Every fall, hunters across the country head afield in pursuit of whitetails. Though the game they chase is the same, the way they go about it and the tactics they use vary, as do success rates. Many whitetail tagging hopefuls are happenstance hunters, they set out, read the situation to the best of their ability, and then hope for the best. On the other end of the spectrum are the science-based hunters like Mark Drury. If you are a whitetail hunter, then you have undoubtedly heard the name Mark Drury before and you are familiar with Drury Outdoors and the popular television shows they produce like Bow Madness, Drury’s THIRTEEN and Critical Mass, all seen on Outdoor Channel. Mark, and his brother Terry Drury, have each spent more than 30 years in the field hunting and observing whitetail behavior and it is this experience that they draw on to predict deer movement with such success season after season. Mark Drury joins us this week to talk whitetail hunting and DeerCast, a comprehensive app they have developed to forecast deer movement.
So, what is DeerCast? It is an app that uses your local weather information, combined with the THIRTEEN phases of the whitetail season and all of Mark and Terry Drury’s wisdom, in order to create a custom deer movement forecast that is location specific. Whether you are a happenstance hunter or a science-based hunter, this app takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining deer movement. Mark explains that in order to make these kinds of predictions, 11 different weather influencers are built into the algorithm of the app. On an hour by hour basis, the DeerCast app looks at those 11 weather influencers and then adjusts them to the phase of the season you are in. Mark notes the interesting changes that happen with the progression of seasons and how the different weather influencers affect predictions differently throughout each phase. Mark says that this app is incredibly smart - to the extent that it knows when a buck is going to move before the buck knows. While this app can’t tell you exactly where to sit, it allows hunters to make a better educated guess on where to focus their efforts on the deer, based on the forecast provided.
The departure from average daily temperatures in your area can play a role in the overall deer activity with above normal temperatures suppressing deer movement and below normal temperatures increasing activity. With so many hunters afield hoping to bring home a buck, hunting pressure is a very real scenario that can alter deer movement. Excessive hunting pressure suppresses movement as whitetails seek cover to survive. Mark says that deer seek the cover of woods, brush and darkness when they are fearful, and especially trend toward the cover of darkness. While rutting behavior can bring them out from their beds, cover and even nocturnal routines, Mark cautions that excessive human pressure could shut down an entire deer herd. Another factor that can play into deer movement is the moon phase. Mark says that the moon is one of the eleven influencers used in the DeerCast app. As a general rule of thumb, Mark says that they see more daylight activity in and around the full moon than they do around the darker moon. He’ll explain how these moon phases suppress or increase deer movement and when to look for the bump or slump of activity as a result.
While an unfavorable forecast may not be what you were hoping to see on any given day, Mark says that the ability of the DeerCast app to predict this slump in behavior is actually a positive thing. Rather than going into a stand or blind, bumping deer and putting your scent out everywhere, Mark says this is a good time to scout instead of hunt. Mark will talk about using trail cameras for continuous scouting and how cameras play a vital role in his success each season. Finally, Mark will talk about stand and blind placement based on deer sign. Mark says that he positions himself in such a way that deer sign - trails, scrapes and rubs - are in an upwind position with his stand or blind along a fence, pasture edge, creek edge or another safe downwind position.
Tune in for an interesting and informative talk about deer movement and the factors that influence it. Plus, the DeerCast app, it’s deer movement forecasting capabilities and thousands of hours of Drury Outdoors content.
All-new episodes of Drury’s THIRTEEN can be seen every Tuesday night at 10 pm ET on Outdoor Channel. Following that, at 10:30 pm ET on Outdoor Channel, is new episodes of Critical MASS. Finally, the new season and episodes of Bow Madness air each and every Thursday at 10 pm ET, again on Outdoor Channel.