The secret to hunting whitetail deer scrapes
Look for scrapes along tree lines with over hanging branches
Hunting whitetail buck scrapes
Scrapes are typically made by whitetail bucks, in the fall to mark breeding territories. A buck will begin making scrapes once they become breeding age, usually 11/2 yrs of age. Fall's decreasing sunlight triggers the amount of testosterone in a bucks body. The increase in testosterone influences the buck into becoming more territorial, thus begins the scrape activity.
Scrapes are made by a buck scraping away leaves or ground vegetation with his front feet, exposing bare ground. The scrape is usually positioned 4-5ft below an overhanging branch,that the buck rubs with his forehead leaving his scent. Don't mistake pawing for a scape, pawing is what bucks do to take out aggression and won't have the limb overhanging. Bucks also chew on the branches leaving scent from his saliva. As they go through these steps he also urinates down his back hocks onto his tarsal glands and into the scrape.
When a whitetail doe encounters a scrape, she will urinate or leave deer droppings among other things to allow the buck to know what stage of the breeding process she is in. Many does and other bucks may leave their scent at the same scrape, leaving the buck to decipher the deer moving through his territory.
Reading your scrapes
Lack of scrapes may indicate an out of balance buck to doe ratio. In an area where there are too many does or less competition among bucks there will be less scrape activity. Usually the bigger the scrape, the bigger the buck. There are times however a young buck will work on an existing scrape.Young bucks will make a scrape and not return, many times because of larger deer in that area.
Larger bucks will do a majority of the breeding and frequently create scrapes and revisit them regular using a winding trail. If you find a scrape in a high traffic area with many deer trails, it may be used by multiple bucks, this is a good hot spot to hunt.
Use of mock scrapes
I tried for many years to use a scrape dripper, with a mock scrape before discovering location is the key. Field edge scrapes are usually made by 11/2yr old bucks and are not shooters. You can't just pick a branch, hang a dripper, mock a scrape and expect a buck to show up. As a hunter you need to locate doe bedding areas and primary food sources. Look for multiple scrapes near these areas. Dominant bucks usually make multiple,larger scrapes and will typically refreshen these regular.
The best spots to set up a mock, would be a funnel between bucks bedding area and does bedding areas. Once you locate these areas this is where you want to make your mock scrape. You may also want to set up on an existing scrape, but don't get close enough to pressure the deer.
Mock scrape construction begins with your own scent control. Use rubber sole boots with scent control, on the bottom and wear rubber disposable gloves, so not to leave human scent. Hang your scrape dripper 6-7ft above the ground with a branch at 4-5 ft below. Now using a downed branch or your ratting horns, make a scrape directly below the dripper, so it'll leave the scent in your scrape. Do this again 2-3 times in the same are and make the occasional rub on a near by sappling with your horns or knife.
This indicates to deer a good buck has moved into an area. You may even have a buck take over your mock scrape or make one 5-10yds away. I usually give this 1-2 days to set, come back ,pour some hot doe scent into the scrape, then set a stand 30-40yds away. Hunt this stand steady for 2days, you'll be surprised at the attention whitetails will give these scrapes.
Rublines will help you locate scrapes
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