Time spent learning the area you deer hunt, whether you are learning through hunting, scouting or both, is like an investment. It should compound over time, and eventually pay off in a big way.
This was the case with Lee Williams of Florida on some recent trips he made to hunt Alabama. As you will hear in his story below he learned this area over the span of a few years, and it eventually paid off with a great buck!
Terrain played a huge role in this hunt. For a deep dive on everything you need to know about using terrain for mature bucks, go listen to episode 428 of the Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast, available anywhere podcasts are found.
I’m from Florida and hunt both private and public here and also some private in GA. I started going to hunt the piece of public in AL where I killed this buck three years ago and had never hunted in anything with the hills like this WMA.
I had been listening to the podcast for a little while before I started hunting up there and probably wouldn’t have had too much success without it!
The first year I hunted I was sitting on the east side of a saddle and had a smaller buck come over the saddle and look directly at me and got crapped all over by him and didn’t see much for deer after that on that trip. The second year I hunted and did some more map scouting and listening and found some stuff I liked on the map. Got there the night before the hunt so went back to where I had sat the year before and didn’t see anything that day. It was raining the next morning so waited for it to slack off before I went in to hunt my way into the spot I found on the map.
Got two thirds of the way down the ridge and bumped one of the bigger bucks I had ever seen so I hunted that block for the rest of the hunt and never saw him until I was headed back to camp on the last night of the hunt I’m 95% sure he crossed the hard road in front of me going back into the block I was hunting. So the third year I looked into where he was coming from and found a ridge that ran down and split at the end of it but on either side where it split had saddles. I then went back up into two knobs over a bottom.
I got there a day before the hunt, went in and scouted it. About 150 yards from the end of the ridge I jumped some does, so I backed out and went back in to the end of the ridge the next morning. I ended up seeing three does and that was it all day. The next morning I went back and sat the same spot didn’t see anything until around 9 I had a small buck feed across the saddle and up onto one of the knobs.
About the same time he walked off I heard some deer running and looked to the south and a doe came running up the ridge and then another behind her and this 8 was behind her! He chased her behind some blow downs and she finally came out and lead him about 80yds from me when I was able to shoot him. I probably wouldn’t have killed him without the podcast about the terrain , thick pines and overlooked spots. Before y’all’s show I didn’t even know what a saddle was so that’s how new it all was to me. The spot I hunt in GA I’ve killed 4 mature deer two being 129 and 131 a 7 that was about 110 and another 115down in a thermal hub and didn’t realize that is what it was till after listening to the show. Might not make it up this year cause we just had a baby in November but I’m pretty fired up about some stuff Scott and Nick was talking about. (see episodes 435 & 428 of The Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast)
- Lee Williams