Zachery Bond | Mossy Oak ProStaff
Since Alabama has lengthened its deer season until February 10, hunters in south Alabama are seeing sights they’ve never seen previously. I’m seeing bucks 3-1/2 to 5-1/2-years old with their noses to the ground, trailing does and actively chasing them. I believe our south Alabama rut even may go past February 10. However, if the state legalized deer hunting past February 10, the deer hunters would interfere with the small game hunters, and the woods wouldn’t have long enough to rest before Alabama’s turkey season arrived in mid-March. So, we south Alabama hunters definitely have seen some major changes in when, where and how we can hunt deer in February. These changes definitely have been better for the south Alabama deer hunter, and I believe for the deer herd there.
I’ve become a traveling hunter. When I was younger, I mainly hunted in Alabama around the Mobile region. But today, I take trips each year to hunt out of state. In late January, I’m going to hunt ducks in Texas with my friend, Blake Hamilton, who once worked for Mossy Oak. In 2017, around the end of September and the first of October, I took my wife Jenna with me to hunt near McArthur, Ohio, and she took a buck deer at 65 yards that scored 157 inches with her .270 Remington rifle – the biggest buck she’d ever taken. I took a 137-inch buck there with my bow.
Although my wife and I traveled north, the temperatures still were in the 60s and 70s in Ohio when we were hunting deer there. Ohio allowed baiting for deer, and the landowner had those deer patterned for us. But as you all know, nothing in hunting is a sure thing. However, we knew on this hunt that at least we’d see bucks. My bow shot with my Elite bow with a Rage broadhead was 26 yards.
Another state where I like to hunt is Missouri where some really nice bucks have been produced. I took a very nice, 5-1/2-year-old, 6-point buck that weighed 230 pounds - far bigger than most of the bucks we ever see in Alabama - with my bow there. I’ve also hunted deer in Kentucky, Texas, Mississippi and Illinois. But I just can’t seem to take a big buck in Illinois, and I don’t know why. I enjoy hunting out of state several times a year to see different country and try to take bucks bigger than those on my Alabama land.
One of the main reasons I travel and hunt is because during gun season in Alabama, the deer are receiving so much pressure, and I’m not nearly as likely to take an older-age-class buck, especially with my bow, during gun deer season. However, when I hunt out of state, my opportunities to see and take a nice buck are much greater. I can literally chase the deer rut in the Midwest long before the rut starts in Alabama where I hunt during the February deer season.