As many of us know, whitetails bucks are very territorial. This is not only evident through their behavior and interaction with other whitetails, but also through signs that they leave behind. Perhaps while scouting for a trophy whitetail buck you have run across a whitetail scrape on the ground. Somewhat similar to how a male dog leaves his mark on areas that “belong to him,” a scrape is utilized by a dominate buck for letting other bucks know that he is in the area. These scrape areas serve as a dual purpose for both the hunter and the whitetails. Pheromones are strongly scented chemicals that the buck produces that are left behind in the scrape. Broadcasting who the dominate whitetail is in the area, a scrape is something that can both attract perspective challengers for the dominate buck, or fend off less mature bucks. The second purpose of the scrape can be utilized by the hunter as an indication that bucks are in fact present in the area. Although the scrape may serve as physical proof that a seemingly “ghost buck” may exist, hunting above it may not be the best idea. It has been estimated that around 85% of the scrapes that bucks leave behind happen during the night.
- Areas with mature or dominate bucks will usually have around 10 times as many scrapes as areas without them.
- Mature bucks will account for around 85% of the scrapes.
- Bucks of all ages will use scrapes, and likely a single scrape is likely to have been utilized by multiple different deer.
- Scraping activity will increase and peak just prior to rut, but they can also be found year around.
If you choose to hunt over a scrape area, make sure that it is a place you know the deer may be comfortable moving through during the day, otherwise the “ghost buck” may get the best of you!