Whitetail Buck Scrapes – All You Need to Know
Deer Scrapes are typically made by whitetail bucks to mark their breeding territories. As the season progresses into fall, the whitetail buck begins to produce more testosterone, causing bucks to become more territorial. How do whitetails mark their territory? Most frequently we see marking behavior through rubbing overhead branches with their antlers, forehead or saliva and scraping/pawing at the ground with urination. Throughout the season the whitetail will check on these scrapes for competition making sure his territory is claimed.
Scrapes are a valuable part of a hunter’s scouting and harvesting tactic, having effectively been used by modern hunters for decades. The team at Nationwide Scents has created a how to guide regarding whitetail scrapes and using whitetail scrape lures.
What to Look for?
Scrapes and rubs are great ways to tell if a whitetail is using your hunting property as his territory. When scouting your hunting property be on the look out for these signs:
- High traffic or use areas – Look for deer trails finding their common path throughout the property. This path will be well worn, almost similar to a cattle trail, but thinner.
- Deer Droppings – Reviewing the droppings along a trail can give you insight on the use of that trail, possible direction and even bedding areas.
- Bedding areas – Look for areas in close proximity of the deer trail that look flattened, like deer have been bedding in that area.
- Watch for overhead branches – Typically 4-5ft off the ground you may find a licking branch. Pay attention to the tree type and branching. You will find most bucks use the same type of tree for their marking.
- Below the licking branch – You should see a scrape.
Location – Location – Location
The best spots to set up scrapes are in a funnel between a buck’s bedding area and doe bedding areas and/or feeding areas. Scrapes in high traffic areas with multiple trails may be used by multiple bucks. This can be a good spot to hunt or to make another mock scrape. This new mock scrape will indicate to current bucks that someone new is trying to claim the territory. Creating this competition will increase the frequency that the scrape site is visited, giving you a great opportunity to inventory your current buck and doe population.
Making a Mock Scrape
Scrapes will help to acclimate your bucks to areas where you can easily hunt them in the coming season, with better access points and places where your stands are located. Using a whitetail scrape lure can help you funnel deer to your camera to take inventory of your local bucks and does. This will help you design your management plan and harvest list for the coming deer season.
- Find your perfect location – that licking branch you found or created.
- Try to be as scent free as you can – limit the potential of spreading too much human scent.
- With your rubber boots, scrape a 3 foot circle down to bare dirt under a low over hanging branch.
- Use a strong branch to scrape the ground – deer have sharp hooves, make a few gouges.
- Hang your favorite scent dripper or scent wick saturated with Nationwide Scents Scrape Lure on the overhanging branch.
- Set up your camera and let the action begin!
How often should I refresh my scrape?
Every 2 weeks is a good time to refresh. You want to be careful that you don’t over pressure your area by refreshing to often. Though the deer urine won’t last for 2 weeks you will still keep the bucks attention and it will give you a good view of the deer in your area. If it is legal in your state, you may also want to place it adjacent to an existing or mineral or other attractants. Minerals come in a solid block, granular, and liquid form. There are various scents and flavors that offer long-range attraction power.
While it’s not very difficult to make a mock scrape, mock scrapes are a great hunting tactic to attract for you to make a good shot. Consider adding a mock scrape using Nationwide Scents Scrape Lure this season and see what happens.
Research was done with live whitetails bucks. One wick saturated with fresh frozen deer urine was placed 12 feet away from a wick saturated with room temperature stored deer urine. Wicks were set so buck would need to choose which one to go to and were not forced to go to one or the other. After bucks were released into that pen, the seconds were counted that each buck had his nose within 12 inches of a wick.