provided by John E. Phillips
Why Mark Drury Prefers to Have Numerous Small Farms to Manage for Deer
I’ve known and hunted with Mossy Oak Pro Mark Drury of Missouri and co-owner of Drury Outdoors for over 30 years. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch him not only evolve as a videographer and a TV host, but also as a land manager and hunter who’s learned the secrets of growing and taking big white-tailed bucks. Once you learn the Drury system of managing satellite hunting properties and keeping a log of bucks from 2-1/2 years old and older you’re planning to take, you also can produce more and bigger bucks on the properties you hunt just like Mark does. This week you’ll learn the system that the Drury family uses to consistently find and take older-age-class bucks with bigger racks and bodies than most of us ever have seen.
I own and lease 30,000 acres of land, but it’s not all contiguous. I never had the money to buy or lease that much land when I first started managing properties for big bucks. For the last 20 or 30 years, I’ve tried to buy or lease nice hunting lands every year. The lands I hunt are small and consist of more 15-acre, 40-acre, 80-acre and 160-acre areas then large plots. This practice is called the satellite-farm strategy, and I use it to hunt various deer herds. That way, I’m not just depending on one herd of deer in one location to produce the size and number of mature bucks that I want to take.
When you only have one large property, you run the risk of losing many of the older-age-class bucks to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). When that happens, several years are required to build your herd back up. I know this because when I owned one big farm, there were many instances when EHD hit my deer herd, and all the money I’d put into managing my land for big deer went down the drain. That’s when I decided to produce a fallback plan if EHD ever hit my property again. Instead of the using a large farm-management program, I now have more small properties in different areas to prevent my big bucks being totally wiped out. Plus, I’ve also learned that having more small farms in various locations is a much more effective way of being able to take big deer every season, instead of having just one farm to hunt.
At my farm in Missouri, my furthest small property from north to south is 75 miles away, and my closest lands are within about 40 miles of my main farm. Another advantage of having satellite properties is that you can lease and buy properties quicker than you can save up money to buy a big property. You’ll also be able to afford to do this in other states that you can hunt in at other times of the year. That’s why I also have properties in Texas and Iowa. I think if you’re serious about deer hunting, you may want to consider having various places where you can lease or buy land for less money than you’ll have to spend buying one large property on which you manage deer.