Bucks work scrapes the hardest in late October. During the rut and
gun season, however, scrape visitation drops drastically.
Another perception is that bucks check their
scrapes daily and frequently rework them. Hunters who check scrapes
often and see fresh paw marks assume it is always the same buck.
However, our study indicates it is likely several bucks. During this
study, about half the bucks revisited a scrape, but the number of
revisits made by each buck was low.
study’s findings indicate that scent left behind by a buck could stay
around long enough that daily visits are not necessary.
Another perception among hunters is that a single buck creates and
maintains a line of scrapes. Our study included two scrapes that were
part of a scrape line. Not only did multiple bucks use those two
scrapes, but two separate groups of bucks used each scrape. Only one
buck visited both scrapes, which were less than 300 yards apart.
also examined the seasonal use of scrapes. Bucks of all ages worked
scrapes mostly during October and November. More than 70 percent of the
scrape working occurred during the pre-rut period.
There was a drastic decline in visits to scrapes during the rut, which
usually occurs in early to mid-November. There was a second increase in
visits to scrapes, which occurred about a month after the pre-rut
were much more active than others were. Some scrapes had visitations by
as many as 13 different bucks.
scrape monitored during both years received frequent visits the first
year, but few during the second. This scrape was located under a large
white oak, which did not produce many acorns during the second year.
This may mean that bucks shifted their core home ranges to areas where
does were drawn to food sources.
Does and their
behaviors are also important when considering the importance of scrapes.
In this study, does frequented scrapes as well.
study provided new information on the scraping behaviors of wild
white-tailed deer. We observed that scrape use is primarily at night and
highly seasonal, with most visits occurring two to three weeks before
the rut. After the rut’s peak, bucks almost completely stopped visiting
scrapes. Also, younger bucks work the same scrapes at the same time of
year as older deer.
Because most visits occurred at night, deer actually working scrapes was
relatively infrequent, and scraping is commonly performed by young
bucks, does it mean that you shouldn’t hunt scrapes? It depends.
Focus your efforts away from scrapes during the mid-November rut. During
the pre-rut period of October to early November, however, try hunting
scrapes or the trails that lead to them. Look for corridors that connect
bedding areas to feeding areas with trails leading in all directions.
Finally, pay attention to the does. They are the reason that bucks make
scrapes. Find their food source, and you will find the does.