Manipulating Scrapes for Better Hunting and Camera Usage
Once the scrapes start turning up on a regular basis on our farms, we have always started using those areas for our cameras. A few years ago we started manipulating scraping areas to make our cameras more effective. Let me explain why we did what we did before explaining what we did.
Nothing is an absolute, but over the years when I have witnessed bucks entering a food plot or small clearing in the woods, or other areas where scrapes were present, I generally would not see the bucks visit each and every scrape. They would hit one or two maybe, possibly more, but usually not all the scrapes in the area. More often than not it seemed like some scrapes got hit more than others but predicting was pretty tough.
What we started doing was removing most or all of the scrapes in that area leaving only one. If we could leave one in a spot that was good for hunting or the camera that was a plus. But if we couldn’t, we removed them all and made our own mock scrape where we wanted the deer to go. Removing a scraping site is as easy as removing all the overhanging licking branches. Making a mock scrape is pretty much just supplying a mock licking branch. The easiest way is to bend over and tie down a small tree.
It is a very easy way to manipulate deer activity and it works great. Our experience is that once this is done say on a small food plot, most bucks entering that food plot will eventually visit that one scrape if they are in the scrape visiting mood. I don’t want to give the impression that any time a buck enters the area they will visit this scrape…but I do want to give the impression that if they are in the mood to do so they will eventually end up at the one scrape you left. This can really be an invaluable tool for a hunter.
I should also mention that this tactic gets easier year after year and is really the most effective if it is done in the spring before the scrapes even start appearing…but if it is already fall it can still be done. After two or three years in some of our areas our mock scrapes were opened up and used more and more. After years of this, we could actually put our cameras out on licking branches to see what were the first deer to open up that scrape and the date it took place. It got to be really fun at times.