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Deer Hunting:

2020 - 2021

My first hunt
                  for deer!
2014 - 2015
My second deer
2015 - 2016
My third deer season
2016 - 2017
My fifth deer
2018 - 2019
My sixth deer
2019 - 2020

2017-2018My Fourth Deer Season!
I had to cancel eight (8) hunting events due to either job or weather.

(standard firearms, statewide):
Saturday, October 21, 2017

No luck getting anything!

Today, though I was physiologically sick (bad cough, weakness, and fever) from working long hours,
I showed up to take my chances.  However, I did not see ONE DEER.

Though, nearby in the honey hole, Robert (my mentor) saw four near the close of the day.
He shot one big-bodied one after 4 p.m., but it ran way off through the briars.
We tracked it for nearly an hour, but Robert gave up.

4:19 a.m.
Getting an early start
7:20 a.m.
View from my new stand (to right)
7:28 a.m.
Ready for something to show

4:37 p.m.
Helping Robert track a lost deer
4:37 p.m.
One of the first blood drops tracking
4:51 p.m.
Right before giving up (next property)

6:28 p.m.
Me in my HECS uniform
7:02 p.m.
22 minutes past sun set
7:27 p.m.
Moon view while packing up to go

Panoramic view at 6:21 p.m. EDT -- almost sun set

Saturday, October 28 was a heavily rainy day, and my truck needed service anyway
Saturday, November 4 was a full moon, yet very warm, but my truck still needed additional service
Saturday, November 11 was cool and cloudy, but also windy; I cleaned up my garage instead

Saturday, November 18, 2017
sunrise:  7:04 a.m. EST  /  sunset:  5:28 p.m. EST
( I decided to focus more on Sandersville early, and Roanoke later on )

No luck getting anything!

7:08 a.m. EST
Starting the morning hunt
3:41 p.m. EST
Startng the evening hunt

The Oreo Hunt Club

my shadow at 9:32 a.m.
D.B. assists Robert
5-pointer by Robert
Aiming towards honey hole

wee hours Thursday, November 2, 2017
I caught Robert's funky-antlered buck on camera just 16 days before.

Black Friday, November 24
and Saturday, November 25

Friday sunset:  5:27 p.m. EST --and-- Saturday sunrise:  7:20 a.m. EST

Near the community of Dial in southern Fannin County

No luck getting anything!

My second cousin, Kerry, up near Blue Ridge, has access to a place way off the beaten track.
It is actually owned by his brother-in-law, George, and it resides on a narrow 6-acre tract of land.
I assumed that it was a rustic cabin in the woods...boy, was I surprised!

I hunted for both...
black bear...  ...and whitetail deer.    

I also had to listen out for any banjo playing!
 (This is near the site of the 1972 film "Deliverance")

Well..... The cabin was far  from rustic:

Actually, the cabin was quite nice and had so many nice amenities.

The oak tree where I hunted
Look down into the "holler"
Back up my right (towards cabin)
Getting ready to do this
The evening hunt was not productive, but it was interesting.

Panoramic view from my chair, next to a large white oak tree.

Fully suited up
Back to cabin for dinner
Hot tub (in mirror) was nice
My sleeping bag (on bed)

I was up at 5:45 a.m. the next morning. (George didn't have to wake me!)

early Saturday, November 25, 2017
Before the sun came up, I sprayed Harmon's rutting doe spray.

7:13 a.m. EST
The next day, especially before sunrise, was absolutely beautiful!

I came close to getting an 8-pointer, but I missed.  How disappointing!!

I just KNOW that the Harmon spray worked well in bringing that buck closer.

He came from my left (westward) at 40 yards.

Tree where George hunted
Shots removed deer's innards
Yes... he's a 3-pointer
Make-shift deer puller
Heading back to the cabin

George, however, got a 3-pointer, just as he was about to pack it up for the day!
I walked back to his tree where he shot it twice... entry & exit wounds are visible.
Eventually, Kerry and his son came along after they regained cell service and

then we all took turns dragging this buck's carcass through the woods.
Incidentally, we heard no banjo music
...or squealing pigs.

