John Dolan wrote in with his account of an incredible few days of hunting an overlooked spot which held some hot feed trees in the great state of Georgia. Finding a hot feed tree is one of the best ways to consistently get on deer across the southeast, specifically when the feed trees are within close proximity to great cover, such as a pine thicket!
For a great listen on how to apply this tactic where you hunt, make sure to listen to episode 130 "Feed Trees, Thickets & Woodsmanship with Robert Carter" from The Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast. Robert is an extremely accomplished traditional bowhunter from Georgia and in that episode we dive deep into the topic of targeting the right feed tree!
First off y’all have the best podcast for southern deer hunters! I’ve listened to y’all since 2018 and have put several different podcasts into play to make it happen.
This was a hunt that happened quick but with 4 years of experience in the area with the first year not being able to recover a buck I shot the first time in the area. This was and still is an over looked spot that every year I am able to go in to with confidence that no one has hunted it.
This is normally just a meat hunt but there is always potential of killing a good buck on the property. I did a quick scout in the area as I try to do every year just to make sure the deer are still using it. On the back side of one ridge there has always been historical buck rubs on small pines about the size of your wrist.
This year the white oaks were loaded and acorns were raining out of the trees, enough if you were standing under them it would just about knock you out! I decided because of the burn in the area I was gonna sit the back of the ridge towards the drainage creek due to blow overs in the bottom and a thick stem count the deer had to funnel into the area.
Opening morning of the hunt came and as I got in a set up a good hour before daylight I heard the cadence of a deer coming up behind me. The deer walked up under my tree and I could hear it eat a few acorns and heard it scratch itself. As it walked away on the dark I could tell it had to be a buck and sounded heavy on the leaves. As grey light finally arrived I had two doe come from the same direction and shot the biggest one 10 foot from the tree. After about 9 am I got down to get the doe out and to the check station.
That evening I got back to my same tree without bumping any deer. I seen another doe and decided to let her walk since I still had two more days to hunt. I watched a bobcat come by smelling the blood of the doe I shot that morning and slipped the way I got the deer out. I decided I’m going to hunt this area one more time in search of a buck, then go to a new spot I scouted. Friday morning came and I was in the tree a hour and a half before daylight. During my sit waiting patiently for grey light and listening the the raining acorns and for the sounds of deer walking I seen a shooting star.
Grey light finally arrived! The morning hunt was short! As I waited for a deer I heard a deer blow but not the kind where it’s loud and alarming. I couldn't really tell where it came from! I sat there patiently waiting and about 7:38am I heard a heavy walking deer coming from in from of me and as I grabbed the gun from gear strap on the tree I noticed movement not 20 yards in front of me through the tree limbs.
Then as the deer got to about 15 feet from me all I seen was a rack on his head! He walked out to the exact spot I shot the doe the morning before and was only 10 feet from my tree. As I took the shot all I could remember is I seen something different on his head! He ran across the drainage ditch and crashed about 30 yards!
Needless to say It took everything I had to stop shaking and start climbing down the tree to pack up my sticks and platform. After getting up to him and laying my hands on him I realized this was a older deer and that what I thought was different on his rack was true. This is my best public land buck for Georgia. When I got him to the check station they aged him at 4 1/2 years old 13 point and he was 165lbs dressed putting him at 202 live weight. Thank you for all the podcast y’all produce! They help give me ideas that I can use and try different things to be successful in the woods.
- John Dolan