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The secret to hunting whitetail deer scrapes

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Look for scrapes along tree lines with over hanging branches

With all the leaves on the ground it's hard to make out this 3ft dia. scrape

With all the leaves on the ground it's hard to make out this 3ft dia. scrape

A well placed scrape dripper, with some buck scent will piss off the buck that made this scrape.

A well placed scrape dripper, with some buck scent will piss off the buck that made this scrape.

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

Look for scrapes near rub lines with over hanging branches by open areas.

Look for scrapes near rub lines with over hanging branches by open areas.

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JoshH on September 23, 2014:

I found a scrape today in some dense woods, i have some hard woods to set up on but they're like 15, 20 yds off. pretty close if you ask me. so what should i do?

The creek buck on December 28, 2013:

I went out this morning and found another set of buck tracks and a bunch of doe tracks then I found blood spots not sure if it was shot or in heat and I am taking my crossbow out to that spot tomorrow and mabey a gun for late antler less

David (author) from Florida on December 28, 2013:

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one of those does is hot he'll follow her everywhere until he breeds her. Does will keep coming into heat within a few days of every full moon until she has been bred.

The Creek Buck on December 27, 2013:

I have a fairly large buck who has settled down in my hunting area and I have caught him on my trail cams but I never see him only when there is some kind of noise like a snowmobile or tractor I have found a beding area and water supply also some hay near by but since the second day of gun season in November when he ran past my stand I haven't seen him while I have been out by I've seen him from my house crossing from the bed to my stand area or from a neighbors field to the beading area and today I saw two doe go to the bed spot when I found the bed it was snowy and the whole area was all muddy and melted

David (author) from Florida on October 29, 2013:

Set up so that your back about 30 yds and make sure that the wind is blowing your scent away from where you're hunting. There's probably a doe coming in so that buck will be back soon to check those fresh scrapes. Good Luck!

mithell on October 28, 2013:

i have 12 fresh scrapes by appal trees shud i move my stand close to the scrapes

David (author) from Florida on January 03, 2013:

Your stand won't spook the buck. The buck making the scrape knows your stand is there, more than likely he comes in from an angle to wind your stand before moving into his scrape. We've had very good results by placing a climber back far enough to watch for bucks slipping in and winding the stand. You can hunt that stand but don't make any movements, when you least expect it, he'll slip in behind for a quick look.

chase on January 02, 2013:

i have a buck scrape 30 yards from my stand do i need to move my stand back?? BUT my stand was there before the buck scrape came.

David (author) from Florida on November 17, 2012:

No, bucks will check other bucks scrapes, does will even make territorial scrapes if there's a good food source. Lots of scrapes does mean you have active deer in the area, it's currently a hot spot and that's where you should be hunting right now. Once a buck hooks up with a doe the scrapes will go cold, he'll be busy off breeding.

bob on November 16, 2012:

do lots of scrapes mean lots of bucks

David (author) from Florida on November 09, 2012:

Yes, don't set up too close where the deer can wind you, when he's checking his scrapes.

Karl on November 08, 2012:

I found one scrape that was about 3 feet wide and and 4 feet long and about 20 yards away from that scrape I found one more alittle smaller is that a good place to be hunting at

lizstevens from Houston Texas on February 06, 2012:

Nice Hub! Thanks

David (author) from Florida on November 30, 2011:

Probably if a scrape doesn't look active anymore, it's because does have moved where they are feeding. When the food sources changes does move,and the bucks will follow. It's too late to hunt that old scrape, move to fresh scrapes or find the freshest food source, the does will help draw bucks to you.

justin on November 29, 2011:

when hunting late season or post rut near scraps, is it wise to open up a scrap that doesn't look active anymore or fresh

David (author) from Florida on November 23, 2011:

Multiple bucks may use the same scrape and they check different scrapes depending on wind direction but a buck will check scrapes in an area with does at least every 2-3 days, more often if a doe is getting close to coming into heat.

Steven on November 22, 2011:

How often will a buck check the scrape

Todd letienne on April 19, 2010:

I used this method along with a grunt call this year to score a nice scrapper in my area,I have very little time to hunt so had to adapt, i only hunt during the rut,with a mock scrape and grunt call a lethel combination two years in a row,I've had success with each of these metheds before,but combining them really stacked the odds in my favor.

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