Kerry says that I might get to return before New Year's!
I want a REMATCH with that buck I missed.

Update:  It doesn't look like that will happen this year.
Kerry is very busy and the National Park system limits hunting in the area up to December 26
even though hunting in north Georgia is normally allowed until January 15.

 My work schedule changed as of November 28
which severely impacted my hunting schedule and plans.
I had hoped to get back to Sandersville in early December.

Saturday, December 2 was immediately after working long overnight hours on the job
Friday and Saturday, December 8/9 was a heavy snow event in the greater Atlanta area, with cold rain in Sandersville

December 16, 2017

sunrise:  7:27 a.m. EST  /  sunset:  5:26 p.m. EST

No luck getting anything!

shooting lanes at dawn
View of the two main shooting lanes from my stand.
Daybreak was very pretty at a brisk 28F.
The ground was frozen and all traces of corn had been devoured.
Early on, I keep the canopy net up to allow easy viewing just below the stand.

I finally have mastered my layering to keep warm.
My base layer and face cover is the HECS suit.
Everything camo is RealTree.

Wide panoramic shot from stand after dropping the canopy net.

          morning view of shooting lanes  doe
          hoof print  Robert
          and Mark
Late morning had some wind, and still no deer showed.
The open field has plenty of sign, though.
Robert and I grabbed some Chinese food for lunch, before the evening hunt.

          That had to hurt coming out!  old
            salt block with corn and Deer Cane around it  estrous urine wick with scraped ground beneath
Before beginning the evening, Robert and inspected D.B.'s stand and Edgar's stand.
D.B.'s area had serious buck droppings and Edgar's area had a plethora of dropped acorns.
Due to the size of the buck droppings, I promptly selected D.B.'s stand to hunt.
I also spread corn and Deer Cane and even put out a wick and sprayed estrous spray.

          evening hunt  during
          evening hunt
Notice that the mode of dress changes from when I do prep work to the actual hunt.

pathway to D.B.'s stand  looking up at stand  view
          from stand as evening hunt begins
On the way to, and view from D.B.'s stand.
D.B. finally clearly marked the pathway; it was so easy to go the wrong way!

          moment at sunset!  View
          to left and behind D.B.'s stand...  Only
          my Leupold scope could see better than this at 5:40 p.m.
That evening drew to a close with nary a deer.
Even though we tried to do all the right things, nothing showed.

(stalk hunting, firearms, statewide):

Saturday, November 18, 2017
[will postpone hunting in Alabama until a little later]

first hunt this season in Alabama:

  Sunday morning, December 24 [Christmas Eve]
sunrise:  6:42 a.m. CST

No luck getting anything!
...but it gave me a chance to do reconnaissance.

I got to Alabama a little too late on Saturday afternoon,
which only gave me a few minutes to hunt.
I was only able to check the camera in the southern Pine Grove; it had limited video.
The next morning was spent in the same stand.


I monitored all directions, but still no deer showed
anywhere near my stand in the southern pine grove.

I learned that more activity was actually on the turkey trail.
When I went around to check all the cameras, I saw this:

This buck showed
          up due west of my location
He showed up 10 minutes after I quit for the morning,
and exactly 40 minutes before I walked up to the same camera!

Additionally, I did learn about this mature
8-point buck seen around the property:

November 26, Turkey Trail
December 12, Turkey Trail

December 8, Chestnut Hill
This video was captured
immediately after the first snow of December!

I named him Elliot because of him losing one antler last winter:
(I have the shed that is missing in the photograph)
Yes!  I know that Elliot was a mule deer
in the animated feature Open Season.

Guess WHO I will be hunting for,
for the rest of
this season???

Also, Elliot may be coming around the front yard!
Just in case, I have a camera ready to capture him.

