John's Journal...

Terry Drury’s Bowhunting Tactics

Day 5: Bowhunter Terry Drury’s Remaining Secrets for 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 ViewSecret #7: Landmark the spot where you've last seen the deer. Actually you have to do this when you make your shot. We've talked earlier about the importance of listening to the deer, and now we're talking about using your eyes. You've seen where you've hit the deer. Now, where have you last seen that deer before he's gone out of sight? Landmark that tree, bush, weed, open pasture, cornfield or whatever, and brand it into your mind. Don't let the image go. Keep it in your head, and think about it over and over. Then, when you can get your buddy or someone else out there with you, you can walk that person to the exact spot where you've last seen that deer. If the deer's bleeding good, that's one thing, but you won't know that until you've climbed-down out of your tree stand or until you've approached him. But if suddenly, you don't have any blood to follow – perhaps the deer's blood has clotted right away, even though you've hit him in the vitals – landmarking the deer will help you recover him. Then you can walk to the place where you've last seen the deer – maybe 200- to 300-yards away. You've cut the distance you have to search in half and may be within 50 or 100 yards of where the deer's lying. So, always brand that scene in your mind when you've hit the deer, and never let it go.

Click for Larger ViewSecret #8: Think about where the deer is heading. Once you've determined you're on his trail, and you know he's hit, is he heading to water, or is he heading to a bedding thicket? Are there brush piles or treetops that he can crawl into and hide from predators? Is it a hit that will cause him to go to water? Sometimes a liver hit will do that, and a liver hit on a deer takes a long time to cause death. Many guys say a deer won't run uphill when he's vitally hit. However, the guys who hunt with me have found that to be an incorrect assumption. We've seen numbers of deer run uphill and die just right over the tops of those hills. We've found that instinct takes-over when deer are hit in certain areas. For instance, with some arrow hits, a deer will travel to bedding. You can determine that by the trail where you are. You've got to think about where the deer's going after you've followed it a ways. What's the closest proximity of a bedding area, a treetop, really-thick cover or thick briars? Don't push him out of the region where he is. Instead, let him run in there and expire. Or, is he heading to a pond, a creek, a lake, a branch or a river, since often an arrowed deer will head to the nearest water source? And, even though you may lose some of the blood trail, the next place I’ll go is to water. If you run out of blood to follow, think about all the deer's options of where he’s been heading before you’ve lost the blood trail.

Click for Larger ViewSecret #9: Mark your back trail. If you don't have anything on your person to mark that back trail – an orange marker, surveyors and/or flagging tape, toilet paper or paper towels – then cut your T-shirt up, and hang the pieces on limbs. Or, take your socks off, and cut them up into little pieces to mark your back trail. By doing this, you can turnaround and look at where the deer's been and the direction in which he's going and get a line on what direction he's heading. If you've lost the blood trail, you can turn-around, look-back 200 yards and see your back trail, which will give you a little bit more of a line of direction where he's heading. You can take that line, project it in a straight line and maybe pick-up the blood 50, 75, 100 yards down the way. You only may spot a speck, a drip or a drop or maybe a track. You may see where the deer has stumbled and turned over a weed. But as long as you've got a line on that deer, then you'll have some idea of where to head.

Click for Larger ViewSecret #10: Smell the arrow, and look at it to determine whether it has lung blood, belly hair or fat on it, if you find your arrow. Whatever's on the arrow will tell you exactly where you've hit the deer. If the arrow is covered with air bubbles, chances are you've caught at least one lung. Then the deer will need 10-14 hours to expire. If it's covered with green bile, your arrow placement has been a little farther back than you like, and you've hit the deer in the entrails. In that case, make sure you give that deer 12-15 hours to expire. A gut shot hit is one of the most-lethal hits, but it takes a tremendous amount of time for the deer with this hit to expire – like a liver hit, which makes them feel sick instantly. A deer will hunch-up and run-off, but eventually the animal will lie down and expire. So, even if the arrow is broken, make sure you check it to see what's on it.

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.



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 5