Editor’s Note: Mark Drury of Saint Peters, Missouri, the founder of MAD Calls, co-owner of Drury Outdoor Productions with his brother Terry and a long-time avid bowhunter also is a member of PSE’s Pro Hunt team. This season Mark will be shooting the new PSE Dream Season EVO.
Follow these tips from Mark Drury to have a more productive deer season with your bow this year.
Find a safe place to shoot, and start practicing at 70-80 yards, even if you’re accustomed to shooting at 40 and 50 yards. Purchase a bigger target than you’ve had at the shorter distances to keep you from losing arrows. Make yourself shoot at 70, 80, 90 and 100 yards. Five or six years ago bows weren’t made to produce those kinds of shots. But these days with the speed that most bows can produce, if you can force yourself to shoot at 70-100 yards, then when you get a deer within 30 yards, making the effective shot is much like shooting fish in a barrel. Remember, you make yourself a better shot with a bow by shooting at longer distances.
Plant a food plot. Hunting over food sources is so critical to successful bowhunting that I believe you should plant food, plant more food and plant more food if you can. Use food- lot architecture, which Terry and I have gotten into the last few years. I depend very heavily on my trail camera surveys during the summer months to locate the bucks I want to take during bowhunting season. I’ve developed a three-pronged attack to my food plot strategy. I plant as much soybeans and corn as I can in large fields during the spring and summer to grow the bucks as fast as I can.
Plant 1/4 of a green field that your cameras have reported during the summer that a big buck is using with Mossy Oak’s BioLogic products like Last Bite, Maximum or Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets. I try and determine what wind direction I’ll need to hunt that corner of the field. I want that trophy buck to have one of those three plantings right on the edge of that green field when he comes out of the woods. I call this technique a green-to-green transfer, because these deer have been eating green soybeans all summer, and then I put Mossy Oak BioLogic products in one corner of that field to give the deer plenty of green groceries to eat, when the beans and/or the corn are dry. I’ve been very effective taking trophy bucks in and around my green field by using this practice to transfer the deer from feeding on a green crop all summer that’s now turned brown to eating the more lush green plants (Mossy Oak BioLogic) as we move into the fall.
Plant some small hidey-hole green fields that you can hunt during the pre-rut, rut and post-rut. When the bucks have breeding on their mind, they travel a lot. I plant those hidey-hole green fields in bottlenecks, edges, points and corridors that the bucks travel, looking for does. I want to cause the does to stop and feed, because I know a buck will be behind those does, checking them out to see if they’re ready to breed. In those hidey-holes, I’m planting Maximum, Last Bite or Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets.
Consider hunting over water in mid-deer season. If the current weather trends continue like we’ve seen this summer in many parts of the country, water holes may be the magnets to draw in big bucks and to help you put one of those bucks in your pickup truck’s back.
Plan to take a bowhunting vacation trip outside the region you usually hunt, even if it’s a do-it-yourself public lands hunt. You’ll become a better bowhunter with the more experience you build each season. You’ll learn how to hunt various terrains, how to locate deer in different areas, and how to hunt those deer with weapons you may not have used at home – knowledge that will aid you in being a better bowhunter.
Hunt the Internet. Never before in the history of hunting have we had so much information available to the bowhunter at the tip of his fingers. You can get aerial photos of the property you plan to hunt and helpful maps, and during the season, you can learn what the weather is where you’re hunting. Check out www.archerytalk.com, www.bowblitz.com, your favorite outdoor TV shows and your favorite Facebook pages. Listen to what the other hunters are seeing and observing, and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn that will help you be a better bowhunter. Any information about hunting you pick-up can be the difference between a successful hunt and a non-productive hunt. For instance, if a hunter in your area reports, “Hey, the deer have switched from feeding on agriculture and have started feeding on acorns,” or if a hunter reports, “I just saw a buck working a scrape so the rut must be coming on,” instead of just talking to the guys in your hunting camp or at the coffee shop, you can research through the Internet and build-up conversations on social media about what everyone is learning.
To learn more about Mark and Terry Drury and Drury Outdoors, visit http://www.druryoutdoors.com/. For more information about PSE’s bows, go to http://pse-archery.com, and for information about Mossy Oak, check out http://www.mossyoak.com/.
For more bowhunting tips, check-out “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” a new eBook for Amazon Kindle by John E. Phillips. You also can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type-in the name of the book to find it. Too, you can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.
To read more of John Phillips’ articles on hunting, fishing, cooking, and all outdoors pursuits (including more expert tips from the Drurys), check out his author page and article archives here on Outdoor Hub.
Images courtesy John Phillips/Night Hawk Publications