Editor’s Note: Forty-seven year old Kevin Faver of St. Augustine, Florida, is a charter-boat captain. “But I always tell people I fish to hunt,” Faver says. “I’ve been wearing Mossy Oak my entire hunting career and been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 5 years.”
I have property that I hunt in south Georgia as well as in Florida, my home state. In south Georgia, from October 20 through November 14, the deer there go into the rut. In Florida, we have what we call a triple rut. All bucks in Florida start rutting in August, and they well be in rut until January. Throughout that whole time, we will see fresh scrapes and rubs. From what I have learned and read, this is because the ratio of bucks to does is so heavily skewed. Because of the number of does, there is no way that a small number of bucks can breed the does the first time they come into estrus. So, unlike the rest of the country, we don’t have that 2- to 4-week period of time, when bucks are out cruising, looking for, and/or chasing does. I think another problem is that because the vegetation is so thick in Florida, the bucks can’t find does as easily as they can in states with less vegetation. Very rarely will you ever hear a deer hunter in Florida say, “I took a buck that was chasing a doe.”
Another problem we have in Florida, besides the thick foliage and the triple rut, is over the years, due to the heavy hunting pressure, our deer have become nocturnal. Having established those parameters, I can explain why the biggest buck I ever have taken with my bow in Florida was a small 6 point that I was very proud to have harvested. I was hunting an old logging road that had a scrape line on one side of the road. The weather was cool for Florida in November. On this weekend, the University of Florida was playing the University of Georgia in football, a really-big deal in Jacksonville, Fla., where the game was being played. All my friends and neighbors were either Florida or Georgia fans. But even though the game was on TV, the weather was just so beautiful, I opted to go bowhunting instead of watching the football game.
The wind was right for hunting the old logging road stand. I saw a doe and a yearling buck, and they came within bow range. I took the doe. While I was in my stand, I texted my wife, “I just took a big doe, but I’m going to stay in my stand and try and take a big buck, instead of coming home now.” I heard, and then I saw this 6-point buck running and walking down the logging road toward me. Very rarely have I ever heard a deer grunt in Florida. Apparently the doe that I just had shot was in heat, and this buck was following her. When the buck got within 24 yards, almost in the same spot where the doe had been standing, I released my arrow.
Neither the doe nor the buck had spotted me in the tree, because I was wearing my Mossy Oak Break-Up camouflage. When the buck took the arrow, he jumped straight-up. Then he ran into the thickest, nastiest brush you ever could imagine. Luckily, I had a really-good blood trail to follow to find my deer. In the woods where I hunt, if you don’t have a good blood trail, and a deer goes into some heavy cover like this buck did, then more than likely, you won’t be able to recover your deer. In Kansas or Indiana where I sometimes hunt, I often can watch a deer after I shoot it go for a long ways and even may see it fall. But in Florida, we generally don’t have a field of view from a tree stand for more than 20 or 30 yards. So, when the deer takes the arrow, often you never may see him again. Most of the time, he will go into thick cover. You can’t see where he’s gone, and you can’t hear him when he falls.