John's Journal...

Terry Drury’s Bowhunting Tactics

Day 3: Bowhunter Terry Drury Shares His First Two Secrets to Recovering an Arrowed Buck

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: How long should you wait before going after a deer you've hit with your arrow?

Drury: Secret #1: Give the buck time to expire. Unless you make a perfect shot, and you either double-lung him or shoot him in the heart – which normally will take 10 to 15 seconds for him to expire – chances are you haven't hit him in a vital or only have clipped him in a vital. It may be a single lung, a high lung or a low lung hit. Unless that buck expires in 10 to 15 seconds, chances are you haven't put a proper hit on the deer. Then you've got to give him time. The biggest mistake a lot of bowhunters make is only waiting an hour, 1-1/2-hours or 2 hours before going after their deer, which isn't nearly enough time. On a single-lung hit, the deer may take 10, 12 or 14 hours to expire. Depending on what time of day you've hit him and the temperature – the last thing you want is for the meat to spoil. My friends and I always attempt to recover the animal and get it into a cooler as quickly as possible. Typically, if the weather is cooperative, and the temperatures are cool enough, we'll leave the animal overnight and not bother him until the following day. If we even remotely think we've put a mediocre hit on the animal, we'll put-off trying to recover him until the following day.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Do you think most people won't let a deer lie in the woods overnight?

Answer: Very few will. A lot of people are worried about predators like coyotes and bobcats, and that problem can occur. That's the risk you're taking, depending on the numbers of the predator population in your hunting area. If the region where you've hit the deer has numbers of coyotes, an animal may not be there an hour before coyotes are on him. Those are some of the factors that weigh into whether you want to try to approach and recover that animal immediately, after you've arrowed him. Weather is another determining factor. If a rain front's moving in, you may have to go in a little sooner than you like to, because you obviously don't want the blood trail to be washed away. Or, snow may be falling or something of that nature – all outside happenings you can't control. But if the weather cooperates in an area of low predation, 99 percent of the time, my hunting friends and I will leave a deer out overnight, unless it's a perfect hit.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: What's another secret to help you recover your deer?

Secret #2: Take only one or two people with you who have tremendous eyesight and good woodsmanship knowledge, understand how to travel stealthily through timber, know what they're looking for, understand how deer react when they're hit and have a knack for detecting blood when you go to recover the animal. Some people just can't see blood very well. Since I'm color blind, I have a difficult time picking blood up, depending on whether we're searching with a morning sun or an evening sun. Searching for an arrowed deer late at night when you use lanterns or other false lights makes picking up the blood trail much-more difficult than when you have natural lighting.

Click for Larger ViewMy brother Mark and I don't take three, four or five guys who want to run out ahead of us with us when we're trailing an arrowed deer. I think that's a mistake most people make. You'll go get a group of guys and say, "Hey, let's go look for my deer," and then suddenly, three or four guys are stumbling out ahead of you and may be disturbing the most-important piece of the puzzle to your finding that deer. They may accidentally kick one little leaf or one small limb where the blood is on the ground. Then you may be picking-up blood only every 20 or 50 yards. If they turn one leaf over in that 20-yard span, now you'll go 50 to 75 yards without seeing blood, and you may have lost your animal. Often a deer will stop bleeding before expiring. The animal will do a death run that lasts 40 or 50 yards. By that time, the arrowed deer is bleeding heavily and may have traveled 200 or 250 yards. Then the last 40 or 50 yards before the deer expires, it may accelerate until its expiration. In that period, very often the arrowed deer’s blood may have begun to clot, and the blood will stop. So the last 40 or 50 yards where you find no blood is the most-crucial period of blood tracking. What you don't want someone doing is stumbling around out there and disturbing the leaves, the limbs or the brush out ahead of you and maybe taking that last little piece of the puzzle that keeps you from finding that deer.

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: More of Bowhunter Terry Drury’s 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 3