John's Journal...

Terry Drury’s Bowhunting Tactics

Day 2: Terry Drury Explains the Best Times to Hunt High-Pressured Areas for Deer and the Value of Sanctuaries in Those Areas

Editor’s Note: Longtime avid bowhunter Terry Drury of Missouri, the brother of nationally-known hunter Mark Drury and co-owner with Mark in Drury Marketing and Drury Outdoors, is an active member of PSE and Mossy Oak’s Pro Hunt Teams. Terry likes shooting his reliable PSE Dream Season X-Force bow.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Terry, what are the best times to hunt high-pressured areas?

Answer: "They" generally leave from where they're hunting in midmorning. You've heard a lot of people say, "I see all the big deer move between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.” When the other hunters get cold and decide to climb-out of their stands, stir around, or go in to lunch, that's when we stay put. That's the time when you need to be in your stand if you want to kill a mature deer, because that's when you'll see the deer up and moving. When that early-morning movement pattern that happens between 7:00 am and 7:30 am or possibly as late as 8:30 am ends, then you really need to be on your toes. In that period when the other hunters are stirring around and leaving the woods, suddenly you may see one big buck slipping up through there all by his lonesome, going back to bed or leaving his bedding area and returning to a staging region for that evening's feed. So, you need to stay-put in the middle of the day. We've found 9:00 am until 3:00 pm the most-productive times for hunting deer in highly-pressured places.

Question: Terry, what do you think about using scents and lures in high-pressured areas?

Answer: From the time bucks have been button bucks, the bucks in really high-pressured areas have smelled every scent imaginable. They've smelled doe-in-estrus, tarsal, dominant buck – well, you name it, and they've smelled it. They've also become immune to every foreign substance known to man. I know some people have luck with using scents and lures, and I say more power to them. If scents and lures work for you, then use them. Actually I feel the same way about calling, grunting and rattling in high-pressured areas. But my brother Mark and I prefer not to use scents or lures in high-pressured areas or call a lot. We don't put any foreign substance on our boots or on our persons when we go into or out of a high-pressured section of land. Deer have smelled these smells all their lives and know to skirt that area and get downwind when they smell those lures and scents. They may go across your track on the way in and simply turn around and go the other way. Although these bucks only may skirt you by 50, 75 or 100 yards, they'll still avoid you, because pushing a big, mature buck out of an area doesn't take much. When that buck smells that scent, he realizes that he'll most-likely get rattled-to, called-to or grunted-at, so when he smells that foreign substance, he’ll skirt you and go the other way or skirt you by just 150-yards downwind, and you'll never see him or know he's there.

The Value of Sanctuaries in High-Pressured Areas:

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Terry, what happens to the deer in the high-pressured areas?

Answer: They – the hunters who are doing the pressuring – will push deer out of an area when they scout, walk, look, stomp and just hang out. To avoid that, we designate sanctuaries where we hunt that we simply won't walk through under any circumstances, unless we're recovering an animal. Nine times out of 10, if a sanctuary never has had a human walk through it, then the deer will feel very comfortable there, particularly in a bedding spots. Often a sanctuary will be a huge thicket, a big block of timber, a large tangle of wild roses, a locust-tree patch or a region that has grown-up. The deer will feel safe there, because they don't smell any human scent or any foreign substance and haven't heard any grunting or rattling in that place. The deer will feel comfortable in that area where we don't hunt or penetrate. Instead we'll hunt the perimeters of those regions, because when a buck is pressured, that's where he'll go.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: So, you create sanctuaries to make a place for deer to move into, and you won't go into those areas yourself.

Answer: Absolutely.

Question: To take a deer that's moving into those types of places, you'll have to bag him outside of those regions, so he never smells any human odor there.

Answer: That's correct. He feels comfortable coming to and from that area, whether it's feeding or bedding. We've got sanctuaries set aside where we hunt that are feeding areas where the only time you see a human go through there is when they're planting or harvesting, so there’s minimal foot traffic in those spots. As long as there's no human pressure, those deer feel comfortable coming to and from those places. That's where we catch them: on perimeters of highly-pressured areas going to places that aren’t pressured. And, this strategy has worked time and time again for us.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: So, if you've got control of land in a high-pressured region, you designate certain sites that you or nobody else can hunt.

Answer: Absolutely, and it can be the smallest of blocks. You don't have to have but a 5-acre, a 10-acre, a 20-acre or a 50-acre patch, and it doesn't take a lot of money to buy a small parcel. As long as you never penetrate that sanctuary, you can catch deer slipping in and out of a small parcel so easily. Then harvesting a big deer in highly-pressured areas is easy.

Question: So, you're creating deer magnets.

Answer: We’re making deer magnets or sanctuaries where deer know they can go and don't have to worry about encountering a human.

You’ll learn more-intensive hunting information and tips from 17 nationally-known hunters in these new Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips: “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro” and “PhD Whitetails.” Go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Bowhunter Terry Drury Shares His First Two Secrets to Recovering an Arrowed Buck

Check back each day this week for more about "Terry Drury’s Bowhunting Tactics"

Day 1: Terry Drury Explains the Ways Not to Hunt High-Pressured Deer
Day 2: Terry Drury Explains the Best Times to Hunt High-Pressured Areas for Deer and the Value of Sanctuaries in Those Areas
Day 3: Bowhunter Terry Drury Shares His First Two Secrets to Recovering an Arrowed Buck
Day 4: More of Bowhunter Terry Drury’s Secrets to Recovering an Arrowed Buck
Day 5: Bowhunter Terry Drury’s Remaining Secrets for Recovering an Arrowed Buck

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Entry 685, Day 2