October 11, 2021
If you're looking for where to hook up with a trophy whitetail buck this rut, look for where the deer hook up with each other.
Scrapes are kind of like dating sites for whitetails, and understanding how these areas reflect buck behavior, especially around the rut, will lead to deer-hunting success.
One of the problems with scrapes, says Crash Course host Mark Kayser in the video, "Make and Hunt a Mock Scrape," is they’re not always convenient to the ambush point you've selected. But making a mock scrape can create a buck hot spot where you want it, and it's pretty simple to do.
What's a Deer Scrape?
Whitetails will scrape year-round, studies confirm, but with fall's diminishing daylight hours and the surge in testosterone there's an uptick in scrape behavior as the rut approaches.
Bucks use scrapes to communicate "this is my territory, get out" to other bucks, and "I am available, ladies, call me" to does in estrus.
Making a mock scrape can be done in the preseason, or even on the fly in October and November, but Kayser says the key to a productive mock scrape is placement.
"Figure out where they're traveling, where you want your ambush spot to be and find an ideal tree," Kayser said. "Now, what's the best tree? Just look around and remember from your past hunting experiences, where do the whitetails scrape the most? And look for that tree."
If you can't find one, make your own. Clip a branch off a tree you know deer like and overhang the branch from another tree in the spot you want. You want the predominant wind to blow from the scrape to your ambush point.
Mock Scrape Construction
Once you've picked a good place for a mock scrape, it's pretty easy to do with a small shovel, large stick or, if the solid is soft enough, your boot, as long as it's scent-free. If you've clipped off a branch for a "licking branch," it needs to be directly over the mock scrape. Bucks will rub scent from glands and lick on this branch to announce his intentions.
Scrapes can be of different sizes, from small fast-and-furious scrapes, to trash-can-lid-sized areas that the buck took effort to make. These big, primary scrape areas are the ones you're looking for in your hunting area, and the ones to duplicate in a mock scrape.
Follow mock-scrape construction with scent attractant.
Watch the video to learn more