Big Woods Buck Scrapes

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rfickes87
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby rfickes87 » Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:10 am

Singing Bridge wrote:To me, big woods buck scrapes are simply a treasure... low deer populations (sometimes incredibly low) and the toughest conditions lend themselves to making them that.



Bridge, I'm in the remote mountains of PA. Low deer density but older bucks. I'm enjoying this thread and wanted to share my thoughts. I find a lot of the biggest scrapes down in the creek bottoms, often under beech limbs. I see some as big as my dining room table. Last year I left a camera sit over one large scrape for the entire archery season. I had several nice bucks ( and small bucks/does) frequent it but it was all night sign except for one nice 10 point just before dark the first week of Nov. You would think when you see these scrapes in person that you would do very well hunting over them. But that's not the case. And this is even a mile back with little to no pressure.

Now, I am seeing a trend however where I go and scout these points/knobs up on these main ridges at the top third and obviously find the beds but then also I'm finding that there is often a scrape at the top center base of the point (if its flat enough). Or also on nearby logging roads adjacent to bedding. To me its just like as if it's they're using it like a mailbox :lol: I keep seeing these and I'm thinking in my head each time "oh there's another mail box scrape. Just a couple nights ago I was out for an evening hunt. Wind in my face walking out the top 1/3 of a ridge and I wasn't seeing any hot sign I liked to set up on. So I looked at my topo and noticed a small knob up ahead on another ridge. I walked out that ridge to get off the side of that knob and unfortunately I got too close (about 60-70 yards) and kicked up a big buck and he ran off. I decided to walk up and investigate that area and there was an old logging road passing thru across the top of the point with a big fresh scrape obviously made that day just 30-40 yards up that knob from he was bedded. he clearly made that scrape and then bedded down for the day. I may go back to this spot and hang a camera. leave it set for the next 4-6 weeks and see how it gets used. I haven't in the past b/c I hate to be intrusive with cameras in those areas but i'd like to try it just for future intel for next year. But I'm willing to bet that he made that scrape during the day since its so close to bedding. These are the types of scrapes I'm much more willing to pay attention to rather than those down in the bottoms, even though they appear much bigger and more heavily used.



On a side note...

that logging road seems to offer the best deer travel thru that thick bedding area and its at the perfect bedding elevation of the ridge. I'm considering going back and hunting about 80-100 yards back from that scrape. Would you go back? After having bumped that buck once already? My guess is he may stick around for a few more days/week until the rut starts and then he could be gone. Perhaps though I damaged the area too much and he's already gone... :think: :think:

Just wanted to give my 2 cents on my recent natural scrape observations.


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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:15 am

perchsoup wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:To me, big woods buck scrapes are simply a treasure... low deer populations (sometimes incredibly low) and the toughest conditions lend themselves to making them that.


Great info Bridge. I think you kind of mention that a mock scrape placed correctly can manipulate a bucks exit/trail from bedding? Am I hearing you right? And if this scrape is a destination for the buck, can it then increase buck bed usage/prevalence if done correctly?


I don't think it changes where a big woods buck wants to bed at all. But when he's utilizing the bedding area and I find sign that show's he's in there, it increases my chance of getting a visual. These bucks often have several exit routes, and curiosity and the monitoring of other bucks and deer can be a fairly strong pull to the scrape. It definitely helps a bit.

It needs to be placed on a buck travel route that already exists, close to bedding. Then I have does and bucks, as well as many other critters visit the scrape or pass near it.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:21 am

rfickes87 wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:To me, big woods buck scrapes are simply a treasure... low deer populations (sometimes incredibly low) and the toughest conditions lend themselves to making them that.



Bridge, I'm in the remote mountains of PA. Low deer density but older bucks. I'm enjoying this thread and wanted to share my thoughts. I find a lot of the biggest scrapes down in the creek bottoms, often under beech limbs. I see some as big as my dining room table. Last year I left a camera sit over one large scrape for the entire archery season. I had several nice bucks ( and small bucks/does) frequent it but it was all night sign except for one nice 10 point just before dark the first week of Nov. You would think when you see these scrapes in person that you would do very well hunting over them. But that's not the case. And this is even a mile back with little to no pressure.

