Terry kicks it off discussing a particular 240-acre wildlife sanctuary where their habitat management plans have been implemented to the benefit of the wildlife there. Terry says this property began with expansive open spaces, and a bottom that was way too big for daylight walkers. Terry says when you want whitetails to walk through an area in the daylight they need to feel secure and this open bottom was one he thought the deer would avoid for its lack of security. To change that, Terry says that he decided to put something in that provided cover from one side of the bottom to the other. On one end he put a border of standing corn with clover in the middle, on the other end he planted 20 acres of standing corn and created an outside corner where he could locate a blind. As a result, he was able to establish a safe haven for deer to get from one side to the other with the security of the standing corn. Terry notes that the corn remnants that are still standing now from last fall are paying off as turkeys are using them. By improving a property with whitetails in mind, other wildlife also directly benefits from those efforts. Terry says it’s amazing to see what happens when you provide a food source and let it stand. Last year they found 4-5 shed antlers on this property and one year later it’s 16-17 shed antlers. By putting effective boundaries in place, this property has become a habitat mecca for all animals.
Farmers typically rotate their crops as to not take too many nutrients from the soil without replenishing them using a different crop. For instance, many hunters and food plotters will alternate corn and soybeans each year. However, for hunters there are certain areas where the height and cover that corn provides are essential. If you have 10 to 11-foot stalks of standing corn, you can use them to slip into and out of hunting areas, to block visibility from a well-traveled road and more. In general, corn creates great natural cover for not only animals, but for the hunters pursuing them as well. Terry says that corn is an excellent blocker because it will stand during the winter months, even with ice and snow. Warm season grasses are great, however, with exposure to snow and ice they often lay over and become ineffective cover providers.
When it comes to planting and maintaining food plots, Terry says they use implements from RTP Outdoors like the GENESIS and Ground-Breaker. Terry says that RTP Outdoors has really been an eye opener for those who want to be weekend warriors and plant smaller plots as they have something for everyone when it comes to smaller implements. However, they cater to people across the board, larger or smaller with various widths and models that will work regardless of the tool you have to run it, a 20 HP or 150 HP tractor or a Side-by-Side recreational vehicle. In particular, Terry talks about the Ground-Breaker, a 3-in-1 food plot implement that works the soil up with cutting discs, plus a seed hopper that can handle any seed from corn to clover, and finally a culti-pack roller to smooth out the soil and encourage good seed to soil contact. He’ll also talk briefly about the GENESIS no till food plot drill.
If you purchase a property and work consistently to manage and improve it, at what point should you start seeing results? Referring back to the 240-acre piece of property he talked about previously, Terry says it’s incredible what kind of improvements were made just by leaving some food out. In general, year number two is good and you can start to see some improvement. However, year three is what he looks forward to. He gets excited about the potential for antler development, body weight, the benefit it has on the birthing process for does and fawns, and the button bucks that will grow up there, feeling comfortable eating and bedding there. Seeing the impacts really comes down to current information that you are able to look at and study from your property – where are they bedding and feeding, how are they moving through an area, on what winds you can access different parts of your property and on what winds you can hunt. Property management is a learning curve and one that Terry says they get fairly familiar with by year 3. Management is all about the land, but also about the numbers of wildlife on it, the buck to doe ratios. Terry says he doesn’t know too many hunters in the country that kill more does than they do. He says they are very aggressive about doe management and they work to keep a good buck to doe ratio. You’d love to have a 1:1 ratio, Terry says, but it’s really not practical. So, they try to harvest does with regularity and consistency working toward 1:3 or 1:4 buck to doe ratios. It’s not just about the sex of the deer, but also about the number of deer collectively and the mouths at the table. In the late season when you’ve got standing crops, if you have too many deer at the table it has an adverse effect. Because deer are sensitive to stress, when you get too many in one place it impacts antler development and body weight so keeping doe numbers in check is also important from a feed aspect. Terry says that he enjoys shooting does and the challenge of hunting an alpha doe. Furthermore, if a doe has a pair of button bucks with her, and you harvest that doe, the buttons often won’t leave that particular property. So, harvesting a mature doe with a button buck fawn allows you to control your button buck dispersal which is something Terry says he’s very in tune with.
Finally, if you’ve ever wanted the opportunity to hunt land like the Drury’s do, then you are in luck. The Drury’s are celebrating 30 years in the outdoors by giving away a farm! The Drury’s “Giving Away the Farm” is an opportunity for everyone to put their name in the hat to win an incredible 60-acre farm in northern Missouri with planted food plots, stand locations, two fantastic farm ponds and more. Your name could be on that title. Seriously, you need to enter!
Terry says that he and Mark looked at several properties but were drawn to this particular one and wanted to put their thumbprint on it, so they scouted, picked the locations for food plots, identified tree stand locations that were advantageous for hunting in different winds and more. It’s a work in progress and going to be an awesome property for deer and turkey hunting and more. In addition to the big giveaway, the Drury Outdoors team is also giving away monthly prize packages from their partners. To enter, you can download the “DeerCast” app on your mobile device or head here for alternate ways to enter. Terry says one lucky winner will be announced in January of 2020. Go enter!
Be sure to listen in as Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors and co-host of Bow Madness and Drury’s THIRTEEN joins The Revolution to talk property and whitetail management. New seasons of Bow Madness and Drury’s THIRTEEN will premiere on Outdoor Channel in July, in the meantime you can binge watch all of your favorite Drury Outdoor shows by using the MyOutdoorTV app.
Get in on the celebration, enter to win The Farm!