A couple weeks ago I was discussing the fast-approaching season with my hunting partner, trying to brainstorm up some ideas on how we can capitalize on a few good bucks during the early season. We both hunt suburban areas that have nice bucks passing through them each fall, but aren't regularly used as primary bedding areas or food sources. Sure they hold a few does and some immature bucks, but due to their small size and lack of good cover the big boys don't like to hang out there for long.
This is when the idea of starting a few mock scrapes came up. Our thought is that if we can present the illusion that another buck has moved into the area, even if it's not a buck's core area, they may be more inclined to come through these spots on a more regular basis and offer us an opportunity for a shot. Considering I've been hunting one particular spot for 8 seasons now and only had one shooter buck within bow range, I figured anything is worth a shot!
Last Saturday Mike and I headed out to set our first two mock scrapes. I had purchased a mock scrape kit from Kishel's Scents that includes three separate bottles of scent. They are interdigital gland, pre-orbital gland, and tarsal gland. At this point you're probably thinking we're nuts - mock scrapes in August?? Yes, mock scrapes in August! Many hunters don't realize that deer use scent, and scrapes in particular, as a means of communication all year long. Even if they are not actively scraping in them, deer will visit scrapes all year to check out who is coming and who is going. They are like the Facebook of the woods; even if you're not posting you're checking out what everyone else is doing. Don't deny it either!
Using Johnny Scrapemaker to begin the foundation for our first mock scrape.
With October looming in the not to distant future bucks are just starting to come out of velvet. This means their testosterone levels are increasing and they'll soon be rubbing, scraping, and beginning to once again establish dominance in their breeding areas. By introducing new scents from a new buck to this area, we're hoping that any mature bucks passing by will take note of this new signpost and check back fairly regularly to see who is moving in on their lady friends.
I placed a Predator Evolution trail camera over one of the mock scrapes we made adjacent to a good bedding area. This is the scrape I am most interested in hunting this fall, and already picked out the tree for my stand which I will be hanging most likely this coming weekend. Additionally, I created a 2nd mock scrape behind the stand site to establish a line of travel for bucks passing between the two areas, hoping to create an additional opportunity for a shot. And if that fails, there's always calling!
Setting out the Predator Evolution XR trail camera over our first mock scrape. Hopefully we'll get some good video clips in a week or two.
Click here to watch the video on how we went about making our first mock scrape.
A couple important things to note about creating these mock scrapes. Since it is early in the season be sure you're not using any sort of doe estrous or breeding scents. Stick with the basics. The interdigital gland is located in between the deer's hoof, so spray a few pumps in the scrape. The preorbital gland is located on the deer's head so spray a few pumps onto the overhanging branches. I did use a very limited amount of buck tarsal gland as well, but that is optional this time of year. If you can find some straight buck urine, you may have good luck with that as well. Also, be sure not to touch anything in the area of your mock scrape with your bare hands, and be sure to wear rubber scent-free boots as well.
Spraying some pre-orbital gland scent on the overhanging branches.
I will check back on the scrapes this weekend when I go to hang my stand. The acorns are really falling in this particular area and I know there's some bucks feeding in there so I'm anticipating at least a couple of video clips to share with you. If you're setting up a mock scrape, or have a real scrape you'd like to monitor, I highly recommd putting a trail camera up to monitor their activity. The Predator cameras work great because they take video clips both during the day as well as night and have excellent trigger speed. Check them out in the Bowhunting.com store, you won't be disappointed!
Acorns on the ground - always a good sign that fall is fast approaching!