Lets talk Scrapes

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Bigwaterducker
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Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Bigwaterducker » Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:37 am

Guys I am curious to know what you all think or how you classify a cluster of scrapes within sight of each other. What do you think a scrape cluster mean? Is it a primary scrape or not? Can a single scrape used year after year be a primary scrape? Do you hunt a scrape cluster differently?


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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby dan » Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:34 pm

The term "Primary" in reference to scrapes seems to get thrown around a lot. Like anything else, you have to get past the terms and look at the root... Why is the scrape where its at? What is it being used for? Worked up young bucks will drop scrapes all over the place. Mature bucks don't do very many "Random" things... Scrapes by mature bucks tend to have a reason and be placed in a location for a reason. An area where the bucks trail crosses a doe trail where the doe is going to be coming into season soon... Marking and entrance or edge of a food source they are either competing for, or that does are using that they are interested in. tHE REAL KEY IS NOT TO LOOK AT HOW MANY SCRAPES OR TRYING TO LABEL THE SCRAPE SOME HOW, ITS TO LOOK AT THE SCRAPE AND THE AREA FOR CLUES THAT TELL THE STORY...Are there big tracks in the scrapes? Are their rubs nearby that are from a mature buck? Is there a reason the scrapes would be made in daylight? (How close to buck bedding? Is it adjacent to doe bedding where does bed during the day, thus bucks would visit when does are there.)

My favorite kind of scrape (and really the only kind that has really paid off for me sitting over) is what I refer to as a bed scrape... When 2 or more older competing bucks bed near each other and both bucks leave in the same direction and the trails meet 75 to 150 yards from the beds and there is a scrape both bucks are using at the intersection... That scenario has killed a few of my very biggest bucks, and its not used for rut, so its used pretty much anytime the bucks are bedding there. Ive killed and seen giants use this type of scrape even in early September. A lot of hunters will simply not understand what is going on at this type of scrape and simply label it "Primary" or they will label one that is in the same location year after year "primary"...

So basically, what Im saying is take the time to do the detective work and ask the why's, the how's, and the when's. You will do far better as a hunter by being the detective.
Bigwaterducker
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Bigwaterducker » Wed Feb 14, 2024 2:28 pm

Dan thanks for the great response. A lot of information there and I really appreciate your taking the time to help me out.
MichiganMike
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby MichiganMike » Thu Feb 15, 2024 9:48 am

Dan nailed it, can't really explain it any better. Ill add though that any time you see a cluster of scrapes, its usually smaller bucks. Same goes for rubs. Their random, and based out of agitation more than anything. They rarely re-visit them so I dont put much stock in them.
Mature bucks have "THE" Scrape or in some instances "THE" rub. I've had big bucks on camera making and checking this scrape in August. And all other deer in the area visiting it as well.
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby HuntingHamrick » Thu Feb 15, 2024 11:03 am

Seems like you got the best answer you could for an explanation from Dan.

Only time I’ve seen a cluster of scrapes like that from a confirmed mature buck is when he’s with a hot doe or one right on the edge of estrus. Assuming it’s sort of a display for the doe, or it might be to try and mark her to keep other bucks away. Not really sure, but I’ve seen it twice now.
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Hookslinger » Thu Feb 15, 2024 11:25 am

Scrapes are interesting for sure. I've started paying more attention to them the last couple years. I discovered one last year on an inside corner in a transition zone between a small bedding thicket on high ground and a large bedding area that is low and swampy. I got curious and let a cam soak on it last season. It gets a ton of activity both at night and during daylight, by bucks as well as doe groups. As far as I can tell the deer hit it all year maybe. Being at an inside corner this spot gets alot of traffic from deer filtering in and out of the bedding areas, so I'd assume it's a great communication hub for the deer. "Community scrape" is another term that gets thrown around alot, and that's kind of what I see this scrape as more than anything.

I personally dont think I've found one of those scrapes between two buck bedding areas that Dan talks about, but lord knows I'm looking! Regardless if I find a good scrape that's close enough to bedding to get daylight activity, I think it's definitely worth keeping tabs on.
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Hookslinger » Thu Feb 15, 2024 11:44 am

Oops I went off on a tangent instead of responding to the OP :lol:
When it comes to clusters of scrapes I notice them too in areas that have alot of doe activity. There is one area I'm thinking of that's a tight corridor that funnels deer movement, and there is a doe family group that beds adjacent to it. When bucks travel through anytime from mid October to early November they will tear up clusters of scrapes right there.

