As an archery hunter, you have most likely heard of using a mock scrape, but whether you've used one or not is a different story. A lot of hunters make detrimental mistakes when it comes to crafting mock scrapes for a multitude of reasons, mostly including the when, the where, and the how.
One of the most common mistakes hunters make is problematic timing of creating the mock scrape. There are two mishaps that can occur in the timing: too early or too late. Bucks make scrapes for a lot of different reasons. First, bucks will create scrapes leading up to and during the rut in order to let resident does know that he's around. Second, many researchers believe that the size, aggression, and smell of the urine on the scrape can easily predict the size and age of the buck at hand. Lastly, bucks make scrapes to let other bucks know that they're in his territory. Many hunters get in trouble because they get anxious to make things happen too early in the season, and their mock scrape turns out to be counter-productive. Another mistake hunters make is waiting too long to make the scrape, and the bucks have already begun to wind down and just don't care as much.
At TNT, we choose to create our mock scrapes just before the rut kicks in, and during the rut as well. We do this because we believe a well-done mock scrape can fire the bucks up before they even start to run the does. We keep these scrapes open during the rut as well to keep those mature bucks coming back to check them out, and hopefully make that mistake during daylight hours. Although we keep them open during the rut, it has been proven that scrape activity slows down during the peak of the rut, but picks back up again during the beginning of the post-rut, which is when the bucks will begin to consistently return to the scrapes.
The second mistake hunters can make when creating their mock scrapes is poor placement. Although scrapes can show up on field edges, logging roads, and deep woods, bucks don't just make scrapes anywhere. As a hunter, we need to understand why deer place scrapes where they do, in order to truly get the most out of our mock scrape.
If you stumble upon a random scrape, there's obviously a buck around, but a single scrape doesn't hold near as much value as a scrape line. A scrape line shows that there is a buck consistently in the area, and is using the same route to get from point A to point B. The same should be used when creating a mock scrape. Use terrain that allows you to make a mock scrape, then allows the bucks to use nearby areas to make their own. This will keep the bucks coming back more consistently than placing the scrape in a random part of the woods. Also keep an eye out for overhanging branches when creating your scrape to maximize the real factor.
Mock scrapes can be made using a lot of different methods. To make a quick scrape, you can use your boot and just kick some leaves aside and leave it at that, but the more you put in, the more you'll get out. We like to first find a spot where we have had scrapes appear in the past. We do this because we know that it's a spot that bucks use to travel, and where scrapes are common. After finding the right spot with a tree with an overhanging branch, we take a rake and rake out a three-foot scrape area under the branch. We also choose to use Nationwide Scents scrape urine. You can either apply the urine directly to the scrape area, or use a dripper and attach it above the scrape.
Over the years, we have tried using different methods of mock scrapes, but have found this to be the most effective. The urine sold by Nationwide Scents has made a world of difference on our farms, and is 100% deer urine and CWD free. Check them out at www.nationwidescents.com and see what a huge difference it makes. As always, contact us with any questions, and shoot straight.