The majestic mountain buck...what's the big deal?

Thread starter #1
I see all these posts about these mountain bucks and folks that seem to hold them in such high regard. Are they smarter than a flat lander buck? Is it because you have to walk up and down a bunch of hills to kill them? Is it because there are not many so when you actually kill one it's a great feat? :huh:
 
I've never hunted in the mountains. But I imagine it is a combination of the rugged terrain which makes any kill harder earned. Also, people I talk to that live and hunt in North Georgia all say they just don't have the deer up there that we have in other parts of the state for a variety of reasons. And last, if you love the mountains, and I do, that just makes the hunt even better.
 
Come up here and kill one on the National Forest. Then you'll know. It's a whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole different hunting world up here. I pretty much equate a legal NF mountain forkhorn with a 140" flatland private land buck. Seriously. Try a county with <100 total deer kills in a year with steep terrain and dense thickets and public hunting pressure. Walk two miles at a 45-degree angle into your hunting area. Sit there for three weeks before you see a buck. Drag said buck back out. You'll understand. :)
 

bowbuck

Senior Member
Killing one is a cool thing. Could happen to anyone that can walk and squeeze a trigger that wakes up on time.

Kill one every year or every 3 years that scores over 100" and you have upped your deer hunting game above about 95% of the population. The deer hunting in middle and south GA is 100 times easier than hunting here. I have a friend in Southwest GA that sees more deer in an evening on a food plot than I will see an entire season in Northeast GA.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
Come up here and kill one on the National Forest. Then you'll know. It's a whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole different hunting world up here. I pretty much equate a legal NF mountain forkhorn with a 140" flatland private land buck. Seriously. Try a county with <100 total deer kills in a year with steep terrain and dense thickets and public hunting pressure. Walk two miles at a 45-degree angle into your hunting area. Sit there for three weeks before you see a buck. Drag said buck back out. You'll understand. :)
Reason I don't hunt mountains any more. Above my pay grade. Hat's off to you guys that get it done walking up n down hollers, hills and mountains. Then when you do get one you gotta get it out! Killed a mountain buck in 1976 on Coopers Creek hunt. Had to drag it up a mountain to a logging road and then drag it back out. I was 20. That was my last. Bout got the best of me in my youth. Can't imagine you old codgers climbing those hills...much less packing it out. I'll stick to these lowlander piedmont critters that are running around everywhere.
 
I'm a member of a club in Hancock county, but live an grew up in the mountains, I can assure you, hunting deer in both places is like night and day, now I will agree, a deer is a deer, but with low deer density, and square mile after square mile of nearly inaccessible country, it's extremely difficult to pinpoint an ambush point for a mountain buck. And during the rut, a mature mountain buck might actually pull out of his core area and travel to the next county, I know in Hancock county, pretty much every buck shot, someone on our lease or the neighbors have trail cam pics of it, you might get a pic of a mountain buck, and never see or hear of it's whereabouts ever again. I will say though, just because a buck was shot in a mountain county, doesn't mean it's a mountain buck, now hear me out, we have some fairly big valleys here, deer densities in the valleys are much better, not quite what it would be in say Hancock county, but the deer in the valleys are not all that different to hunt than piedmont deer, just like union county has a lot of deer reported killed, a very small percentage of those actually came from the North and eastern end of the county. In reality, they are no smarter than any other deer, their just harder to cross paths with.
 
Come up here and kill one on the National Forest. Then you'll know. It's a whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole different hunting world up here. I pretty much equate a legal NF mountain forkhorn with a 140" flatland private land buck. Seriously. Try a county with <100 total deer kills in a year with steep terrain and dense thickets and public hunting pressure. Walk two miles at a 45-degree angle into your hunting area. Sit there for three weeks before you see a buck. Drag said buck back out. You'll understand. :)
Not interested (in 140" fork horns, steep hills to drag said for right horn, or 3 weeks between deer sightings). But to the guys who kill em, good on y'all. Impressive.
 
Not interested (in 140" fork horns, steep hills to drag said for right horn, or 3 weeks between deer sightings). But to the guys who kill em, good on y'all. Impressive.
I think the point of the OP is why do folks value a nice mountain buck more than a flatland buck? Until you've hunted the mountains, you wouldn't understand it. I hunt both. It's night and day. It actually gets boring sometimes sitting and seeing a bunch of deer every day.
 
I have. Spent a good part of my college and after college years in Habersham. Did a good bit of deer hunting up there. Really enjoyed the turkey hunting, still do. Maybe the Hab isn't mountain enough.
 
I agree that the terrain makes it a tougher hunt. Especially when it comes to getting the deer out as well as population. But a deer in the mountains is no more majestic than any other deer. Just saying. And I would much rather shoot the 140 inch than a fork horn. More meat, plus my taxidermist will make some money.
 

