John's Journal...

Learn the Most-Productive Stand Sites to Take Deer

Day 3: Mark Drury & Midwestern Deer Stands & Will Primos Uses Cane Thicket Stands

Editor’s Note: What magic ingredients do the best deer hunters in the nation use to find the perfect tree-stand sites? What can we learn from hundreds of years of deer-hunting experience that will help each of us pinpoint places in the woods where we can take big deer? To learn the answers to these questions, we’ve interviewed seven of the nation’s deer-hunting experts. We’ll ask each of them to describe the best tree-stand site he ever has hunted from and to name what ingredients have made that particular site so productive that he’s bagged a big buck from that spot in the woods.

Click for Larger ViewMark Drury, the co-owner of Drury Outdoor Productions in Bloomsdale, Missouri, founded M.A.D. Calls. He has hunted for whitetails for almost 3 decades and hunts many states each season. “I like to hunt in the Midwest with its wide variety of habitat for deer,” Drury reports. “One of my favorite places to find a big buck is down in a deep hollow. However, a deep hollow almost always has a swirling wind that will carry your human odor throughout the hollow and let every buck in the hollow know where you are. Very rarely will you identify a hollow that you can hunt with one specific direction. I found a hollow but there but realized I couldn’t hunt this hollow with a south wind, a west wind, an east wind or a straight north wind. The only wind I could hunt that hollow with was a northwest wind. “Luckily, when the weather turns cold in Missouri, we’ll often get a northwest wind. What makes a northwest wind so important to hunting in this hollow was that the wind would blow from the bedding area right out into a field. Click foR Larger ViewYou’d seldom ever have deer downwind of you, if you were hunting with a northwest wind. From this particular stand site, I almost can see all the deer that walk down that deep hollow. The creek bed in the bottom of the hollow created a perfect funnel to bring every deer in the bedding area right by my tree stand.

“One year, this region had one of those northwest winds, and an unusually cold front with 25-mile-per-hour winds. When I saw that all the conditions were right on that day, I decided to go down to the stand that we’d named the Dry Creek Funnel late in the afternoon to catch the deer coming from the bedding area and going to the field. At 4:15 pm, I saw this huge buck, a massive 12 pointer that had 20-inch-wide main beams, which scored 160 points on the Pope & Young. The buck came toward the stand walking very slowly. When he was 12-yards from the tree, I took a shot at this really nice buck.

“This stand is one of my all-time favorites, because my brother Terry and I have taken three bucks, each scoring 125 points or better on the Pope & Young, from this stand. A deer in this hollow will walk under this stand on the way to the field to feed in the agricultural field at the base of the hollow. If you only hunt that stand in the afternoons with a northwest wind, you generally can see every bed in that hollow. The hollow has produced some really-nice bucks for us.”

Will Primos:

Click for Larger ViewWill Primos, of Flora, Mississippi, is the creator of Primos Hunting Calls and produces the “TRUTH Series” videos. He has hunted deer for 46 years. “I was hunting deer in the rut in a creek bottom where I knew some big bucks were living,” Primos mentions. “I wanted to pick a stand where I could force a buck to look for me instead of my having to look for him. Because I was hunting deer during the rut, I knew that the bucks could be anywhere. They didn’t necessarily have to follow any trail. The stand I picked was on the edge of a steep creek bank with a cane thicket growing there. I knew that when I called and a buck came in and saw that thick cane, he’d assume that the buck that made the grunt was inside of the cane. To see that other buck, he would have to come around the cane thicket. I spotted this buck at 140-yards away and called him using a Power Buck and Doe grunt call. The buck was crossing a CRP field next to the creek. The first time I grunted to him he stopped and looked at me. But then he kept on walking. I made an estrous bleat. The buck threw his head up and started running toward us. He was at 60 yards when I called to him the last time. Click for Larger ViewHe came straight to me, looking for that deer that was calling, since he couldn’t see into the cane thicket. When the deer was at 20 yards, the only shot I had was a head-on one. But I felt comfortable making that shot because I’d made it before. I hit the deer right in the throat, and he whirled, ran about 70 yards and dropped. The buck was an 8 point that scored 140 points on the P&Y scale. I really liked this stand site because the cover was so thick around and behind me. I knew that when I called to the buck he would have to come look inside that thicket to find the deer that was calling to him.

“One of the biggest mistakes a hunter makes when calling deer is taking a stand without a thicket under or close to him. If a buck hears a deer calling and looks down into the woods and doesn’t see the deer that’s been calling to him, he will get spooked. But if a buck spots a thicket that may hold a deer, then he usually will come in, get close to that thicket and assume that the deer that has called is inside the thicket. I really like to call deer and feel like I’ve had a successful hunt when I can call a buck and make him come look for me.”

Tomorrow: David Hale Likes Funnels for Deer Stand Sites

Check back each day this week for more about "Learn the Most-Productive Stand Sites to Take Deer "

Day 1: Ronnie Groom Takes Deer in the Florida Swamps by Hunting Bottlenecks
Day 2: Jim Crumley Selects His Deer Stand Sites Carefully
Day 3: Mark Drury & Midwestern Deer Stands & Will Primos Uses Cane Thicket Stands
Day 4: David Hale Likes Funnels for Deer Stand Sites
Day 5: Brad Harris Likes Creek Bottom Deer Stands & Chris Kirby Tells How Doe Deer Stands Can Pay Off in Big Bucks


Entry 587, Day 3