Rut Reporter Eric Bruce has been writing about hunting and fishing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years and hunts deer all over the South, including near his Georgia home. States covered: AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL.
Early season hunting can be tough, especially for mature bucks. With the rut still a month or more away, it can be difficult to find bucks because they move very little. Bucks will typically be close to their food sources and will be bedding close by.
For most of the summer, bucks congregate into bachelor groups of all males and hang around together. As the rut approaches, the bucks will disband and go their own ways and find their own fortunes. If you can intercept a band of bachelor bucks between their bed and food, you will have an exciting opportunity.
That’s exactly what happened to Alex Debord of Waleska, Georgia. Over the summer, he and his buddies had done their due diligence and had faithfully scouted and monitored trail cameras. They had located an impressive eight pointer that they nick-named “Sticker 8” and put him on their “hit list.”
Opening day in Georgia, Sepetmber 10, was the day it all came together for DeBord in Pickens County. As part of a team named “High Caliber,” they are filming their hunts this year for a DVD. Opening afternoon Debord climbed into his stand at 3pm with his camerman Stephen Phillips and the action started immediately.
Debord recalls, “I hung my bow on my hanger as Miles worked with the camera to get it mounted and as we were preparing for our hunt, movement up the ridge to our backs caught my attention. Adrenaline raced through my body as I saw 5 bucks making their way towards us. I hastily told my partner and he immediatley informed me that the Sticker 8 was out front of the pack. Excitement soon turned to panic as I realized not only had I not yet knocked an arrow, I hadn’t even put my release on!”
Debord frantically got his bow ready as the bachelor group of five bucks were headed his way. The bowhunter was able to calm down, draw his bow, get the go-ahead from the cameraman, and let it fly. “As the command came through from my cameraman, I sent the 100 Grain Slick Trick flying home. I watched as the Sticker 8 jumped, giving me signs of a solid hit. The sound of him crashing in the distance was almost as exciting as realizing my partner above had just captured the whole thing on film. I couldnt believe it.
“We found great blood immediately and soon topped a small hump and spotted him, those mighty velvet clad horns propped up against a fallen log. It was a sense of relief and exhilaration I had only found in my dreams as I wrapped my hands around his bases.”
The trophy eight pointer was still in velvet, scores about 128 and weighed 140 pounds.