The Georgia bow season kicked off this past week amidst warm temperatures and unfavorable conditions across the south. And while some bowhunters stayed at the house waiting on cooler temperatures, others climbed into the stand for the annual kickoff to the best days of the year.
For one hunter, in particular, the time in the stand paid off big. In fact, in less than 24 hours, 2 buck tags were punched, and the season ended as quickly as it started. It was the story for Jake Wesley of Georgia. His season ended in 23 hours with two Pope & Young bucks. Here’s a look at his story.
I hunt in the central Georgia area. I don’t have a lease or family land, but I’ve done well with obtaining permission to hunt a number of properties within an hour from my house.
This season, I knew that I needed to try and get on a buck pretty early in the season because my wife and I have a baby boy due in October. I could see the writing on the wall. Once he arrived, my hunting opportunities would be very limited.
I’m typically not much of an early season hunter. I really enjoy cooler days, rather than sitting in the stand when it’s 90 degrees. However, I began running cameras on different tracts in July, trying to find some good deer to hunt.
Leading up to opening week, I had one nice 10-pointer patterned pretty well, but really wanted to find another option to better my chances. After securing permission on a new property, I immediately hung a camera and made a mock scrape on a hardwood ridge that was adjacent to what looked to be a bedding area. I had my hopes high that I could find a dominant buck that thought a new buck had moved into the area. It turned out that I was right. A large 10-pointer showed up in the daylight the day before season began.
Day 1 in Georgia
The wind was marginal on opening day, so I put my climber to the side of the scrape, where the wind would be best. Like clockwork, the large 10-pointer appeared around 6:40 that evening. I watched him for a few minutes as he cautiously made his way towards the scrape.
Once he started quartering away, I came to full draw. He was 30 yards away, and I was torn on trying to stop him, or shoot him on a slow, steady walk. I chose to do the latter and made a great shot. He ran to the top of the ridge and out of sight.
I didn’t see him go down, so I was apprehensive about getting excited. However, as I tracked the blood, the trail got better, and the excitement grew. I topped the hill, and there laid my #1 target buck. I sat there in silence with it for a few minutes to appreciate the moment, as well as the fine beast that was going to feed my family for the coming year.
Once the deer was dropped off, I began to plan for deer #2. He had shown up on trail camera at the other farm at the same time I was killing my #1 buck. For the 2nd day of the season, the wind would again be marginal for that area. At 4:00pm, I slipped into the best tree I could find and began the long, hot wait.
As the golden hour began to draw near, I had four smaller bucks come under my stand, eating muscadines and acorns. They fed around for 20 minutes before their attention began to focus on another approaching deer. Unbeknownst to me, my target buck was already about 40 yards away.
Day 2 in Georgia
The buck saw me stand and ran out to about 80 yards to the top of a hardwood ridge. The sun was like a spotlight on him as he stood there blowing and stomping.
Fortunately for me, 2 does came in from behind me and walked right past my stand.
Once the buck saw the does, he began to calm down and actually started back in my direction. He made it to 45 yards, but wouldn’t come and inch closer.
After 15 minutes of watching the does feed around the area, the buck had calmed down and began to feed on muscadines. I decided he was calm, and so was I. I drew my bow, settled the pin, and put the arrow right through his vitals. Much like the 10-pointer on the previous day, he disappeared on top of the ridge.
I followed the blood trail for 80 yards before finding the buck just over the ridge top. I had killed 2 bucks in just 23 hours! My Georgia buck tags were filled. My season had ended as quickly as it started. And with a baby on the way, my wife and I are both okay with that.