Five Secrets to Scouting for Deer Before the Season with PSE’s Mark Drury
Editor’s Note: Mark Drury of Saint Peters, Missouri, the founder of M.A.D. 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.
Secret No. 1: I plant green fields with Mossy Oak’s BioLogic in areas where I have easy access with my truck to study the green fields, but I don’t plan to hunt them. I plant long narrow strips that are invisible from a public road but very visible from a woods road. During the summer months, the wind direction in our section of the country often is a south wind. I want these long fields to be where I can either walk-in or drive-in and scout these fields with a south wind, so the deer won’t be able to smell me. I plant two different types of green fields. One is what I call an observation field, which allows me to see the deer on the property during the summer months that I have to hunt. The other field is what I call my hidey-holes. I plan to actually take the bucks from these green fields that are planted in or near thick cover. The way you plant your green fields determines whether you’ll be able to scout successfully for deer season or not.
Secret No. 2: I start hunting a buck in July when the buck’s antlers are just beginning to develop. One of the secrets to consistently taking bucks is knowing which green fields bucks are coming to, and which green fields does prefer. I plant BioLogic in the spring, so I’ll have summer green fields where the deer can feed. I go to these fields in July to identify the trails the deer are using to come into those green fields and put RECONYX motion-sensor cameras along these trails to get pictures of the bucks coming to the green fields. Then I know which green fields each buck is utilizing. Trail-monitoring cameras enable a hunter to find big bucks, and to know where they’re moving quickly and easily and what time of the day or night they’re moving and how big the deer are. Even when I’m scouting, I wear camouflage.
Secret No. 3: Deer change their nutritional needs from green fields to soybean fields, as the summer progresses in Missouri, my home state. One of the keys to scouting is noticing when the deer switch their feeding patterns and then moving your motion-sensor cameras to new trails to keep-up with deer movement. When the Missouri deer leave my green fields and go to soybean fields in August, I change my cameras from the green fields and put them on trails leading to soybean fields and other agricultural crops to learn which bucks are going to these fields. For trail cameras to be effective, you have to move the cameras as the deer change food sources. If you do, you can keep-up with the location of the bucks on the property and watch these bucks’ antlers grow and develop. Another advantage to using the trail cameras is that you disturb the area where you plan to hunt very little. All I have to do to scout efficiently is go to the trail camera and change-out the film, which means I have little human impact on the deer.
Secret No. 4: You must know when to go to the cameras. During the summer months, as I’ve said earlier, the deer will move very little. I’ve learned I usually won’t get more than four or five pictures of deer per day on a good trail during July and August. So, I don’t spend nearly as much time in my hunting area getting the pictures. Another big advantage this method of scouting gives me is that I’m scouting every day from 10- or 20-different locations and not leaving any human scent in those regions. I’m not pressuring the deer that I plan to hunt in the fall during the summer months. In addition to wearing camouflage clothing, I usually wear a head net and gloves when visiting my cameras. I want to get to the cameras as quickly and as quietly as possible, leave as little human odor I can and be invisible to the deer.
Secret No. 5: I like to actually see the deer, especially the bucks I’ll be hunting in the fall, besides using the trail-timer camera. But once again, I want to see the buck from a distance and not disturb him by getting too close. I’ve learned from my motion-sensor cameras that the first 10 days of a full moon is when I’ll see the most big bucks coming to a green field late in the afternoon. I’ll take advantage of the deer’s reaction to the phases of the moon during the summer months, just as much as I do during the fall and winter months. I want to see the bucks on the green field to try and determine their personalities and their temperaments. Some bucks will be very bold, while other bucks will be very skittish. Some bucks will walk right out in the middle of a green field, while other bucks will hold on the edge. By being able to study the bucks through binoculars or spotting scopes from a long distance, I can learn the personality of each buck. If you’re going to go to a green field and study the bucks, you’ll want to go to that field when the most bucks will be on it. I’ve learned that not only most of the bucks, but more importantly most of the big bucks that are using a green field will be out in that green field early in the afternoon for 10 days after a full moon.
To learn more about Mark and Terry Drury and Drury Outdoors, visit http://www.druryoutdoors.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.