For the "Southern Gentleman", it means 'mailing it in', for the last 5 or so races of the season.
I noticed a trend a few years ago of average to poor finishes late in seasons for ESad, but never really put two and two together until a friend mentioned some of his quotes about 'its almost deer season, and I am ready for that'. Heck, even his Fan Club Forum has a thread dedicated to the 'countdown to deer season'.
In eights seasons in Cup the 'countdown to deer season' (AKA the last five races of the season) is painfully obvious;
'99 20th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'00 27th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'01 27th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'02 17th Average finish 2 top 10s 0 top 5s
'03 21st Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'04 33rd Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s (Chase year)
'05 16th Average finish 2 top 10s 0 top 5s
'06 28th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s (after 4 races)
The total average in 8 seasons of the last five races is 24th with only 4 top 10s in 39 attempts and zero top 5s. So much for the 'bounce in the step', the Southern Gentleman claimed he was going to have for switching teams.
So grow that scruffy facial hair Elliott and get those dogs ready (is that really 'hunting' anyway?) as its 'deer season', and that means focus issues on the track, and mailing in your efforts.