Bucks visit scrapes. Often. So it makes sense then, that we as hunters are typically excited when we find one of these torn up pieces of ground in our hunting area. Hunters focus on these scrapes for both hunting reasons and as trail camera locations. In my case, I’m most interested in seeing who’s visiting these areas. The vast majority of scrape activity is at night, so I like to put a camera near one and keep track of all the different bucks that may visit it. But sometimes scrapes aren’t where you want them to be, and that’s where mock scrapes come in.
Man made scrapes, when done correctly, can often attract deer to start using them. And when placed strategically, these mock scrapes can be a boone for your success in hunting or capturing pictures. In the picture above, you can see a mock scrape I created about a month and a half ago. In this shot, you can see a doe standing in the scrape, and my hit list buck “Six Shooter” watching nearby. It’s theses kinds of peeks into the whitetail world that get me making these faux scrapes. So without delving too deep into the philosophy of scrapes, I wanted to share with you a few basic steps to creating a successful mock scrape. Read on for the 1, 2, 3’s and the ABC’s of mock scrapes.
1. Choose a popular spot: When it comes to creating a mock scrape, you want to make it in the right spot. Where would the best place be? I believe the best spot is in a popular travel corridor where many deer will discover your scrape. Often you’ll find large scrapes at hubs of activity, where several trails meet. These natural hub scrapes often show up year after year, so I like to try and find similar locations and create my own hub.
2. Work the ground and create a licking branch: The first step, after locating a spot for your scrape, is to actually create one. What does this entail? Simple really. Scrape up an area on the ground, 2-3 feet around, with a stick or similar object. And make sure this is underneath some overhanging branches, that can act as “licking branches”. The licking branch is actually the most important part of a scrape, as almost all deer visiting a scrape will smell, lick or rub themselves on this branch. No licking branch, no scrape. I’ll typically break a couple ends of branches and leave them hanging, as this is typical to see in the real deal.
3. Spread some scent: Once you’ve got your ground tore up and your licking branch hanging, it’s time to stink it up. This is sort of like the frosting on the cake. The visual impact of a mock scrape can sometimes be all you need, but adding some scent can help make it that much more interesting for passing bucks. I’ve tried a number of different deer scents in the past, but I’m trying Tinks Power Scrape this year. Once this is completed, your mock scrape is done.
Now once this scrape is created, there are still a few key pointers to remember.
A: Attach your camera inconspicuously: If you’re planning on monitoring your mock scrape with a trail camera, you need to be careful about your placement. A trail camera placed 3 feet from a scrape at deer eye level is going to be noticed by a lot of deer, especially if it’s a flash model. A mature buck doesn’t need to see your camera too many times before he’ll decide to leave this area alone. If you’re going to use a camera, don’t let it bugger up your scrape. Keep the camera far enough away, and consider placing it high up, pointing down.
B. Be scent free: When making your scrape, you’ve got to be as scent free as possible. Deer spend a lot of time exercising their noses in scrapes, and a strong wiff of human is not going to be a welcome discovery for most bucks. Wear gloves, scent free boots and spray down any thing in or around the scrape that you may have touched with scent eliminating spray.
C. Check rarely: As exciting as a mock scrape may be, you can’t go checking on it all the time or trying to hunt it too often. Just like trail cameras or treestands, if you visit an area too much, deer will begin to avoid it. My rule is to never check a trail camera during the season more often than once every two weeks, unless I’m already walking by it to access a hunting location. A similar rule seems reasonable for mock scrapes.
So there it is, a few simple steps to creating a mock scrape. That being said, I know there are plenty of other ways to go about it or pointers to consider. So if you have anything additional to share about how you use mock scrapes, we’d love to hear! Please share your thoughts in the comments!