Five More 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. 6: You’ve got to have good glass to scout for bucks. I want to stay at least 400-yards away from the fields that I’m scouting. For this reason, I’ll usually use 10X binoculars when I’m scouting and/or use a spotting scope. Eastern hunters don’t take advantage of spotting scopes nearly as much as western hunters do, and you’ll rarely see an eastern hunter scout with a spotting scope or 10X binoculars. However, remember, the further you stay away from the deer, the less human odor you’ll introduce to your hunting site, and the better your odds are for taking an older-age-class buck. Too, by using quality binoculars and spotting scopes, you can spend more time scouting from your truck, which keeps your human odor in your vehicle. I use a window-mount device for my spotting scope to mount the scope on the window.
Secret No. 7: I’ll begin to move tree stands or set-up new tree stands, as I learn more about the deer from my scouting program. I hang many tree stands on the farm I hunt during January and February, after deer season. Then, during July and August, I go check these tree stands to make sure they’re still safe and secure. I hang new tree stands, so that I will have stands in the location where the deer will be traveling in the beginning of bow season. The two factors that determine the day I will hang a tree stand are weather conditions and time of day. In the summer months, I try to hang my tree stand in the middle of the day when the weather is hottest, and when I’m almost certain rain will come in the afternoon. Because hot weather helps evaporate human odor, and a rain washes it away, I know that my human odor won’t linger long, and the rain will wash away what human odor I do leave. I wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts made of breathable material when I’m going through the woods. I want all of the stands I’m going to hunt from during the upcoming deer season to be in place by the middle of August or the first of September. This way when I start bowhunting in October and November, I’ll have fresh stands to hunt from that don’t have any human odor associated with them.
Secret No. 8: My brother Terry and I have several farms we hunt. Before the season comes in, we try to have 80- to 100-tree stands in place and ready to hunt from on these farms. With that many stand sites, there’s no way we can remember or find all of them. We plot out every tree-stand site with GPS. We log each stand site into the GPS and give each one a name. We also record all of our stand site names, location and every wind direction that the stand can be hunted from on paper. By using this method, we can turn on our computer in the morning and go to www.weather.com to learn what wind direction we will have that day in our area. Then we check our list of stand sites and see which stands we can hunt with a favorable wind. Once we have decided the stand sites we can hunt from, we pick-out the stand where we believe our chances are best for taking a buck that day. Then, we pull that stand site up in our hand-held GPS, go straight to it in the dark, get into the tree and are ready to hunt before daylight.
Secret No. 9: I begin to pick the bucks I want to hunt from the motion-sensor-camera information and from observing the deer in the field. The bucks I’ll try to hunt aren’t always going to be the biggest bucks I see. The secret is determining from the bucks you have identified which bucks appear on the trails the most often during daylight hours. Some bucks have a tendency not to move until after dark. If you attempt to hunt these bucks, you can hunt several days and not see those bucks during daylight hours. However, if you hunt for the bucks that have a tendency to move-down trails and be in the green fields during daylight hours, you drastically increase your odds for taking a buck during the first week of bow season. Once I identify these bucks, I may move some of the cameras and my tree stand to learn all I can about these individual bucks I’ve decided to hunt. Knowing which bucks move during daylight hours gives me a tremendous advantage when hunting season opens. I can learn which bucks move the most during daylight hours by scouting during the summer using binoculars, spotting scopes and motion-sensor cameras without spending much time in the woods and alerting or spooking the deer.
Secret No. 10: I want to find the best spot to take the buck I want to hunt and know where he is living and moving during bow season. If I try to take him over the green field or the agricultural crop, I may spook him and the other deer that are coming to that food source. I’ve learned from my motion-sensor cameras that most bucks will move to water before they’ll go to feed. My brother Terry and I have learned that often the most-productive place to have a tree stand site for older-age-class bucks in the early season is along the trail that the bucks use when they’re going to water.
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.