Mark Drury – “Why I’m in the PSE Family”
Editor’s Note: “The first bow I ever had was a PSE,” Mark Drury 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 252-TV episodes that air on “Wildlife Obsession,” “Dream Season” and “Bow Madness” on the Outdoor Channel and “Natural Born Killers” on the Pursuit Channel.
Why Mark Drury Likes PSE Bows…
Question: What bow do you shoot now?
Drury: I shoot the X-force Omen Pro and the X-Force Dream Season EVO.
Question: Why do you like the Omen Pro and the Dream Season EVO?
Drury: I like the Dream Season EVO, because of its smooth draw, zero-felt recoil, a well-defined back wall and good speed. It’s a really-smooth hunting bow. I like the Omen Pro, because I have a bad left shoulder. I can’t handle pulling a lot of weight. I pull 53 pounds on my Omen and 55 on my Dream Season EVO. The way I have that Omen Pro set up, I’m shooting 321 feet per second (fps).
Question: In the past, archers believed that the heavier-weighted bow you could pull, the bigger the deer you could shoot. I interviewed the legendary archer Howard Hill, and he was pulling a 100-pound longbow. Many archers brag about pulling 65 to 85 pounds. But you probably take as many big deer as anyone I know. How does only pulling 53 pounds equate to your ability to take those big bucks?
Drury: I’m shooting 5- and 6-year-old Midwestern deer that may weigh 300-pounds live weight and 225-245 pounds field-dressed weight. I’m shooting a Rage 2 Blade Broadhead, and it passes all the way through every deer I shoot.
Question: What arrow are you shooting?
Drury: I’m shooting a Carbon Force 100. No longer does a bowhunter have to think he’s a tough guy and pull a lot of heavy weight to take a big buck. Why pull and hold a heavy weight when can you pull less weight, hold it longer and still get an effective shot? Without PSE, I wouldn’t be able to shoot 321 fps with a 53-pound bow.
Question: How far are you able to take deer with that bow setup?
Drury: I shot a mule deer in Alberta this year at 62 yards. I made a double-lung hit, and the arrow was stuck-up in the dirt on the other side of the deer. That broadhead and arrow blew all the way through him at 62 yards with a 53-pound bow. PSE has really changed the dynamics of strength versus speed and accuracy. The difference to me in the bows I’m shooting now and those heavyweight bows I once shot is like the difference in shooting a pellet gun and now having a .223 centerfire rifle. That’s how dramatic the difference is. There’s just no comparison to the ease of shooting with lighter poundage today, compared to the difficulty of drawing, holding and shooting when we used those bows with more poundage.
Question: How do you decide which of your two bows to use?
Drury: I’ve been hunting a lot with the Omen Pro, because it’s the fastest of the two bows. But I’m going to play with this Dream Season EVO the rest of this year’s deer season and hunt with it next year.
Question: What other advantages have you found in using these PSE bows?
Drury: By shooting less poundage, I move less when I draw, because I can pull the string straight back without having to raise the bow up and push with one hand and pull with the other to get the string back. I just get on target with my bow and then pull the string straight back. Then I’m ready to shoot. I have no excess motion when I’m drawing the bow.
How to Find and Take Big Deer Within Bow Range
Question: Mark, we all see you and Terry taking big deer every year with your PSE bows. How are you able to consistently find and take those big deer?
Drury: The answer is observed movement. The more you hunt one piece of property or the more intimate you become with the place you’re hunting, the better you are at hunting the deer on that land. Soon, you’ll start to learn where, how and when deer move, and you’ll see consistent patterns that almost always will tell you where and when the older-age-class bucks will be. We’ve learned over the years that if you can separate the place the deer feed from the area where they bed, having a definite transitional zone that the deer can travel-through between feeding and bedding, you can set-up in those transitional zones. You can take an older-age-class buck with your bow if you’re hunting during the early season or the rut. Another tactic we use is what we call a, “green field within a green field.” When we plant our major green fields, we also plant a little strip of clover or some other type of late-season planting that will be green after the rut. We usually make this planting on the edge of our major food-plot planting. Then after the rut ends, we’ll set-up on the edge of that green field where we have our late-season crop, sometimes that’s clover, planted to take bucks after the rut.
