Most bowhunters prepare their gear for the coming season during the summer. We shoot our bows daily, go on scouting trips, and read every tip and tactic we can find on tagging the monster buck of a lifetime.
One tactic to try long before deer season opens is building a fake scrape. Most deer hunters don’t think about fake scrapes until the rut rolls around, but according to Bruce Bretzke from Whitetail Innovators, manufacturer of the Scrapemaker, late summer/early fall is a great time to begin building scrapes.
“Building scrapes is a great scouting tool. Deer are curious animals that will check out new scrapes in the woods. By building a scrape early in the year, deer will become accustomed to your scrape. They will get used to visiting it and will often begin using it themselves,” Bretzke said. “Once deer begin using the scrape, a scouting camera will help you determine who is coming to check it out. You will quickly you will learn if there are any big bucks in the area.”
If your scrape starts receiving lots of visitors, Bretzke says you will know it is a good place to hang a stand. If the scrape gets few visitors, maybe you should think about moving your scrape to a different location.”
When building a scrape, Bretzke suggests that you have a licking branch over your scrape. Bucks and does use licking branches. Having one over your scrape will make the scrape appear more authentic. Another way to make the scrape appear authentic is to try the 4-in-1 Scrapemaker tool that Whitetail Innovators manufactures.
The tool can help you break up the dirt to make a scrape, rip up the bark on a tree to make a rub, has a jagged edge for making licking branches, and most importantly has a hoof print that can be applied to your scrape once you have built it. The hoof print will make the scrape appear that much more authentic. Testing done by Bretzke reveals that does are twice as likely to pee in a scrape that has the print than a scrape that doesn’t.
You should consider making scrapes early in the year because if you remain scent-free while building the scrape, keeping all human odors contained, deer will visit the site for weeks before deer season opens without being spooked by a hunter or smelling human odor.
By the time the season opens, deer will grow accustomed to visiting the site and will walk right in without hesitating. To increase deer activity at your scrape site, Bretzke suggests building your scrapes as close as you can to a bucks’ bedroom or his core traveling area.
One thing is for sure: building scrapes long before deer season opens and using a scouting camera to determine what is visiting your scrape increases your chances of knowing which bucks are in the area long before the rut. Knowing which bucks are around is the first step in putting a trophy on the wall.