is a deer is a deer. Right?
I know. I know. This ain't the Midwest. Bologna. Funnels are funnels. Pinch-points are pinch-points. While they might not be as abundant in the South, you can still find them. And they still work the same.
Find them. Use them to kill a rutting whitetail.
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