Choosing whether or not to hunt near those scrape clusters I think you'd have to ask more questions like is there enough cover and security for a buck to feel comfortable using this area during daylight? Is there buck bedding nearby? Is there a buck that I want to shoot in this area? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then I wouldn't plan on hunting there.
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Twenty Up
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Twenty Up » Thu Feb 15, 2024 3:52 pm

I could go on for hours on scrapes. Not sure why, but scrapes just “click” for me and if you’re consistently seeing mature bucks hitting a scrape, there’s a reason for it.

Dan pretty much nailed it. It’s not the size or number of scrapes, but the location of the scrape, and in what proximity to bedding, trails, food…. That is more crucial than anything else. I hunt scrapes the same as I’d hunt anything else, with a favorable wind.

I seek out the first scrape or set of scrapes near bedding. Ideally near bedding and a food source. The “best” scrapes always seem to be on a subtle or obvious feature such as a saddle, crossing, fence gap.. that connects bedding to food.

I’ve had luck using manilla rope from Home Depot, I’ve also had luck clearing out leaves and peeing on the ground… I’ve been testing tarsal gland and pre-orbital gland scents on scrapes as well with mixed results. Only 1 year of testing on limited properties, though.

Hope my rambling helps. Here’s a couple bucks working the scrapes I referred to. Public & Private. August-January. Some have ropes, others are au-naturale.

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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby PoppaOtt84 » Fri Feb 16, 2024 1:44 am

I think this question has been answered well already, but id like to add a couple things i have noticed.

I put a camera on a scrape this year that was not too far from bedding, where a nice but young 9 point seemed to be claiming it as his. One day during the rut, an old looking mature 10 point with heavy antlers came through and just trashed that scrape. He made it a foot wider than what it was originally. He also tore up some near by trees with rubs. I had this same thing happen with the best buck I've shot to date. When he came into the piece of property I was hunting at the time, he had tore up the existing scrapes and laid down many more. So I think when you see the scrapes suddenly look different and more of them to take notice. There might be a new buck in town that is asserting dominance. Another thing about the best buck I shot: I watched him stop chasing a hot bleating doe to come over and freshen up the scrape I shot him off of. So I never underestimate the value of a scrape, however like Dan says location is the key when its mature bucks and upping your chance for an encounter.
Swedishbowhunter
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Swedishbowhunter » Fri Feb 16, 2024 11:37 am

I have had similar results to many of the other posters. Making a new scrape in an area & putting a cam to soak on it has helped me take inventory of a property, but mostly helped me to learn some of the times of the year that the bucks like to be there. Last week on a scouting trip I found one of the best scrape clusters I have ever seen. They were in a hub where three different drainages/bedding ridges run into one drainage. There was good bedding on each of the ridges, as well as a big area of doe bedding just adjacent to this hub. WIth food down the drainage as well as off to both sides within a 1/2 mile, this place really caught my eye, as it had 3 or 4 really large heavily worked scrapes all within sight of each other with very nice trails coming off each ridge down to the scrapes as well. I'm very interested in this spot to see what might happen in there this year.
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby Bigwaterducker » Fri Feb 16, 2024 5:25 pm

Guys thanks for all of the great information. So, I had a camera on one of these cluster scrapes this season. Some interesting observations. This one was on a small saddle between an Oak Ridge and Bedding. It had close access to heavy cover. It has been used for multiple seasons.

Heavy traffic with multiple bucks and does in the scrape area at one time. Bucks were mature 8pts to four points. Up to 8 deer a night in early October.

Several nights in October the bucks were sparring.

One mature buck, a nice six would frequently lay in the scrape.

All activity died in mid-October except doe traffic.
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Re: Lets talk Scrapes

Unread postby MichiganMike » Sat Feb 17, 2024 3:13 am

IMG_3382.jpeg

This is the scrape that gets my attention. Right outside of bedding; Notice the date
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