Editor’s Note: We all want to learn how, where and when to take big deer with our bows, but bowhunting is more than just harvesting animals. Some of the greatest memories I’ve ever made have been while bowhunting with family and friends and remembering the crazy things that have happened then. Knowing how much time Mark Drury of Drury Outdoors spends bowhunting and working to improve habitat and food for deer, I felt confident he’d seen and participated in some of the funniest hunts ever. I asked Mark – who probably bleeds Mossy Oak – to tell us about some of his funniest bowhunts. Mark and his brother Terry Drury produce the TV shows “Wildlife Obsession,” “Dream Season,” “Bow Madness” and “Natural Born.”
I love my daughter, Taylor, and enjoy hunting with her and seeing her take big deer. But I also like to play tricks on her. A few years ago we had a buck on our farm we called “Entertainment Center.” He was the biggest buck on the farm. We’d found both sides of his sheds the year before and put them on top of the farm’s entertainment center, and that’s how we named him. I had been hunting that buck all year. I had plenty of Reconyx trail-camera pictures of the buck, however, we just never could get him to a place where we could get a shot.
On the morning before this hunt, I had gone out to check my trail cameras and found pictures of Entertainment Center leaving one field to go back to a bedding area. When Taylor woke up, I showed her the pictures and told her I believed this buck would come out on this same field in the afternoon. “Get your PSE Chaos,” I told Taylor. “We’ll hunt this field this afternoon. I’ll try to make sure you get a shot at Entertainment Center.” Taylor agreed to hunt with me that afternoon.
One of the things I’d noticed about Entertainment Center was every afternoon after he fed, he appeared on this certain field. There usually were several-other bucks on this field, and Entertainment Center would walk toward them. They’d then walk off the field and into the woods. Entertainment Center was the most-dominant buck we had on the farm and knew he could beat-up or intimidate any-other buck he encountered. After he cleared the field of bucks, Entertainment Center would start feeding in the field and wait on does to arrive.
I decided to set-up a blind at the west end of the field, because we had an east wind. Before the hunt, I told Taylor we would do two things. We’d go into the blind from the east and set-up to avoid spooking him, and we’d put out a deer decoy. I planned to put a mounted buck head on a deer decoy body to look more real, so I could get the buck in close enough for Taylor to take him with her PSE Chaos. That was fine with Taylor. In our farm’s garage, there were 15-mounted deer. One of them was the biggest buck Taylor ever had taken, with antlers that would score 167 on Pope & Young. I rigged-up a system to put Taylor’s mounted trophy buck head on this deer decoy’s body. She started saying, “Wait a minute. Why are you using my biggest mounted buck head on the decoy body?” I said, “Your mount is the biggest mount we have. Entertainment Center is very aggressive. When he sees this decoy with a huge rack, he’ll come over. There’s a good chance that he’ll fight with the decoy and tear-up the mount, and I sure don’t want him to tear-up any of my mounts.” Taylor didn’t say a whole lot, but the idea of having the biggest deer she’d ever taken destroyed by another buck she hoped to take was really getting to her.
We went to the blind, and I set-up the decoy about 10-yards away. As soon as Entertainment Center came out of the woods, he headed straight for the decoy with Taylor’s mounted buck head on it in an aggressive posture, walking stiff-legged with his hair bristled. He looked just like a warrior ready to charge. I could see Taylor getting nervous. She drew her Chaos and took the shot at the buck when he only was about 3-steps from tearing-up Taylor’s mounted deer head. She was tickled to death that she’d taken Entertainment Center.
All during the hunt I was laughing inside and remembering the look on Taylor’s face as I was putting her mounted buck head on the plastic decoy body. As the deer came in, I could see in her eyes both worry and excitement. Even today, Taylor and I tell and retell this story. Of course, we tell it in indifferent versions. We both laugh about the excitement and misery I put her through on that hunt. I’ve always believed that making a hunting trip exciting and fun for youngsters is one of the best ways to ensure their hunting future. I have to admit, I may have over-played that card when I put Taylor’s best trophy on that plastic decoy.