Well, so far, not so good! At least that is the reports I keep getting from a number of hunters across central Alabama. Not much deer movement being reported and many folks are using the time wisely to go ahead and thin their deer herds of excess does and a few cull bucks. As for me, I have had a very dry start and must admit that I have not done much hunting up to this point in the season.
I went bow hunting twice with no luck unless you want to call seeing a few does and they were not close enough to make me want to ‘take out” one of them, so I just sat in a tree and got fussed at by several squirrels in the oak tree I was perched in. They just considered me a pest that deserved a “distance cussing” from the top limbs where they were eating and dropping acorns at a fast clip, so much that I believe they were trying to acorn-bomb me.
I went gun hunting last week and saw absolutely zero deer but, the warm sun made fro some good sleeping on the stand in my ground blind. I would not have minded waking up to see a nice buck in the hardwood bottom where I was set up but, I didn’t even see a squirrel!
Oh well, I plan to get out in the woods on Friday and Saturday this week and look for a couple of does to restock the freezer before the season gets going in pre-rut activity. Depending on where you hunt, the pre-rut could get started in the next week or two.
Generally, the pre-rut activity starts in north central Alabama in early to mid December and the the actual rut follows it by 4 to 6 weeks. I talked to a hunter today who said they are already seeing scrapes and a couple of rub lines where he hunts in Chilton and Bibb county. I plan to hunt in Tuscaloosa and Greene County this weekend so I will be on the look out for pre-rut signs in the woods I hunt.
Pre-rut can be a very good time to create some activity by making a “mock-scrape”. There are various makers of scrape imitator scents so check at your favorite retailer for those products and use them to create a scrap that could attract the local dominant buck to a spot you choose to make that early season shot!
Rattling, even in Alabama can be most productive in the pre-rut period of deer season, especially if you do some light, “low key” rattling of some antlers to mimic a couple of bucks just testing each other a little and not the antler banging knock down rattling like you might hear later in the deer season as the rut peaks.
I like to hunt aggressively, especially early in the season, before the bucks get nocturnal.. or get dead! Try making some mock scrapes, a mock rub, light rattling, grunting with your favorite grunt tube, and you might turn a boring early season “snoozer” of a hunt into a hunt to remember with an early trip to the taxidermist!
If you don’t want to buy some mock scrape products, you can make some pretty good stuff to create a mock scrape if you have access to different tracks of deer woods to retrieve some deer dropping from and if you can find some good buck droppings in one location, mix them with some water and put the strained out mix in a spray bottle or you can just pour the mix out after you dig out a scrape on a different property. I also like to add a few small pieces of the solid droppings, especially if the spot is in a promising location to make the mock scrape look even more real to the deer who visit it. I have used this method for more than 30 years and I have had some good results by making my own buck scents and spraying or pouring in a scrape that I create or in a natural scrape made by another buck on the property.
Deer live, love, socialize and even die by their sense of smell. Use that to your advantage to bring a buck by your chosen location!