Question: Mark how did you develop the green-field-within-a-green-field idea?
Drury: We started by planting a soybean field. The whitetails usually feed on those soybeans all summer long. But from mid-September to late-September, those soybean leaves turn brown, and no longer have food value for the deer. Any green fields on the edges of those soybean patches will start putting-out new foliage. So, I plant a green field around each soybean field between mid-August to late-August here in Missouri where I live and hunt. As the soybeans begin to die, the new young green fields start sprouting, so I don’t lose any of the deer that I’ve concentrated in an area with the soybeans during the summer and watched. By October, those bucks are so patterned to the edge of the soybean field where the green field is, that we can pick and choose the bucks we want to take.
Question: Besides clover, what are you planting, Mark?
Drury: I like Mossy Oak BioLogic Last Bite, a new product that I tested during the 2010 season for Mossy Oak BioLogic that will be available to plant in 2011. I also like BioLogic Winter Peas, Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets and Maximum.
Question: Mark, most people believe to consistently take big bucks on a piece of property, you need to harvest some does. How many does do you take off the property you’re hunting?
Drury: You have to remember that you’re managing a deerherd, and that there are many factors that must be considered to answer that question. For instance, for the last several years, we’ve had some really-severe winters here in Missouri. So, we’ve been taking fewer does now than we did a few years ago when the winters were much milder. Deer are born at almost a 1-to-1 ratio. In other words, you should have 50% bucks and 50% does born each year. I use summer and fall trail-camera surveys to try to determine how many bucks versus does there are. From these surveys, I’ve learned that the buck-to-doe ratio can vary quite a bit on each individual property. I have one piece of land in Missouri that I hunt that has a very-low deer density. So, on that property I try to harvest about the same number of does as I do bucks. On some land I hunt in Iowa, there’s a large number of deer. I try to harvest or get my hunters to harvest 10 does to every 1 buck there. I’ve learned that deer management is property-specific. Until you use trail cameras and do a deer census on a particular piece of property, you can’t set-up a harvest-management prescription to keep your deerherd in balance and enable that herd to produce the maximum number of big bucks. I think you have really got to use your own survey system to determine if you have too-many of too-few deer. I believe the best way to do that is with the trail cameras, because they survey an area 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mark Drury on Trail Cameras and Tree Stand Position
Question: Mark, you mentioned doing trail-camera surveys. 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 (see Day 2), 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.
How Mark Drury Sets Up His PSE
Question: Mark, you told us on the first day of this interview that you made a shot and took a deer at 62 yards, but when you hang your tree stand, how close do you normally want the deer to be at your stand?
Drury: Five-years ago, I would have said that I wanted to make a 20- or 25-yard shot from my tree stand, but with my new PSE bows, I’ve learned that 40 yards is the new 20 yards. I was amazed at how flat the PSE Omen Pro and the Dream Season EVO shoot out to 40 yards. I’m consistently taking deer at 40 and 50 yards. Now let me explain. I practice my fanny off, and I shoot 40, 50, 70, 80, and 100 yards all summer long and throughout the bow season while practicing. I know at 100 yards I can shoot a 5- or 6-inch group, so at 40-50 yards I can easily shoot a 2-inch group. Although many of my shots will come at 25 and 22 yards, when you know you can shoot out to 100 yards and can group arrows within 1-2 inches at 40-50 yards, that 20- to 30-yard shot is just no big deal.
Question: When you’re shooting out at 40-50 yards, do you have any problem with the deer jumping the string (squatting before it leaves, causing the arrow to go over the deer)?
Drury: I believe that the worst distance for a deer to jump the string is at 25-30 yards. Deer can hear so well at that distance that they still have enough time to drop down before they jump. However, when a deer’s standing at 40 or 50 yards, and there’s any wind at all or any background noise, I don’t have any trouble with the deer trying to jump the string, especially since I have quiet arrow flight. The only time that I have a problem with the deer trying to jump the string at 40 or 50 yards is when the woods and the wind are dead calm.
