Deer Hunting in South Carolina: Bucks and the Rut

Question: “I deer hunt a suburban tract of woods directly behind my house. I live on the edge of a subdivision and own the 50×100 yards of woods that divide the subdivision and a horse farm. Its a natural funnel for whitetail deer that are traveling between two large-acre tracts of woods and I regularly see 18 to 25 deer a day walking through.

I shot a big, well for South Carolina, 8 point buck last week during the first days of the rut. I just moved here last spring and have never hunted in this type of situation before and never put much thought into this but… I know bucks get territorial during the rut. I do know this was the 8 pointers main area because I watched him run a nice 10 point out about two weeks ago.

My question… how soon will a buck ‘replace’ the 8 pointer that I shot and move into his territory? Or is this even how it works. I haven’t seen or got any pics of the 10, 12 or two other 8’s since the deer rut started. I still see three 4 pointers and a 6 point. Please help me on this if you can.

Also whats a good supplement to encourage antler growth, and will it work? The deer in my area eat about 100 pounds of corn and 100 pounds of sweet feed a week. Yes, I have a honey hole. I walk 20 yards to my blind and hunt. Thanks.”

Deer Hunting in South Carolina

Deer Hunting Pros: Okay, lots to cover regarding your suburban deer hunting. First, congrats on your honey hole hunting property. Also, good deal on the big 8 point buck that you shot. It sounds like you may need to take a few does, as well, if the numbers are as high as they sound.

Whitetail deer are territorial to an extent, but bucks can not typically contain and entire area to themselves. That said, as deer numbers increase the area that a deer uses can become smaller. Mature bucks can protect food sources quite well because of their larger body sizes. This deer may have been the king of the feed on your property, but now that he’s gone that will change.

With the rut underway, don’t look for any particular buck movement into the area on a permanent basis. Bucks are less concerned with feed and more concerned with finding a doe in estrus. However, this will change once all of the receptive does have been covered and rut runs its course. Bucks use a lot of energy during the rut and will turn back to high quality food sources to regain lost body mass. This may be after the deer hunting season.

Expect one of the bucks that you’ve seen previously (if not shot by someone else) to become the the new boss. If you’ve got good, constant food post-rut their will be a buck or two setting up shop on your property. As for antler growth, feed a pelleted deer protein feed in a free-choice feeder (all they can eat) that is at least 16 percent protein. It will without a doubt help with antler growth. However, it can be costly.

I would recommend reducing the deer herd, especially does, before feeding to get maximum antler gain without completely draining your bank account. A deer will consume about 2 pounds of free-choice protein feed per day. If you’ve got 25 deer in the area that could be as much as 50 pounds a day. Corn is a good attractant before and during the deer hunting season, but it will do nothing for body and antler growth. Best of luck with the honey hole!

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