Scrape Hunting 101

Image0011 If you could build a better mousetrap for whitetails I doubt you’d use the contraption in the photo here. No doubt you are familiar with scrapes and the fact that if you wait by the right one long enough, you’ll get a crack at a buck. If you plan on building a mock scrape you’d better sign up for “Scrapes 101.”

First, scrapes serve as territorial markers for bucks to outline their territory. Scrapes also provide a show of dominance for older bucks. Scent associated near a scrape, either deposited on an overhanging branch or left through urine in the dirt, distinguishes deer from one another and allows deer in a herd to know which bucks are claiming an area. The second major use of scrape associates around does. During the breeding season, does visit scrapes to keep tabs on bucks in their home range. They’ll stop and scent-check the scrapes to associate themselves with the buck in an area and they may even scrape themselves.

Experts call scrapes by different names, but we’ll refer to them as primary, secondary and territorial scrapes. Primary scrapes are the ones you will try and mock. These scrapes around found along major travel routes, near bedding and feeding areas and in areas of high deer concentrations. They are always found along a major trail and are used year after year by a variety of bucks. Secondary scrapes are those made along travel routes as well, but are often haphazard and only used once or twice during the course of the breeding season. Bucks make dozens of scrapes and few rise to the primary status. Finally, territorial scrapes outline a buck’s domain and are often most visible along open fields and wood edges.

For hunting purposes, you’ll want to locate your mock scrape in a strategic shooting location, yet in a location that deer will view as normal. Just make sure there are enough good trees within 20 yards of your scrape to hang a treestand in before going through the scrape-making process. You’ll also want to take into consideration of your ambush site in regards to the prevailing winds. Keep your stand site downwind from prevailing winds and situation to avoid your scent spilling onto deer travel routes. How big should you make your scrape? Scrapes vary in size like the bucks that make them, but few scrapes are of car hood proportions. If you want to blend in, make your scrape approximately the size of the others in the woods. To dispense scent use items such as the Hunter’s Specialty Scent Dripper, which dispenses scent during daytime hours and shuts off at night. If you want to eliminate the competition of existing scrapes, clip the overhanging branch of an existing scrape from nearby and hang it above your mock scrape. Now go play in the dirt. It’s scrape time.