Skip to main content

EHD Decimates Drury's Herd

Mark laments 70 percent loss of bucks on Iowa farm

EHD Decimates Drury's Herd
Mark Drury

Ask Mark Drury about deer hunting, and usually his response is the model for passion. He loves hunting whitetails and in turn it motivates and propels him.

This fall, however, deer discussions will many times leave Drury depressed.

Over the past year, Drury’s well-managed herd at his main farm in Clark and Decatur counties in south central Iowa has been decimated by the deadly virus epizootic hemorrhagic disease. His original fears of the extent of the EHD outbreak, unfortunately, have been surpassed.

“I lost 70 percent of my bucks on the main Iowa farm,” said Drury, who hosts and produces several Outdoor Channel shows with his brother Terry, including “Dream Season,” “Wildlife Obsession,” “Bow Madness” and “King of the Spring.”


“It’s worse than we originally thought. I just finished my camera surveys, and it’s just bad. That’s a herd we’re been managing for 15 years. We lost a bunch of nice, really big bucks.”


Drury had originally projected that the outbreak would cost him about 50 percent of his bucks on the farm.“I believe we were dealing with two different strains of the disease,” he said. “There was the acute strain where the deer died right away. But there was also a chronic strain, and those guys just couldn’t make it through the winter. You wouldn’t believe the number of bucks we found that shed their antlers and died this winter.

Nearly always fatal, EHD strikes deer in times of drought. A lack of rainfall drives deer to congregate near fewer remaining water sources, usually stagnant standing water. There, they can be bitten by a midge, the small flying insect that transmits the illness.

Most of the Midwest was struck by severe drought in the summer of 2012, and more than a dozen states reported significant deer die-offs tied to EHD.

Drought conditions have persisted this summer and Drury said he has seen additional EHD-related deaths.


“Drought is drought,” he said. “When Mother Nature doesn’t turn on the water … you’ve got to have that water.”

In terms of his profession, Drury has had to call an audible in order to continue to produce numerous quality hunts for television.“We lost about 30 or 40 percent of the deer on our Missouri farm, but we still should be able to have some hunts there,” he said. “We’re going to go down to Texas to hunt with some people I know down there. Just going to diversify a little bit.”

As for his philosophy for his deer herd management, that may have changed forever.


“In the big picture, it really reminds you who’s in charge,” he said. “It’s got me to wondering if the deer are really meant to reach the age we desire. It’s gotten to the point where a deer has to be 5 or 6 years old before it even catches our attention. And I wonder if our desire is almost impossible to achieve.”

Going forward, Drury said it is likely he will change his ideology with the herd he has been managing since 1998.

“We’ll probably be not so selective anymore, shoot more deer,” he said. “If we keep the numbers lower, there likely won’t be as much social stress within the herd.”

"BioLogic & Drury's Wildlife Obsession" show page

Go to 2013 Deer Camp

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

In-Fisherman's Managing Editor, Rob Neuman, sits down with bass pro Josh Douglas, to get insight on the all-new ShimanoVanford spinning reel. It features a LongStroke Spool for long-distance casting. The Vanford spinning reel will be available in 7 sizes: 500-5000. MSRP: $299.99 - $239.99.

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Plano's Charlie Davis and In-Fisherman's Rob Neumann talk about the new Plano Edge Flex as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

G Loomis NRX Rods

G Loomis NRX Rods

Whatever the target species, these rods feel good in the fly shop when you're giving them a test drive.

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

Chris Walker, with RIO Products, talks with Editor/Publisher Ross Purnell of Fly Fisherman magazine about the new SlickCast lineup of fly lines for 2020.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Starting opening day, there's a small window to tag out before pressure impacts buck movement. Make the most of it.Quick-Strike Tips for Early Archery Deer Success Whitetail

Quick-Strike Tips for Early Archery Deer Success

Tony Peterson - August 18, 2020

Starting opening day, there's a small window to tag out before pressure impacts buck movement....

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day Whitetail

10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day

M.D. Johnson - August 26, 2020

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

Here's a look at recent cases conservation officers faced in the field all across the nation.Game Warden Stories: Antler Poachers, Naked Wanted Man, Secret-Note Tip Conservation & Politics

Game Warden Stories: Antler Poachers, Naked Wanted Man, Secret-Note Tip

Game & Fish Staff - June 26, 2020

Here's a look at recent cases conservation officers faced in the field all across the nation.

Several Midwestern states now permit hunters to use centerfire, straight-wall cartridges during deer seasons that were previously limited to muzzleloaders and shotguns.Straight-Wall Rifle Cartridges: Deer Hunting Advantages Ammo

Straight-Wall Rifle Cartridges: Deer Hunting Advantages

Adam Heggenstaller

Several Midwestern states now permit hunters to use centerfire, straight-wall cartridges...

See More Whitetail

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now