For all of the big game hunters located in and around Jackson and Gadsden counties, the rut has begun! Let the good times roll.
During the past 10 days, the “big boys” have emerged from hiding and are showing up on numerous trail cameras. A growing number are posing for pictures for local hunters lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. While I congratulate everyone who has already connected with the deer of their dreams, there is one Jackson County hunter who has really done well this year with two fine bucks.
To quote Donald Bland, even a blind hog finds an acorn every once in a while, and he has found two that I’m sure can be wall hangers.
With that said, in the area west of Sneads where we hunt bucks are also showing up for us now – in the daylight, no less. Just this morning, a nice-sized six-point was chasing a doe all over the place, worrying her to death and not letting her stand still or rest.
In addition to all of this wide-open activity, scrapes are starting to appear in numerous places and are actively being checked. This is the time to be in the woods, people! If you’re not there, you can’t bring the bucks home, or a doe for that matter.
This Saturday and Sunday are special days for our hunt zone, west of Leon County. It’s “anterless weekend” in some areas, and with that taking place, it brings with it some special problems. After all, how many of you would take your legal doe right now, knowing a big eight-point could be right behind her, about to step out into your world? Makes you think, doesn’t it?
In any case, be sure to check your Florida hunting regulations to make sure you are legal to take anterless deer in your area. Believe it or not, you can actually help the deer population by reducing the number of does a tract of land has to sustain. And that’s hard for some to understand, fully.
Many years ago, a number of us got involved with “deer management” and met with numerous experts for guidance. The experts scouted our area, and determined an estimated ratio of bucks to does. We were very nervous at the amount of does they wanted removed each year. Long story short, we didn’t trust them, but followed their advice, nonetheless.
We started off with “no-spikes” or four-points to be taken, and we removed around 12 does. We thought the world was coming to an end!! Then, after about three years of that, the small six-point bucks were placed off limits. Man, did that go against the grain! But five years after we started, you had to hang on to your stand while the adrenaline kicked in when a big buck walked out. It was magic!
I can honestly say I walked the woods for 35 years or so hunting that big 11-point I have on the wall. When he was officially scored, one point lacked 1/8-inch in length, making him a 12-point. Didn’t matter to me. I’m still happy!
Y’all be careful out there, and tell me some deer stories, both good and bad. Who knows? You may just get acknowledged for your skill and determination.