Always Prepare for Next Years Hunt
Nile Anderson chased his buck in Georgia for several years before he tagged it. Not only is the deer extremely impressive, but the sequence of events that led Nile to this spot are too.
We often talk on the show about one of the most effective strategies being building your knowledge of an area up over a several year period. For many of our guests, as well as ourselves, our best success usually comes in year 2 or 3 of hunting a particular area.
There is something to be said for traveling to hunt new areas and learning what they have to offer, but I would venture to say that if you do that without first learning your "home area" you are missing out on something. Having a place you come back to year after year is a truly excellent way to finely tune your woodsmanship. As you get more and more familiar with an area you will start to notice the small details that you'd miss if you were just passing through.
Nile found a lot of good information in some interviews on The Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast. Some of the guests hunted very similar terrain to him, with a few of the guests being from his town. This is the entire goal of the show - to capture knowledge from hard hunting, highly skilled locals who hunt the same public lands and private leases that we all hunt. We believe this is the most relatable, and useable content you can possibly find in the deer hunting world. No matter where you are from, you can find information local to you in the Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast Library.
Let's jump in to this awesome story on a Georgia mountain monarch with Nile Anderson:
I started listening to the show around 2 - 3 years ago I believe. First of all just want to thank you guys! I live in the north Georgia mountains and hunt really steep terrain with tons of mountain laurel and rhododendrons and low deer density areas.
It all started when my dad thought of an area that he figured would be a good place to go check out in an area we already hunt frequently. We decided to walk in there one day and it didn’t take long and we started seeing some huge rubs on what dad called alders (I’m not sure if that’s the right name or spelling but they turn really red when horned which makes them easy to spot) and most of them were as big as your calf or bigger. This was late in the season so we didn’t have a lot of time left to do anything about it that year, so the next year we got a camera in there and got our first picture of this really nice sized 8 point with a tear in his right ear.
That was the biggest buck we had gotten on camera to date so I decided this buck definitely needed all my time in the woods dedicated to him.
I was just getting back into hunting. I wasn’t as interested in it during high school so I had a lot to learn. The place that we had pics of the deer was an extremely thick laurel thicket that was pretty much impossible hunting so I spent most of the 2019 - 2020 season in an area that was near the place we had located the deer. That year I ended up never seeing the buck.
Late in the 2020 season I moved to another spot on the other side of the mountain. It was a spot my dad had frequented over the years and had seen some good deer. On Dec. 5 it was a rainy morning and the ground was wet and suddenly a doe popped up to my right. I heard a limb pop behind me to my left so I turned to look and heard something running back where the doe was. I looked to see this big wide rack buck with glowing red antlers from horning the alders. I knew it had to be him.
He ran the doe right by me and never stopped for a shot even after me yelling and trying my dangdest to get him to. But that clued me in that he was using both sides of the mountain. At this point I had became somewhat obsessed with the podcast and had started learning some things on my own without dads help. This was around the time that Austin Vinson (ep. 217) killed some giant bucks not far from my house. I heard about him and a buddy told me that y’all had him on the podcast so I listened to that episode a few times and really started diving in to how he described big bucks using thickets.
This is also where my info from Nathan killen has helped. So after hearing the common theme of hunt the thick stuff on the podcast when the 2021 season came around I did just that. I hunted thicket edges all season and I looked for compounding terrain/vegetation features which I believe is something Josh Driver really preaches. I had almost given up hope on that buck but I still stayed in the same area. I saw more deer in the mountains that season than I have ever seen in all the years before put together. Even though I had figured out how to find deer it seemed that I still hadn’t figured out how the big ones were using the area.
I ended up killing a decent 3 year old 7 point in 2021 that we had pics of in the same area as the big 8. We had pics of the big 8 again in 2021 except he now had a split brow tine. I was proud of the 7 point but was still thinking about the bigger deer we had in there. I realized that I may be on to something in the area that I killed the 7 point because if he used both of those places maybe the bigger one would too. So I hunted that area a few more times with no sign of the big one.
Well one of the times I went in there I took a buddy with me and I sat him in another spot I had picked on a map, again based on what I had learned from Austin Vinson/Josh Driver/ Nathan Killen. He ended up missing a decent 8, not the big one but still a good buck he said. With that hunt being one of the last of the season that bring us to 2022. This year has been tough because of a failed acorn crop. I had been hitting some of the same spots I had saw some deer last year with no luck at all. When I had been seeing deer very consistently the year before.
I had been thinking about the spot I put my friend in and realized that it was a very good travel route to go from one side of the mountain to the other. I decided to go in there and see if there was any sign or anything. I got up and was running a little late so I usually still hunt my way in when that happens. I got about 30 yards from where I was gonna sit and heard walking in the leaves and immediately knew it was a deer.
I looked toward the sound and saw a big dark colored deer walking and I threw the scope up and saw a flash of beam before he went behind a pine tree. The buck stood with his head behind the pine. This whole time my wind is hitting me in the back of the head and I know he’s about to wind me. So I had a tiny gap right past the pine tree he was behind and I thought to myself, "if he steps right there I'm trying to put one through". So he did and I saw that big beam come out and then put the crosshairs behind his shoulder and shot him.
At this time I had no clue what deer this was but I knew it was big. So I walked down to him and lifted up his rack and saw the split brow tine and tear in his ear and realized I had just killed the buck I had been after for 3 years. I immediately called pretty much my whole family. And it was one of the happiest moments of my life and my biggest deer to date in one of the toughest places to hunt that’s out there. After I killed the buck I realized that there was another episode that I had used a technique from and I didn’t really realize it until after the deer was dead. The episode was 368 with Adam Tucker.
Adam lived in the same area I do and we grew up in the same town. This area was filled with rock cliffs and very aggressive terrain and I think that might have been the difference in the mediocre bucks I have been seeing and seeing the type deer I wanted to see. Another episode I would like to mention that I feel like is a very underrated episode is episode 297 with Bobby Worthington. Closing the deal. That can sometimes be the hardest part of a hunt and I feel like people don’t prepare for that moment of truth when the opportunity of a lifetime comes.
I had this deer get by me once because I wasn’t ready and didn’t assess the situation quick enough but luckily I got another chance at him. I appreciate yall's help with the content you guys put out.
This deer may not be as impressive on some other regions or even other places in Georgia but for our area he’s about as big as they come and you guys helped me accomplish it Thanks guys!
- Nile Anderson
To load up on all the information Nile used to find success, check out the following episodes of The Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast:
217 - Vertical Access for BIG MOUNTAIN BUCKS with Austin Vinson
368 - BIG BUCKS in AGGRESSIVE TERRAIN with Adam Tucker
171 - The Guide to Hunting OLD BUCKS with Nathan Killen
141 - FIND AND HUNT A Bucks Core Area with Josh Driver