Now, I am seeing a trend however where I go and scout these points/knobs up on these main ridges at the top third and obviously find the beds but then also I'm finding that there is often a scrape at the top center base of the point (if its flat enough). Or also on nearby logging roads adjacent to bedding. To me its just like as if it's they're using it like a mailbox :lol: I keep seeing these and I'm thinking in my head each time "oh there's another mail box scrape. Just a couple nights ago I was out for an evening hunt. Wind in my face walking out the top 1/3 of a ridge and I wasn't seeing any hot sign I liked to set up on. So I looked at my topo and noticed a small knob up ahead on another ridge. I walked out that ridge to get off the side of that knob and unfortunately I got too close (about 60-70 yards) and kicked up a big buck and he ran off. I decided to walk up and investigate that area and there was an old logging road passing thru across the top of the point with a big fresh scrape obviously made that day just 30-40 yards up that knob from he was bedded. he clearly made that scrape and then bedded down for the day. I may go back to this spot and hang a camera. leave it set for the next 4-6 weeks and see how it gets used. I haven't in the past b/c I hate to be intrusive with cameras in those areas but i'd like to try it just for future intel for next year. But I'm willing to bet that he made that scrape during the day since its so close to bedding. These are the types of scrapes I'm much more willing to pay attention to rather than those down in the bottoms, even though they appear much bigger and more heavily used.



On a side note...

that logging road seems to offer the best deer travel thru that thick bedding area and its at the perfect bedding elevation of the ridge. I'm considering going back and hunting about 80-100 yards back from that scrape. Would you go back? After having bumped that buck once already? My guess is he may stick around for a few more days/week until the rut starts and then he could be gone. Perhaps though I damaged the area too much and he's already gone... :think: :think:

Just wanted to give my 2 cents on my recent natural scrape observations.


Great observations and it's pretty typical to find what you describe. I would definitely hit it again, especially if you come in near the scrape right after a rain... that would be optimal.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:01 am

Getting some questions on big woods scrapes so I thought I'd kick this one...
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby mheichelbech » Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:19 am

Singing Bridge wrote:Getting some questions on big woods scrapes so I thought I'd kick this one...

How do you define big woods?

What are the biggest differences you see in bedding when you have fairly large woods surrounding agriculture?
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:54 am

How do you define big woods?

My definition... which doesn't have to match your definition... is woods where the whitetail population cannot reach agriculture at anytime... including migration periods if you are in a snowbelt area- such as the Lake Superior snowbelt area of Michigan.

What are the biggest differences you see in bedding when you have fairly large woods surrounding agriculture?

I hunt a public land area that meets this definition... thousands of acres of public land surrounded by agriculture on two sides. The "subtle" buck bedding video i posted recently is in just such an area... and the biggest differences are as follows-

In these areas I see 4 to 5 times the buck population and sometimes more... agriculture makes that much of a difference. The trails are beat down whereas in the big woods they are subtle at best. Bedding follows hunting pressure... the more severe the hunting pressure the more difficult or overlooked the bedding is. Hunting pressure is an enormous influence.

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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby DeadHeadSpread » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:18 am

Very interesting post. I agree with a previous post Singing Bridge that you could write a great book on big woods bucks. I’ve never read anything covering big woods that was of much value in any of the books I have ever read. I’ll bet a ton bowhunters are like me and find the big woods so hard to figure out that we just ovoid them altogether and find easier places to hunt.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:11 am

DeadHeadSpread wrote:Very interesting post. I agree with a previous post Singing Bridge that you could write a great book on big woods bucks. I’ve never read anything covering big woods that was of much value in any of the books I have ever read. I’ll bet a ton bowhunters are like me and find the big woods so hard to figure out that we just ovoid them altogether and find easier places to hunt.


