Deer hunters can learn a lot from a dog. My Labrador Jackson loves for me to take him for a walk around the neighborhood. Naturally, he will tug at the lead and try to make sure he leaves his mark on any lamppost, mailbox or fire hydrant he can. Why? Because he is a male dog and he can’t help it.
Buck deer do the same thing with scrapes and it is one of the best ways to attract a big buck. Scrapes are areas on the ground, usually under tree branches that overhang about 40” off the ground, where deer scrape the soil with their hooves, urinate in the soil and rub their scent on the overhanging branches. Deer, like dogs, all smell different to each other and they have an instinct to mark their territory.
During the whitetail breeding time (or the rut as it’s commonly called by hunters) bucks visit scrapes regularly to see who’s been in the area. It will also attract does that mark the scrape with their urine which tells a buck if she is ready to be bred. With many deer urine products on the market today, it makes it a breeze to trick a whitetail into showing up for the hunter. Even if there is not a scrape in the area, a hunter can create a mock scrape that will work as well as the real thing.
Here’s how to do it:
First, locate a fresh scrape and shovel the dirt where the deer have already urinated on it into a clean odor free container. Usually a couple of gallons of soil will work. Then cut the over hanging branches from above the real scrape that the deer have been rubbing on.
Next, locate the area where you would like to attract deer where overhanging branches are present. Disturb the soil and spread the new dirt on top. Then tie the branches in with wire above the dirt about 40” high. Twist ties from bread wrappers work well. To make this mock scrape even more irresistible, hang a scent dripper or scented wick above the branches. I generally use a product called “Special Golden Estrus” as my primary commercially made scent. It is made by Wildlife Research Center (see wildlife.com) for more info.
And don’t forget to use Scent Killer before you do all this so that you minimize the human scent you leave behind!
Finally, take a good look at your mock scrape and then leave for a couple of days. Because when you return, you will notice you have created an area that deer simply can’t resist visiting.
I have used this technique for years and been able to get some incredible results and it doesn’t take long to work.
The best part is, when the first buck uses the mock scrape it becomes a real scrape. You can learn a lot from a dog, as long as you are almost as smart as he is and be willing to learn.
Photo: Clint and Charles Robertson