Most does have been bred by now throughout all but a few areas of the whitetail’s range. But this doesn’t mean that bucks won’t use scrapes anymore, or that they aren’t great locations to place a trail camera or treestand.
The biology is straightforward. During the weeks before most does are receptive, bucks frequently check scrapes. As more and more does become receptive, bucks don’t use scrapes as frequently, and spend the bulk of their time seeking and chasing receptive does. Once most does have been bred, bucks return to checking scrapes. Bucks are still displaying lots of rut behavior, and they switch from traveling and seeking does to checking scrapes.
Active scrapes are often located in travel corridors between food and cover. These are great stand locations with or without a scrape. However, an active scrape adds to the attractiveness of the area and helps hunters know exactly where to position stands.
Because deer haven’t been tending scrapes during the rut, I freshen up existing scrapes or make mock scrapes in a better position for a shot from my blind/stand. I use Code Blue’s synthetic buck lure, and it’s been working great!
Check out the trail cam video below: This tall-tined buck can’t get enough of the Code Blue Whitetail Synthetic Doe Estrous scent place on a wick above this scrape.
I use synthetic because I don’t have to worry about natural urine breaking down. Even more importantly, there’s no chance of synthetic urine spreading CWD. Very simply, CWD is a huge concern for our deer herd’s long-term health, and I don’t wish to take any chances.
If you are hunting during the late season, scrapes are often great stand locations, especially if you freshen them up with a high-quality lure.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Dr. Grant Woods and his popular on-demand web series that shares current information about deer hunting and deer management. The free videos focus on what the GrowingDeer team of experienced hunters and deer managers are doing in the field week to week, including action-packed hunts, proven hunting strategies, habitat management, food plots, trail camera techniques and the gear it takes to get it all done.