Nicodemus

FREELANCE ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
I ran the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina a good bit from the early 70`s through about 80 or 81 hunting and fishing. It has its unique challenges.

No matter where your deer is killed, it should be shown respect.
 
I ran the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina a good bit from the early 70`s through about 80 or 81 hunting and fishing. It has its unique challenges.

No matter where your deer is killed, it should be shown respect.
Yep. A deer is a deer.
 
Thread starter #14
Was just curious. I'm in wnc or north ga as often as possible fly fishing but would never hunt there with such a low deer population. I can't imagine going 2 hunts without seeing a few deer, much less days on end.
 
At my stage of the game I like a challenge, so I hunt the mountains. Not saying flatland deer ain't a challenge but its just a different experience. Get up 3 and half hours before daylight drive little ways, walk a hour or hour and half to get to your spot, just to find the wind is blowing in opposite direction at 25 mph and forecast was calm. Do that day in and day out for 2 weeks straight and finally see a decent buck but its so thick you can't get a shot. Do that over and over and when you finally connect words can't describe it. You just need to give it a go and see for your self.
 

T-N-T

Senior Member
I have chased bears for a few years in the GA mountains.
I have killed many a buck in south GA over the years.

I have only seen one 4 point in the mountains on a hunt that was "no deer"

I wont shoot a 4 point here probably ever again. I would have dropped that 4 on that ridge with extreme prejudice.
 

jbogg

Senior Member
I started hunting the mountains last fall in search of a different hunting experience, and boy did I find it. After almost 30 years of hunting I have shot many deer with gun and bow, but the older I got the less important it was to pull the trigger. So, around two years ago I started heading up to NF every chance I had, and have never looked back.

In the past year I have shot a few wild hogs, and had the opportunity to take a few bear had I chosen to. However, in the hundreds of miles I have walked, and the countless hours in the woods I have yet to see a buck of any size.
A nice buck up there is literally a needle in a haystack, and the select few mountain hunters who get it done year in and year out are in rare company indeed.
 

Buckman18

Senior Member
Mountain deer are a lot tougher to find and kill than a south GA buck. I've killed many mature bucks in the mountains and many in south GA over the years. Here's how I see it:

I hunt the mountains in bow season for 3 reasons: it's cooler, bears, and deer are high where the acorns fall first.

I hunt south GA from muzzleloader through Thanksgiving. On my club they are running scrape lines and chasing by opening weekend of gun, and are peak rut from Halloween thru early Nov, and we see chasing until Thanksgiving. Where I hunt in the mountains, the bucks don't even start laying aggressive sign until Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving - Christmas I hunt the mountains. Peak rut where I hunt is Dec 5 - 20. My biggest mountain bucks have mostly been in December. I get to hunt 2 peak ruts every year.

South GA deer are much much easier to find, pattern, and kill than mountain bucks. And there's many more of them. Often, a walk of a couple hundred yards can put you on a totally different buck. When you're hunting CNF, you'll often have 5,000 acres to yourself. Last week in the snow I walked 3 miles, according to my GPS, before I cut a set of tracks. There is lots of unproductive land up here because of poor timber mgmt. The deer density is much lower. Because of the amount of land, deer are tough to pattern. Some places can be productive year after year, but it's more like turkey or elk or hog hunting in that you need to constantly scout to keep up with where the game is today, and be fast to adapt. The terrain is much tougher to traverse, obviously. GPS, maps, etc are critical. No four wheelers allowed. Foot travel welcome.

The deer are a different subspecies as well, and look like totally different creatures than this red south GA deer. And there's some diversity in different areas in the mountains that were stocked from other places. Bucks I've killed on Dawson Forest and CNF in Lumpkin County look a lot different than bucks I've killed in Towns County near the NC line in the southern nantahala wilderness. Those SNW deer are almost black, have short thick bodies, and short round ears. These are the original stock, and often have white faces like mule deer. Mountain deer have hair that's much longer than their S GA counterparts.

I sincerely believe if you can constantly score in the mountains, you can successfully hunt whitetail anywhere they live. Period. I know plenty of mountaineers who go to S GA or SC and kill mature bucks. I know of no middle GA hunter who has ever consistently killed mature mountain bucks. In fact, I've never met a middle/south GA hunter who has ever killed a single mature mountain buck. And, with bears, there are plenty of visiting hunters up here now. Just an observation.

Oh, it's almost always windy. When it's a crisp 32 degree still frosty morning in Thomson, it's often 15 degrees in the mtns with a 15 mph steady breeze, with 25 mph gust. When it's windy it Thomson on the said morning, in the mtns you better stuff a hand warmer in your drawers to keep from your anatomy disappearing. South GA bucks are quick fixes. Like a one night stand. Mountain bucks are memory makers, that one gal you're still remembering where you're 109 and in a wheel chair. Both have their place, and both are awesome.
 
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