Question: If woods and the wind are dead calm, and you feel the deer may hear the bow fire when the deer’s at 40-50 yards, where will you aim?
Drury: If the buck’s alert because he knows I’m there or perhaps I’ve made a sound to stop him, I’ll aim for his heart. Then if he does drop-down (tries to jump the string), I still get a double-lung shot. If the buck’s calm and has his head down, I’ll aim, so that the arrow will pass-through both lungs.
Question: How is your bow sighted-in?
Drury: With the Omen Pro and the Dream Season EVO, I sight-in an inch low at 20 yards, 2-inches low at 30 yards, and 2-3-inches low at 40 and 50 yards. I do this so that I can aim dead-on. The deer naturally will want to drop a little bit, but if I aim dead-on and the deer drops a couple of inches, I’ve still got him. If he doesn’t move, I’ve still got him.
Question: Are you only shooting one pin?
Drury: No, but I’m setting each one of my pins to shoot low instead of dead-on.
Mark Drury Explains some of the Mistakes that Bowhunters Make
Question: Mark, what are you doing to keep your PSE Omen Pro and Dream Season EVO bows quiet?
Drury: I put String Leeches made by Sims Vibration Laboratory on the string. Other than that, I don’t do anything, because these two bows come quiet as a church mouse from the factory.
Question: What are some of the biggest mistakes bowhunters make when hunting with their bows?
Drury: I think they get too nervous. They think the deer is leaving them and will take a shot at the wrong angle to the deer’s body. Instead always make sure you wait for either a broadside or a quartering-away shot. I call this wrong-angle shooting, “taking dumb angles.” The reason dumb angles occur is because:
* your adrenaline kicks-in when you see that monster buck, and that adrenaline causes you to get excited and want to shoot the buck quickly. You forget to shoot him accurately and at the right angle;
* you’re drawing back before you’re ready to take the shot. I almost never draw, unless I know I’m about to shoot. If a deer sees you draw, he’ll be gone before you can get-off the shot. The deer will always win a Mexican stand-off;
* most hunters believe they only can hunt days with the right weather. But I think what’s more important is not to hunt the wrong days. If the day’s a low-pressure cloudy day that will force your scent down to the ground, stay out of areas where you’re trying to take a big buck. Wait for the day when you feel certain the deer will move. Only hunt a really-big buck on the days that all conditions are right for hunting that big buck;
* you’ve got to be a slave to the wind. You cannot ignore wind direction. When you’ve decided to hunt a certain stand, don’t go to that stand until that wind condition is present. I wear ScentBlocker clothing from top to bottom in as many layers as possible. However, even so, I’m not going to hunt with the wrong wind. I continuously spray down with ScentBlocker’s Ti4 Titanium. I recharge my clothes every 2-3 days and keep them in a scent-proof environment. I’m religious about trying to eliminate or neutralize the scent on my body and equipment.
Question: What clothing are you wearing when you’re in the tree stand that keeps you quiet when you draw?
Drury: I wear the ScentBlocker Dream Season and the Dream Season Cold Fusion clothing. ScentBlocker has the soft-shell technology that’s amazing at keeping me quiet.
Question: You’ve told us today what all you do to take deer on the land that you own, but what do you do when you go on new property to find and take deer?
Drury: I don’t go on new property. I haven’t left my land in the last 4 years. I do hunt in Wyoming, but even there I’ve got certain places that I hunt every year. For years, my brother Terry who’s my partner in Drury Outdoors and I attempted to find the land that had better-sized bucks than we had hunted on the year before. We were running all over the country continuously searching for more-productive places to take bigger and better bucks. Finally, we decided that instead of trying to find a better spot to hunt, we would make the places we had to hunt better. Each and every year I try to improve the land where I’m hunting. I watch my deer all year long, and after the season I may go in and move stands and add stands or create additional food plots or new routes to some of my favorite tree stands. We’ve doing this for so long that we now have tree stands that we can hunt from with any wind direction and trails going to those tree stands cut, so that we won’t spook any deer either going to or away from the stands. I think you’ll save more money and be more successful every year taking older-age-class bucks, if you make the places you hunt better instead of hunting for better places to hunt.
To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and hunting accessories, click here.