Labor Day arrives this month, with autumn’s cooler weather not far behind, and of course, more serious deer hunting across the Carolinas.
While hunters are ramping up for hunting season, farmers are excited because they know their money crops will get a break from the constant browsing pressure. Deer in agriculture regions benefit from farmers, especially when soybean, peanuts and other edible crops dominate the landscape.
When it’s hot and seasons are barely underway or yet to open, deer remain bold and feed anytime they feel the need for a belly full of soybean and peanut foliage. In places where opening day hasn’t arrived, it’s a good time for hunters to glass their local deer herd from the windshield.
Late in summer, deer living in the agriculture belt flourish on the farmer’s delights. The rural regions of both Carolinas remain dominated by soybeans, corn and peanuts. While corn and peanut crops are generally harvested by the middle of October, soybean fields still have a little farther to go before they end up in front of a harvester. Deer will continue to flood agriculture fields during daylight hours on a daily basis until the food is depleted or when hunting pressure accelerates.
For the most part, deer feeding in agriculture fields this month don’t face significant pressure from hunters because, with the exception of some areas of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, hunting is restricted to archery. It’s not until the gun seasons begin that deer begin to shy away from daylight feeding in fields.
Of more than 10 million deer hunters in the United States, only 25 percent hunt with a bow. In the Carolinas, roughly 10 percent of all the deer harvested fall to an arrow, either from a crossbow or traditional archery equipment. While some hunters will start beating the bushes in September, the majority of hunting pressure will not begin until October.
The whitetail rut hasn’t begun yet, except for a few adolescent males checking out their options. It’s not until October when most does begin to cycle and bucks start the chase.
Hunters should be able to drive past local agriculture fields near their hunting land to see what the season will have to offer. While some deer in protected areas will continue to hit fields to feed well into the day, the best time to see the mature bucks frolicking will be during early mornings and later in the evening. Make sure to bring a solid good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope to make identifying them easier.