A lot of knowledge has been developed about deer hunting over time. However, some whitetail deer's habits are still not completely clear.
However, a more thorough review can tell us they are highly sociable creatures. Indeed, they employ many signals, outside sounds, and visual displays.
For example, deer scrapes are a particular method of communication.
Most deer hunters assume that adult male bucks engage in scraping activity only during the rut. Yet, researchers have found that all deer engage in this behavior to some extent. Seeing fresh scrapes is a sign that deer have been using and enjoying the area recently.
Do you want to increase your chances of ambushing a mature buck? It is helpful to understand how communication among deer occurs at an active scrape.
We will review the information gathered regarding what deer want to say when using these signs. Besides, we will examine strategies for utilizing scrapes and scrape lines in your next hunting trip.
What Motivates Deer to Create Rubs?
A good analogy is to consider scrapes as a neighborhood noticeboard.
Apparently, pawing up the ground produces a visual clue that aids other deer in locating the scrape. Deer leave their smell when they use a scrape by urinating in it. This way, a buck claims an area as its own.
We know an overhanging branch near the scrape as a "licking branch" since it is a common place for deer to leave their scent. Deer leave further traces of their presence when they brush their faces and antlers against a branch. They release an extra fragrance from the preorbital glands at the top of their heads.
One long-held belief holds that does in estrus will urinate on scrapes to advertise their availability to nearby bucks. However, does do not urinate or paw the ground in scrapes frequently. Instead, they rub their faces against the licking branch.
How Frequently Do Bucks Go to Scrapes?
Whitetail bucks, according to most researchers, frequently revisit their old scrapes. While some bucks may do it many times a day, others may only come once a week.
Every buck has a different territory. Likewise, as the Deer Association points out, most scraping activity occurs at night.
Therefore, a trail camera is the only reliable method for checking in on a deer scrape. This camera will allow you to see whether anything interesting is going on. Researchers have shown that a herd of a dozen or more bucks may pause their activity to inspect a single scratch. Generally, this behavior occurs at the height of the rut. Thus, do not assume the action you see on your hunting territory results from a single buck.
Should You Hunt Over Scrapes?
The likelihood of hunting success with a scrape is probably higher than using a rub. Frequently, bucks with no intention of returning show less dedication when making rubs.
Finding a scrape that deer use during the daytime is the most challenging element of hunting for them. Here is when your trail camera will be helpful.
Likewise, examine all the deer sightings at the scrape to estimate when they are visiting. So, you can identify some patterns that lead you to catch a buck. Established scrapes can be tough to hunt since they are not necessarily in the best location for a stand or blind placement.
In this situation is where mock scrapes are helpful.
They help you lure deer into a feeding pattern in a food plot or funnel where you may shoot them. Hunters may influence a deer's behavior with ease by using mock scrapes.
Most specialists say that a hanging branch is a crucial variable in the mock scrape. Building the licking branch and ripping up the earth beneath it are the two things you should do. Usually, this serves as a visual sign to attract other deer.
Is it Useful to Urinate on a Deer's Scrape?
Hunters have known for a long time that bucks prefer to urinate on scrapes. So, the question of what could happen if you relieve yourself in one has been a source of speculation.
According to Meat-eater, back in 1998, researchers compared human pee to the urine of deer in scrapes. This observation is interesting. The study showed that bucks were more interested in human pee and rutting buck urine than in the urine of an estrous doe.
Still, other hunters claim the scrape's visual appeal (the licking branch and the pawed-up earth) is more influential than the scent in drawing in a deer.
Scrapes with human urine seem more effective at attracting deer than others.
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