Matt Drury rarely, if ever, gets to hunt as hard or for as long he did in early December.
And he’s never taken as nice of a deer as the one trip produced either.
Drury is the brand manager of Drury Outdoors, which produces several shows for Outdoor Channel. Matt’s father, Terry, and his uncle, Mark, host the shows and are among the most popular personalities on the network.Mark is typically the behind-the-scenes manager for Drury Outdoors, keeping things in order and making sure deadlines are met while Mark and Terry are in the woods, hunting and filming new episodes for upcoming seasons.
As a result, Matt usually doesn’t get to hunt as much as he would like.
“Typically, no,” said Matt, 32. “Usually, I’m back here in the office, making sure we are moving forward with our deadlines and overseeing the production of everything we’ve got going. We produce three TV shows for the Outdoor Channel in addition to three DVDs each year of all original content.
“Usually I’m here in the office and that way Mark and Terry can get out. They hunt pretty much from September to January. We usually don’t see them throughout the fall at all.”
But a new show the Drurys plan to unveil on Outdoor Channel in the summer of 2014 is currently under production. In addition to Mark and Terry, it will also include Mark’s daughter, Taylor, and Matt as on-air personalities.
“So this year, going into it, we kind of knew that I would be hunting a little bit more than usual,” Matt said.
During the first week of December, the Drurys and crew were hunting during the second Illinois shotgun season in Fulton County in the northwest part of the state. Several factors, including the region’s ongoing issues with the deer-killing epizootic hemorrhagic disease, hunting was painstakingly slow.
“The season became a lot tougher for our entire team, and really for all of the producers out there,” Matt said. “With EHD running through the Midwest and it was unseasonably warm for the longest time and the moon phase was wrong – the movement was not as good as we are accustomed to.
“Honestly, I hunted a lot more this year that I ever had before, pretty much from the last week of October all the way up to the first week of December. It’s not my typical year. Usually I go up to Dad’s for a couple weekends a year, weekend warrior-type deal. But this year the situation kind of dictated that I needed to be out there a lot more.”
Matt and his film crew sat in a blind on a recently picked corn field for three days and saw few deer. With a cold front expected to bring snow, Terry and Matt decided that for the final day of the four-day season Matt would move to a 60-acre parcel of land Terry owned. Still, Terry had hunted the 60 acres for three previous days and had seen few deer as well, so hopes were not high for success.
But during the afternoon of that final day, things turned around.
“Between our Dream Season: The Journey show and Mark and Terry and myself, we’ve hunted the state of Illinois as much as anywhere, and we had just not seen the results we would have expected,” Matt said. “This was actually probably my 13th or 14th day over there.
“We have some pretty good leases that we have over there, several little parcels of ground that we own and we were just not seeing the deer. The hunting was tough just because they weren’t moving. It was one of those cases where we were in the right spot at the right time.”
With the snow falling, Matt and his crew saw 25-30 deer during the final hours of daylight. Finally, a massive 8-pointer stepped into the field with some does at around 4:30 p.m. Matt allowed the buck to move a bit farther into the field before dropping him in his tracks from 150 yards with his Thompson Center Omega muzzleloader.
“The next morning we went in and pulled our Reconyx game cameras to see if we had pictures of him – we had never seen him before,” Matt said. “And he had shown up at midnight the night before. That was the first time we had ever gotten pictures of that deer.”
The buck’s initial green score was 161, an extremely impressive total for an 8-point.
“It was mainly because of his main beams,” Matt said. “He had 25-inch long main beams, plus he had 13-inch G2s. His frame was just really well put together and he had the max measurements all the way through. A giant 8-pointer, fully mature.”
Matt’s hunt will be included as part of the Drurys’ new show on Outdoor Channel next summer. In the meantime, several episodes of Drury productions will air over the holidays.
“Bow Madness continues with more big game hunts than we’ve ever had before – mule deer, bears,” Matt said. “Then on Dream Season: The Journey, it’s been a really tough season, but the guys try to triumph through trials and tribulations.”
Go to 2013 Deer Camp