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Interview: Mark Drury on Tree Stands and Trail Cameras

Tree Stands and Trail Cameras

Author’s note:“The first bow I ever had was a PSE,” Mark Drury (www.druryoutdoors.com) explains. Today, Mark and his brother Terry are two of the industry leaders in TV production and video production. The Drurys have produced more than 200 feature-length videos in more than two decades. They’ve also produced more than 252 TV episodes that air across several different outdoors-themed channels.

Question: Mark, you mentioned doing trail camera surveys in our last interview. What trail cameras are you using and why?

Drury: I use Reconyx trail cameras and try to put one camera per 50 acres. Right now I have 59 cameras out on 4,300 acres located in two different places. Since some of that property where I’ve got the cameras has pasture land on it, when you exclude the pasture land, I’ve got about one camera per 50 acres. Many wildlife biologists suggest using one camera per 100 acres.

Question: When are you hunting the trails between the feeding and bedding places?

Drury: I hunt feeding areas exclusively in the afternoon. In the morning, I hunt transitional areas in-between the feeding and bedding regions, or I hunt close to the bedding places.

Question: How do you set up your tree stand to get those deer within bow range?

Drury: I think one of the critical keys to taking a deer with a bow is to make sure I have easy access into that tree stand site, so I don’t spook the deer I’m trying to take. I plant a lot of warm-season grasses too. When these grasses are mature, they will stand about 6-feet tall. I never walk straight to my tree stand. I create switchback trails that allow me to walk a zigzag pattern back and forth to my tree stand. I mow these trails before deer season arrives each year, and I make slow, lazy curves back and forth all the way to a tree stand site. That mowed path allows me to walk almost completely silently to my stand, and the tall grasses keep the deer from seeing me go to my stand.

I make my switchbacks more than 20 or 30 yards long. This way I can get in and out of my tree stand quickly and easily without spooking the deer and without leaving a large amount of scent. I also want to make sure that I’ve got a good consistent wind in my face, and that I create my switchback trails in places where I believe there’s the least chance of deer coming from those directions. The real key to getting in your tree stand without spooking the deer is making sure the wind is right, moving quietly and unseen and getting into the stand scent-free without the deer knowing you’re there.

Question: Mark, what kind of tree stand are you using?

Drury: I use Big Game hang-on tree stands.

Image copyright John Phillips/Night Hawk Publications

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