Dixie Double

Chase a rutting buck or a supersonic quail in Alabama

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Hunting whitetails in Alabama is like going back in time. No, not to some bygone era of gentlemen hunters and courteous manners, though you'll still find plenty of both in the hunting camps that dot the state's whitetail-rich Black Belt region. This step back is a matter of weeks rather than decades. Whereas the whitetail rut peaks for the majority of the country during November, in this part of the South the rut doesn't arrive until January. This later timetable gives you the chance to experience the best deer hunting of the season all over again.

That's exactly what I did a couple of years back during a visit to the P-Arrow Plantation in Livingston, Ala., on the plains where the piney woods and Black Belt meet. Setting up in stands over green fields, I was treated to the sight of bucks deep in the throes of the rut: chasing does, running off smaller rivals and generally acting like love-struck fools.

Of course, quail also compete for your attention in January, and happily the P-Arrow has plenty of coveys on its 2,500 acres. Hunted the traditional way, from the back of a comfortable mule-drawn wagon, these birds, too, will transport you back in time. Watching the pointers work the coverts with tails held high, while the guides charge behind on their horses, it's easy to imagine for a moment that you're experiencing the golden age of quail hunting as the dogs freeze on point and you try to prepare yourself for the explosive rise.

Contact: P-Arrow Plantation; 800-949-7990; parrow.com.