Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
Tennhunter3
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby Tennhunter3 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:56 am

MrT wrote:What about the rut in the southeast? I know I heard depending what state you're in the rut doesn't even come along until right about now.

Seems like I can't see any pattern in the state I'm in. I've seen rut activity as early as mid October. This year I haven't seen any until the last week or so.

Any thoughts, ideas, or info?


Normally the rut here kicks off the third week of november.

This year I have not seen a single buck chasing a doe. It's been warmer then normal and we might not have a rut this year.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby Southern slayer » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:15 pm

The rut normally doesn’t get going in my area until Christmas break; which works out great for when I’m off for the two weeks around Christmas and New Years !
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby fenderbender62 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:35 pm

In Eastern VA it usually peaks around thanksgiving/last week of November.

We have such a young age class of deer here though, a huge percentage of the does and bucks are 1.5 yrs old. It seems alot of the young does dont come into estrous until mid to late December
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby Recurve6 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:17 am

I'm glad to see I am not alone ..my afternoon sits have been a bust but I"m consistently seeing deer in mornings. I am hunting high and catching them coming up to bed i believe..... haven't dived into pine thickets per se but will do so this weekend. With our season being rifle i imagine most folks are on the ground so leaving more scent - i know i am so i am not returning to areas after i hunt them once. I will go back in later this year and see if it makes a difference. This is my first year using beast style bedding hunting and i am into WAY more deer than I've ever seen in these hills - very encouraging. So much so that when i didn't see any deer Saturday i was mad instead of being used to not seeing deer! Total 180 from where i was before on these WMA's!
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby buttonbuck » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:56 pm

fenderbender62 wrote:I'm new to the beast this year and I have been learning a ton from all the guys on here. I have been seeing a few posts lately from guys hunting in the south who deal with what is essentially another world of deer hunting dealing with cutover thickets, dog hunting pressure, and southern pine plantations so I wanted to start a thread for all my southern brethren. Below is what I have learned over the past 10 seasons dealing with everything that comes with hunting in the South and how I have been finding success lately by adapting on public land hunting solo.

I'm in Eastern VA and around here the mature deer stay in the pine cutovers pretty much year round due to hunting pressure. I'm talking young pine cutover from 2-10 years old that are so thick with briars the smaller hunting dogs (real beagles) cant effectively navigate them. They come out at night and hit the fields and oaks. Later in the season once the acorns and crops dry up they'll stay in the cutovers 100% of the time. I key in on 2 food sources inside the cutovers, greenbriar and honeysuckle.

I had an AHA moment a few years ago, I got sick of not seeing deer and started still hunting the interior of the cutovers with a shotgun and shot a big old doe in there. When i gutted her she was slam full of nothing but honeysuckle leaves. They bed in it and eat it all day long. In the fall it wont have any blossoms on it so its easy to overlook. Look for the football shaped green leafs and you'll quickly learn to spot it from a distance.

Another time i was high up in a tree on the edge of a huge cutover as an observation stand. I watched a small buck stand up from a bed and walk 10 yards and eat for 45 minutes, then walk right back and bed down. He did this 3 times over the course of an 8 hour sit, He literally never left a 20 yard circle in the middle of brush . The next time I went in the cutover I wanted to see what the food source was, it was just a pile of greenbriar growing on top of a little 20 yard radius knoll.I dont know why it grew there but it was like a little food plot right in the middle of the cutover and it was getting hit hard.

If you can find Honeysuckle or greenbriar mark it on your OnX, the deer will bed in or near it, usually within 25 yards of it.

The thick pines are tricky and it can be enticing to sit the edges where you're finding sign and trails, but if the pressure is heavy I can guarantee you that sign is being made at night. The deer will stay in there all day long. They bed, feed, rut, breed, and spend their entire existence in those cutovers because its the only place they have a chance at survival. They have no chance to evade deer hounds in any kind of open timber environment.

