I don’t know if you all are like me, but I love finding an active scrape leading up to archery season. There is something about them that lights a fire inside me. The anticipation of archery season kicking off coupled with knowing there are active bucks in the area. This anticipation only builds if I have trail cam pics from the summer confirming a shooter buck on my property. As of today, it is mid-August and the opening of deer season is right around the corner. If scrapes fire you up inside, now is the time to get out in the field and create a mock scrape or mock scrapes.
Several years ago, something triggered my brain to create mock scrapes along active trails between food and bedding areas. I knew these areas were active corridors for deer and especially for bucks during the pre-rut and rut. If I know that bucks are and will be using these corridors, why not tilt the odds in my favor by placing the scrape in a strategic location? Or by placing multiple mock scrapes on a travel route. By strategic location, I mean within arrow distance of my stand site.
In the diagram, the yellow circles are mock scrapes. I place them on the green field side of the travel route so they are clearly visible to bucks from a distance. I want the mock scrapes to pull the bucks in and they will.
There are many ways to create a mock scrape. Some are easier than others.
If you are lucky and can find an overhanging branch at the right height, along a travel corridor consider yourself blessed. One note on these, it is likely to be a tougher sell to bucks if the area is covered with branches that are the correct height. In the event you hit the mock scrape lottery, remove leaves and debris in a 2-foot diameter under the branch. At this point, the licking branch is in place, the dirt has been exposed you have a couple of options. You can add store bought scent to the dirt, you can add your own scent, or you can leave it bare. If the mock scrape is highly visible to deer, I would leave without adding scent. In my experience I have noticed no difference between the three options.
If you are looking to add a mock scrape to a field corner or food plot there are a couple of options. The first thing you will have to determine is if you have a suitable tree to attach the licking branch to. If not, as in the case of a food plot, a metal T post works wonders. I prefer to find maple tree saplings to use as my licking branches. This could be due to an abundance of these in my area, but they seem to work well. Any sapling will work so use what you have access to. Once you have your licking branch, attach it to your T post or tree and remove a 2-foot diameter of debris exposing the dirt.
Mock scrapes are an easy, effective and cheap strategy to employ this fall. The only cost is a little bit of sweat equity and it can pay huge dividends. This is a great strategy you can employ now. Get out there and make the minutes count leading up to deer season. While you are making the minutes count, check out the rest of our Whitetail 101 section and level up your deer hunting knowledge.
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