To me, big woods and wilderness areas are the most difficult to hunt... and also the most rewarding. I agree with everything you wrote.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby MichiganMike » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:56 am

Great stuff bridge. Im not a big mock scrape guy but this makes perfect sense.
About your take on big woods and question for you, I hunt exclusively public Big Woods in MI also. Any AG is at least a mile off and hinders my success early season. I feel the reason why is because the good bucks bed near the AG early season-especially if there is a poor white acorn drop. Do you notice the same?
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:31 pm

MichiganMike wrote:Great stuff bridge. Im not a big mock scrape guy but this makes perfect sense.
About your take on big woods and question for you, I hunt exclusively public Big Woods in MI also. Any AG is at least a mile off and hinders my success early season. I feel the reason why is because the good bucks bed near the AG early season-especially if there is a poor white acorn drop. Do you notice the same?


This isn't an easy question to answer as a lot of factors can play a role. If the area has light to moderate hunting pressure, the bucks may well bed behind the doe families that are bedded near the agriculture. The same is true if there is a completely overlooked spot near the agriculture where a bedded buck is seldom disturbed.

When you have public with moderate to heavy pressure, the biggest and oldest bucks move to the best security cover within their range. It doesn't matter how the acorn crop is or where the crops are. 2 miles to get to agriculture in the middle of the night is nothing... nothing at all to a big buck running his circuit. He will browse and pick up an acorn or 2 along the way.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby MichiganMike » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:05 pm

Singing Bridge wrote:
MichiganMike wrote:Great stuff bridge. Im not a big mock scrape guy but this makes perfect sense.
About your take on big woods and question for you, I hunt exclusively public Big Woods in MI also. Any AG is at least a mile off and hinders my success early season. I feel the reason why is because the good bucks bed near the AG early season-especially if there is a poor white acorn drop. Do you notice the same?


This isn't an easy question to answer as a lot of factors can play a role. If the area has light to moderate hunting pressure, the bucks may well bed behind the doe families that are bedded near the agriculture. The same is true if there is a completely overlooked spot near the agriculture where a bedded buck is seldom disturbed.

When you have public with moderate to heavy pressure, the biggest and oldest bucks move to the best security cover within their range. It doesn't matter how the acorn crop is or where the crops are. 2 miles to get to agriculture in the middle of the night is nothing... nothing at all to a big buck running his circuit. He will browse and pick up an acorn or 2 along the way.

That’s interesting. I Didn’t think bucks travel that far to get to crop fields. I figured they hold up bedding closer to AG if it’s safe until around pre rut time when they cut the corn etc. I guess that would make sense though if his home range is in a thick marsh or creek bottom a mile or 2 away because of the pressure, or because he feels safe there and hasn’t been harassed over the years. Thanks for the reply, just wanted to get another insight on early season.
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Re: Big Woods Buck Scrapes

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:23 am

MichiganMike wrote:
Singing Bridge wrote:
MichiganMike wrote:Great stuff bridge. Im not a big mock scrape guy but this makes perfect sense.
About your take on big woods and question for you, I hunt exclusively public Big Woods in MI also. Any AG is at least a mile off and hinders my success early season. I feel the reason why is because the good bucks bed near the AG early season-especially if there is a poor white acorn drop. Do you notice the same?


This isn't an easy question to answer as a lot of factors can play a role. If the area has light to moderate hunting pressure, the bucks may well bed behind the doe families that are bedded near the agriculture. The same is true if there is a completely overlooked spot near the agriculture where a bedded buck is seldom disturbed.

When you have public with moderate to heavy pressure, the biggest and oldest bucks move to the best security cover within their range. It doesn't matter how the acorn crop is or where the crops are. 2 miles to get to agriculture in the middle of the night is nothing... nothing at all to a big buck running his circuit. He will browse and pick up an acorn or 2 along the way.

That’s interesting. I Didn’t think bucks travel that far to get to crop fields. I figured they hold up bedding closer to AG if it’s safe until around pre rut time when they cut the corn etc. I guess that would make sense though if his home range is in a thick marsh or creek bottom a mile or 2 away because of the pressure, or because he feels safe there and hasn’t been harassed over the years. Thanks for the reply, just wanted to get another insight on early season.


Sometimes the safest heavy cover / water bedding zone in a bucks range happens to be near the agriculture. Sometimes a completely overlooked area that is seldom disturbed is very close to the agriculture and or road. These are puzzle pieces we all have to put together in any public land area.

When the most secure area a buck can bed in is a good distance away and high hunting pressure exists... the buck will bed a good distance away.

Bridge


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