Seen from the side yard of the house;
some particular buck has gotten a lot of nerve
Fresh rubbing with shavings
on the ground!
I set up one of my older cameras in an attempt
to get Elliot (or another buck) in the yard

Saturday, December 30, 2017
(Sandersville, GA)
sunrise:  7:33 EST at a crisp 31F

No luck getting anything!

I got on site before Robert and D.B. this time;
Edgar was already there

Still waitin' for deer a couple of hours later


We stopped at noon and then we walked back to the trucks for lunch
This is the first time I was hunting with 3 other guys

New Years Day,

Monday, January 1, 2018
(Roanoke, AL)
sunset  4:45 p.m. CST

No luck getting anything!

Tim hunted that morning, but needed to go home for the evening.
I checked all the cameras on property and then began the hunt.

panoramic view from beginning of evening hunt
Panoramic View

so cold!!!
I had to stay bundled up due to cold wind

walking away from stand  Full Moon today; gleam on my truck
I left the stand at 5:15 p.m. (Alabama time) when it was 25F

A full moon rose after the sun went down

Friday, January 5, 2018
(Roanoke, AL)

The predicted weather for the
next weekend is expected to be just TOO cold!

Saturday -and then- Sunday,
January 13 / 14, 2018
(Sandersville, GA)

I chose to spend some much-needed time with family, instead.
Robert reported not seeing anything on Saturday.

This is the end of deer season for Georgia.

Saturday, January 20, 2018
(Roanoke, AL)

My job geared up and made me a lead tech for a project.
This Saturday and next (January 26) will have me stuck on the job


Friday and Saturday, February 2 & 3, 2018
 (Roanoke, AL)

No luck getting anything!

The tree stand on the turkey trail never got fully set up.
In the process of converting from support straps to ratchet straps,

the platform sloped backwards and we never got the time to correct it.
Sometimes, a third person can be really useful.

As a result, I used a small pop-up blind as a
contigency plan in an attempt to get this buck I call "Elliot."
I set this up right before dusk on Thursday and before the rains came.

setting up in field for first time
comparing color contrast of surroundings
first view from inside

front and back opened
stocking the inside of the blind
how it will look as deer walk by
I got this blind at BassPro for just $69 and also picked up
some heavy-duty tent stakes at Cabelas.

My first hunt was on Friday morning.
Elliot never showed; but two other bucks did.
A broken-antlered buck I call "Don Quixote" and a button buck I call "Sancho"
taken from the classic 1615 Spaniard epic by Miguel de Cervantes.

Per videos I have from all over the property, Sancho follows Don Quixote everywhere.
I saw them at about 7:06 a.m. CST; I took no shot but started to regret that later.

black in morning orange in afternoon

Just as Tim and I were about to wrap up on Saturday morning,
Elliot showed up on the bottom of the sloped Meadow.
Tim tried to get a bead on Elliot with his 30-30,
but as soon as Tim raised his rifle,
Elliot saw the movement and ran up the middle path of the pine grove.

Saturday evening, this occurred:

This happened at almost 8:30...  Late to the party, right?

Thursday and Friday, February 8 & 9, 2018

 (Roanoke, AL)

Sorry for delay on the update;
the last hunt will be posted eventually.

February 10th was end of deer season for Alabama.


This season, just like Seasons 1 and 2 were unfruitful.
We will move on from here.

ALABAMA and GEORGIA specifics:
Randolph County, AL

Washington County, GA

Randolph County in Alabama map

Alabama DCNR hunting & fishing regulations
Alabama DCNR
regulations .PDF

Washington County in Georgia map
Region 3 - East Central

Georgia DNR hunting regulations 2017-2018
Georgia DNR
regulations .PDF

Zone A -- Stalk / Firearms:
November 18 - February 10

(28.4 Mb: file is LARGE!)
October 21 - January 14

(34.6 Mb:  file is LARGE!)

Fannin County, GA

Region 1 - Northwest

Hunting Opportunity
November 2017.

October 21 - January 14

is meticulously developed
and proudly hosted by:
Mark Gainey
2017-2018, Mark Gainey