Setting a camera over a deer scrape can be one of the best ways to inventory what bucks you have on your farm. It will also give you some of the best video you can get for a camera. I like to start my mock scrapes in early September. I usually locate a spot that had a scrape in the area last year or put it near a very heavily used trail.
What is a scrape? A scrape is like a men’s restroom for a buck. They will continually hit that spot and work the ground up to show dominance. They will also find a licking branch to rake their antlers on and literally lick the branch. Why make a mock scrape? I use a mock scrape to try to get a mature buck to hold in the area a little bit longer, or to lure a buck who is passing through into staying.
Mock scrapes tend to be overlooked because of sloppy hunting habits. Too many times a hunter thinks they can walk into a store and buy a bottle of Tinks 69 and pour it on the ground around their stand and expect success. I can tell you I had that mind set, until I started doing more research. The turning point for me was back in 2007. I went out and kicked the ground up with my work boots, dumped a bottle of Mrs. Doe pee, and thought this has got to work! I was wrong. I did not see a single buck in that area the whole season. After the 2007 season was over, I was sitting, thinking what did I do wrong.
I started reading online and researching other forms about people’s success with hunting mock scrapes. There seems to be 3 major keys in making a successful mock scrape. Timing, scent control and placement.
September is when I like to build my scrapes because bucks begin to shed their velvet and small fights begin to break up the bachelor groups. You will start to notice the pep in their step and they are establishing a pecking order. Mature bucks will start to expand outward, which makes this the perfect time to give them a sense of intrusion by making the mock scrape in the same area the mature buck was using last year.
When making the Mock scrape, be 100% sure to wear rubber boots and gloves. Also spray down with some sort of scent elimination product. I will take a rake with me and some sort of scrape starter. As silly as it sounds, I spray my rake down with scent spray as well. I don’t need the buck smelling my freshly groomed garden. I try to clear out an area that is about 2 by 4 feet wide. Once it is down to bare ground, I will spray it down with Tinks Power Scrape. I will let it sit like that for around a week or two. When I come back, I will rake the ground again and put up a scent dripper to make sure the scape stays as fresh as possible.
When walking my property, I will mark on a map where I am finding scrapes. Those give me a great idea where to place them for the coming years. I make sure to build the scrape in a spot that has low hanging branches. When building it, do not put it on the trail they would be walking on. I place mine at least 3 to 5 feet off of the trail, if not further but within line of sight of the trail. If you have never found a scrape on your property and are wondering where to place one, I would highly recommend putting it at the end of a funnel or pinch point. You want these to be in a place you know deer will be traveling.
As my hunting career continues, I will be using mock scrapes to inventory bucks on my property. Nothing beats a 30 second video of a buck destroying the ground and raking a tree. With the proper work in the being of the season, it will bring you a better chance to harvest a mature buck in season.