I still hunt inside the cutovers with a shotgun using 00 buckshot and jump shoot them like rabbits. The key is the mature deer adapt to dog hunting pressure by not moving any distance at all, therefor not leaving a scent trail for the hounds to catch, again this is a survival tactic the mature deer have learned over the first 2 years of hunting pressure. They'll hold tight even when they know you're in there, hoping you walk right by them. You pretty much have to step on them for them to move which equates to alot of close up shots, sometimes while they're still in their beds. I have found its more beneficial to keep walking at a very slow steady pace than to creep and stop. When you stop walking the deer get uneasy for some reason and theyll take off 30 yards ahead of you limiting your opportunities. The slow steady walk lets them know where you are and where your heading, they'll hold tight for as long as possible.

To break it down further, I have found that they bed on transition edges and terrain features inside the cutovers. So if you have the young pines that are 2 years old that but up to another cut that is 8 years old, or pines that run up against CRP they will bed within a few yards of that transition. They also tend to bed wherever there is a low area, if it holds water its even better, theyll bed right on the edge of that water or low lying transition. I also look for random clumps of abnormal vegetation. If a cutover consists of mostly pines,goldenrod and briars and you locate an area of cedars more than a few yards in size, there is usually a deer somewhere in that vicinity.

Beasts of the South, share your knowledge and experiences that have improved your hunting success


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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby CShipp » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:57 am

bump
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby Tennhunter3 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:21 am

In the early season afternoons alot of bucks go low elevation to water before they go to nighttime feeding. Think it has to do with the heat and humidity we get in the south.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:34 am

I hunt in the south. Like to think I’m a Beast based off of effort but maybe not. The key in the south atleast for me is finding the honey comb hideout. In my experience in the south there are places old deer move in daylight. Bed hunting works, bed to food works, and yes smart funnel hunting works. But the key factor is the deer feel safe doing so. If they know there is a hunter behind every tree they don’t dig a hole and cover up til dark they leave! Not just human intrusion but watch what they do when coyotes storm them once or twice. A old buck knows he is vulnerable moving in daylight to escape the heat. The answer imo to any region is find those spots nobody has every thought to hunt and u will be surprised what lurks in the shadows. If u wanna do what everyone else does great! I suggest u buy a big spoon and some corn bread or biscuits to soak up all the tag soup. :lol: In any Endeavor the general masses fail miserably. What separates failure from those who are successful is 99% of the time miner stuff. Usually a state of mind and a willingness to do what the other guy wont!
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby CShipp » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:26 am

Boogieman1 wrote:I hunt in the south. Like to think I’m a Beast based off of effort but maybe not. The key in the south atleast for me is finding the honey comb hideout. In my experience in the south there are places old deer move in daylight. Bed hunting works, bed to food works, and yes smart funnel hunting works. But the key factor is the deer feel safe doing so. If they know there is a hunter behind every tree they don’t dig a hole and cover up til dark they leave! Not just human intrusion but watch what they do when coyotes storm them once or twice. A old buck knows he is vulnerable moving in daylight to escape the heat. The answer imo to any region is find those spots nobody has every thought to hunt and u will be surprised what lurks in the shadows. If u wanna do what everyone else does great! I suggest u buy a big spoon and some corn bread or biscuits to soak up all the tag soup. :lol: In any Endeavor the general masses fail miserably. What separates failure from those who are successful is 99% of the time miner stuff. Usually a state of mind and a willingness to do what the other guy wont!


completely agree. and those "honey comb hideouts" can be VERY difficult to access in the south. But that makes them that much better for the hunters willing to go the distance.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby dannyboy » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:39 am

The early season afternoon hunts are so difficult because of the hot,humid, and swirling winds. The mornings are cooler and more comfortable for them with a little more predictable winds. They also seem a little more relaxed after being out and about through the night
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby A5BLASTER » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:28 am

Twenty Up wrote:Southern Whitetails are a completely different sub-species than Midwestern and Northern deer. Our subspecies are “ mcilhennyi, osceola, and Seminolus “

https://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/i/p ... bution.pdf - (Subspecies Article)

I mention this because they act completely differently, think Beagle compared to a Lab..
Southern deer are more timid, cautious and smaller than their Northern & Midwestern counterparts.

