October Whitetailson Oct 2, 2012
The Right Scrape
Not all scrapes are created equal. In fact, some scrapes will lower your odds of seeing a buck working them during daylight hours. For example, in most areas that receive a great deal of hunting pressure, it is probably best to abandon any thoughts of hunting field edge scrapes. Big bucks do not get old by making poor choices like showing up on field edges during daylight hours to make a scrape. Those types of scrapes are usually constructed, and refreshened, under the cover of darkness. Bucks that do come into such a setup in daylight either live in low pressure areas or led a very short life.
Experience has taught me that genuine whitetail scrapes are the best and most active scrapes to hunt in early October. Also, I do not add any foreign odors to scrapes at this time: this includes bottled deer scents or man-made synthetic scents. I do not believe these early season scrapes are used for breeding purposes. Instead, I have concluded that they are used as a social calling card or are "territorial" in nature.
When considering what type of scrape to hunt over, it is hard to beat the real thing. However, timing has a lot to do with scrape activity and which ones offer the best chance of arrowing a buck.
These social scrapes, otherwise known as community scrapes, are an excellent place to setup, as many bucks will be visiting them. Often, you can find multiple bucks made up of different age classes at these social scrapes at the same time. This is much like what you might find at the water cooler of an office. If you have a scrape of this nature, without a doubt it is the place to be during the early season.
Another reason I avoid adding anything to these early-season scrapes is due to the fact that most bucks usually just work over the licking branch then move on. Occasionally, they will paw at the scrape but not very often. Also, I rarely notice bucks actually urinating in these scrapes in early October. However, I am not implying that mock scrapes will not work in the early season, but if I am going to spend my time hunting them then I prefer the real thing.
Mid to late October is a different story when it comes to scrape hunting. As October starts coming to an end, the urge to breed begins to take its hold on bucks. This causes them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Not only have I had success hunting over genuine scrapes doctored with doe urine at this time, but I’ve also achieved great results from hunting over mock scrapes that I made with estrus doe urine. The estrus doe urine is often more than a buck can resist and causes him to commit to your setup. After that, the rest is up to you to make good on the opportunity.
Mock scrapes, when used at the right time, can be the "fatal attraction" that brings in that trophy buck for the shot.
If you do your job and get close to a bucks bedding area without being smelled, heard or seen, then these estrus scrape tactics, coupled with one well-placed arrow, can lead to an October big buck photo shoot you will never forget. Best of luck!