To really set a white-tailed buck into a frenzy you have a number of options, but here’s something you probably never thought about. If you’ve done any scouting throughout the year, chances are you have a few places to set up and hunt from for various weather conditions. Hopefully, those places also contain a good amount of deer sign – including some scrapes.
If so, heres a trick to really throw a dominant buck into a raging frenzy during the rut. Take two different scrapes from different areas, preferably a minimum of 1-mile apart or more to avoid the possibility of using the same bucks scent from his home-range.
With your scent-free gear and a small shovel, dig up the dirt from the first scrape down to a depth of at least 6-inches and put it directly into a plastic bag. A small trash bag works well in most cases. Return to your other hunting area with the dirt you’ve just dug up and do the same.
Pour the dirt from the first scrape into the second scrape and pat down to a fairly firm consistency. Now re-visit the first scrape and fill in the hole with the dirt from the other scrape in the same manner. Because you should be well out of any overlapping home-range of either buck, they will perceive this as an intrusion.
This should bring at least one of the bucks back to actively begin working that scrape again. Keep in mind that unless the 2 bucks are evenly matched, you will probably chase the smaller one away, so it will be to your advantage to know which is the dominant buck to begin with. But if you don’t know, just keep an eye on the scrapes.
Now in most cases this technique will work to some degree – but not all. I have seen smaller bucks work a scrape that was made by a larger bucks, but I’ve also seen much larger bucks approach the new scrape very tentatively. With that in mind, its hard to say whether the buck picked up traces of the human scent in the new scrape or if he was just cautious for the fact that he was not the dominant buck in the area.
In any event, realizing what scrapes are and how they provide a means of communication in the world of deer will only boost your knowledge to a higher level. Experimenting and taking notes will increase not only your knowledge level but also your confidence. The next time you’re out scouting and come across a scrape take advantage of the situation by first examining what you’ve found, then put this information to work.
You could very well find yourself face to face with a huge whitetail buck!