Our unique weather plays a tremendous role in how they bed. We don’t get consistent, strong winds unless a front is pushing through. Our wind speed will generally be 0-7MPH down here, which means thermals play a huge role in how these animals bed and utilize the landscape. They’re going to bed up high and let the thermals come up to them, but in the mornings I believe they “stage” bed. In Hill country, I’ve found a lot of beds in open, hardwood hubs or thermal hubs. I believe the deer chew their cud in these open bottoms, letting the thermals from 2-3 ridges “fall” to them while watching their back trail. When the thermals switch, they rotate to their daytime beds (up high). I’ve seen too many deer from 8AM-10-30AM to believe otherwise.

I’ll add that I’ve had most of my success on mature bucks in the AM than PM.


That's not completely true.

The deer herd of Louisiana is made up of stocked deer brought into the state in the 50's and 60's if I remember correctly. The deer came from several mid west states.

That's why some parts of Louisiana the rut starts in September and as you move through the state the rut will move as well be gaining in September and ending in February depending on the area your hunting.

In my area it's 100% pine platations, long leaf pine and lobbloy pine is the main stay. When the timber company logs a area, that area will be fantastic as a feeding area aka clearcut but once the pines get to be about 5 to 15 foot tall, it will turn into bedding and the deer will start returning too more of a browse and hardmass diet from the surrounding creeks and drainages where the only hardwoods can be found.

These pine thicket's are so thick it's useless to try to hunt them except in late gun season on the most coldest of days.

The more mature pine plantings that have been wind rowed and allow you to get up the tree in a stand more then 15 foot tend to be the better bedding areas for the mature bucks. These areas are wide open underneath expect along transitions, like 2 stands of pines of diffrent age or along pipelines and powerlines and ofcourse along hillside drainages and creek bottoms. The best buck bedding I find in the mature pines is the almost impossible to see lil circular humps, some or most of these humps may only be higher then the surronding land by 6 inches to a foot and some as high as 2 foot. They are just out in the middle of nowheres. These humps tend to stay thick. So a buck will bed right up against it and beable too see a good ways down wind.

What I find is 99% of hunters won't go more then 50 yards off a trail, pipeline, powerline. Are they enter the woods vie wide open creeks where the oaks are and they hunt either in the creek are just on the pine edge of the creek So basicly they never break through the outer thick edge growth to see that the deer (younger bucks) and does are bedded most times within bow range right behind them watching them the whole time.

Now once you get past the outer edge and into the wide openness of a mature pine stand, what you will find is lil clumps of thick underbrush scattered through. This stuff grows where the opening in the canopy is just big enough to let in enough light and rainfall. And typically they are on a lil hump.

This is what my public lands look like for the most part, I do have a few oak thicket's on a few of them but I don't hunt them due too the deer activity is 100% nighttime because of the hunting pressure they draw. But I do hunt some of the edge thicket's that the bucks are useing as bedding. But for the most part the mature pines hold the bigger bucks.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby deer365 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:59 am

Good stuff here. I've hunted in North Central AR my whole life. Mostly rolling hills in my areas. It always amazes me the guys in the south that have never hunted any public just think it's just the craziest idea in the world to hunt public land and think it's going to be an absolute free for all when in reality the clubs or other private pieces they're hunting are just as pressured and in some cases are receiving more hunting pressure than the public lands.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby HeadHunting » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:31 pm

I know that this post may come with a fair amount of kickback but I have personally validated the theory that I will share here. Now I am no wildlife biologist by any means but when I commit myself to something I do not do so lightly. In all the research tha t I do on the subject of Whitetail deer, I came across Jeff Sturgis whom many of you may know from his YouTube channel Whitetail Habitat Solutions. Yes Jeff is a MidWest guy/hunter and this topic is about Southern hunting but he taught me something that applies to hunting no matter where you hunt. His statement that I keyed in on was that "the Whitetail rut will happen in your area the same time it does every year."

