Check out the most recent information on southern whitetail behavior
The 2022 deer season is off to a roaring start in the Southeast as evidenced by some great hunts the Realtree Road Trips crew has enjoyed in Georgia and Mississippi, and the slew of big buck stories from Kentucky and North Carolina posted to this year's Rack Report. In contrast to the normal September weather down south, this year's forecast has been downright pleasant often as not. That's certainly the case as I write this from home on the Kentucky/Tennessee line. There were rumors of light frost 100 miles north of here this morning.
There have been some notable differences in precipitation across the region. Much of western Kentucky and Tennessee has been in a drought all summer, and as I write this, we're going on three weeks without any measurable rainfall. Food plots I planted Sept. 1 germinated nicely after one good soaker, but they're dusty and pitiful looking now. The corn crop has been pretty poor around here this summer, it seems, and I'd guess half or more of it has already been shelled. Our mast crop is very spotty, though the few white oaks that are dropping right now are attracting a ton of deer.
Just a little farther southeast, my buddy Kerry Wix — who opened the season with stud velvet bucks in Tennessee and Kentucky — says plentiful rains have likely contributed to a bumper mast crop. Pin oaks and white oaks are doing great right now, he says. We moved cameras this past weekend and got pics of bucks left and right. I've got better persimmons this year than I have in the past several, too.
In Virginia, deer blogger Mike Hanback reports a good to spectacular acorn crop. If bucks aren't visible in fields right now, it's because they're gorging back in the woods, he says. A recent cool snap in the 60s has some bucks moving in time for the Oct. 1 opener, though the weekend could be soggy if remnants of Hurricane Ian push through the state.
Rutting activity is right on time … which is to say, there's not much happening yet. Still, I have found several early rubs and even a few scrapes around primary food sources. That's mostly from the dominant bucks in bachelor groups marking their territories after velvet shed, but you can expect to see more of that by the week as those groups bust up and individuals establish new home ranges for fall. Don't be shy about walking white oak ridges right now to find the freshest sign, or about moving cameras to keep tabs on bucks. Food sources are changing fast, but you can still kill a buck on an early season pattern during the next two weeks, if you can only find him.
(Don't Miss: 30 Reasons You Won't Get Your Target Buck This Fall)