Clever thievery can create an irresistible attractant for rut-crazed bucks
Use a stick or limb rather than your hands to make a mock scrape. Image by Bill Konway
Sometimes, the best scrape to watch is one you build yourself. I don’t make mock scrapes to hunt over, per se, though there’s often one within sight of my treestand or box blind. I scatter three or four fake scrapes across a property and set trail cameras on each to monitor bucks during the next six weeks.
Where to Build Scrapes
As the rut approaches and peaks, the patterns of resident bucks you’ve been watching are about to blow up. One or two vagabond 10-pointers you’ve never seen before will likely show up on your land in search of does, and you sure don’t want to miss them. Building mock scrapes in travel corridors and high-traffic deer areas helps you to keep a wide eye on rut-fueled bucks, almost all of which will instinctively veer over to sniff and interact with your scrapes — and get their picture taken (the old boys mostly at night). My favorite spots to build scrapes are in funnel draws, near creek crossings, and on thick-cover edges of food plots back in the woods.
Stink up that fake scrape with a smelly pour or mist of pee. Image by Wildlife Research Center
Dirt on Mock Scrapes
Time to go to work, as the woods are filling up fast now with real buck scrapes. Walk to a ridge or bottom a quarter-mile or more from your best stands, and look around for a couple of fresh, good-sized scrapes. Then proceed to steal them — diabolical but perfectly legal.
With a trowel, dig up gobs of dirt, which has been soaked with the urine of multiple bucks and does, and put it in a plastic bag. Saw off the mangled licking branches above scrapes, drop those in, and seal the bag tight. Throughout the heist, wear rubber boots and gloves, and spray your clothes liberally with scent killer to keep from contaminating the real stuff.
Carry the stolen goods to a predetermined scrape site, and get back to work. Think of a mock scrape as a scent-based and visual attractant. Rake out at least a 3-by-3-foot area beneath a small tree or sapling. Sometimes, I dig out a spot big as a truck hood. As you rake leaves with your boots or a lawn rake, envision a buck. He scrapes with his hooves in one direction, and your digging should be done the same way — down to the dirt, with leaves and debris piled on the back end of the scrape.
Pour a good amount of the deer-scented soil you pilfered into your manmade scrape, and mix it with the fresh dirt. Top it off by wiring a licking branch you lifted about 5 feet above the dirt. Set a trail camera 10 feet away.
Sometimes, I hang Magnum Scrape Drippers with Golden Scrape scent atop my mock scrapes. Other times, I simply stink the dirt with drops of buck and tarsal smell and doe urine.
That’s the ultimate mock scrape, complete with the saliva, forehead, tarsal and urine smell of real deer, and infused with your favorite commercial scent. When a shooter buck shows up at one of your cameras — and I can almost guarantee one will — move into the area and hunt him. Good luck.