I was hugely skeptical at first and thought, like I am sure many of you are thinking now, this is the South and things are different down here. However I wanted to remain open-minded and set out to prove that statement either wrong or right. Where I hunt we keep our harvest data every year. I went back and tracked the harvests to the year I first started hunting again with my Dad. I noted the date and used my own harvests to add any certain aspects of the hunt that I could easily recall. The data led me to a pretty remarkable finding. Most of the bucks I had harvested were between December 26th through December 28th. Additionally I was able to note that these harvests all had rut activity associated with them, chasing does or scent checking scrapes. Further, I dug deeper and found two other supporting factors. Our (hunting club) overall harvest numbers spiked during a two-week period following Christmas and secondly going back and checking trail cam pictures I had saved, I noticed an increase in buck pictures during this time and also had pictures of bucks tending does on January 1st. I used this data this past year with my Dad harvesting on December 28th and I on January 5th.

So through my research, I agree with Jeff in that the rut will happen generally at the same time every year in your area. Activities during the rut can be affected by hunting pressure and weather. This can lead some to believe that there is no rut during certain years but trust me there is.

In listening to a podcast by THP the other day they had a wildlife biologist on and he stated that, nature has a way of balancing things in its favor. When it comes to the rut, breeding will happpen at a time when it aligns to the best time for fawning following the gestational period. For whitetail this is approximately 200 days. So when you start seeing fawns, the rut was approximately 200 days prior to that time.

I also believe there are secondary rut activities when fawns that reach 60lbs or more are bred. This generally happens 28 days following the main rut period. Any does not bred and these estrous fawns will be bred during the secondary rut.

While this may be debated, I urge you to conduct your own research prior to just dismissing this. I know I was thoroughly surprised by my findings.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby AppalachianArcher » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:35 am

Tennhunter3 wrote:In the early season afternoons alot of bucks go low elevation to water before they go to nighttime feeding. Think it has to do with the heat and humidity we get in the south.


I've got a trail camera out in a deep creek bottom where two opposite drainages come into it. There is a pretty worn trail crossing and there are little pools in the creek that are constantly full. Hoping to see some correlation with what you posted. I found this little spot that I don't think anyone has ever ventured into. The only thing is access may be a little tricky with where the known bedding area is located.
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Re: Southern Beasts Tactical Thread

Unread postby woodwes » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:49 am

HeadHunting wrote:In listening to a podcast by THP the other day they had a wildlife biologist on and he stated that, nature has a way of balancing things in its favor. When it comes to the rut, breeding will happpen at a time when it aligns to the best time for fawning following the gestational period. For whitetail this is approximately 200 days. So when you start seeing fawns, the rut was approximately 200 days prior to that time.

I also believe there are secondary rut activities when fawns that reach 60lbs or more are bred. This generally happens 28 days following the main rut period. Any does not bred and these estrous fawns will be bred during the secondary rut.

While this may be debated, I urge you to conduct your own research prior to just dismissing this. I know I was thoroughly surprised by my findings.


I agree. I hunt in one of the Gulf Coast counties of SW Alabama. Our bow season opens on 10/15 and the preponderance of fawns during that time and up through November are small and spotted. If you count back 200 days from 10/15 the date is 3/29. We generally recognize our main rut as occuring during late January and early February. Our gun season ends on 2/10. Anecdotal evidence - bucks chasing does during turkey season - suggest that we have one or more additional rutting periods. The thing that is frustrating about this situation is that I want to shoot some does during bow season but won't orphan spotted fawns. I get plenty of chances at does but it's often hard to pick out a dry doe.


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