So, you probably already know that scrapes are major communication tools for whitetail deer. But, what about mock scrapes? Do they work? I have scoured the internet and sifted through the hunting magazines; I have read every article I could find on mock scrapes. I believe in educating myself as much as possible! I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I love to hear what the true experts in the field have to say. And, many times I am surprised, because the experts don’t always agree. This is one of those topics. There are key points that all experts agree on, and then there are the points that they don’t agree on.
I’ve done the homework. I’ve read the articles. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you. So, here it is; this is what the experts have to say when it comes to mock scrapes.
What the Experts Agree On
First, all of the experts agree that location is important. Of course, they all have their own personal favorite spots for creating mock scrapes. And, that is fine; any of the locations they mention will work great. The point is that you have to find the one that works best for your hunting situation. So, what locations are we talking about? These are the top spots listed by the experts:
- field edges
- inside a funnel
- just off of a main trail
- near food sources
- near bedding areas
- near already established scrapes
So, if you’re anything like me, you already have your stands up. If so, that’s great, because they are probably in prime locations where you know there is a lot of deer movement. If not, you might consider moving them while you are going in to make the scrapes. This way you are only going in to disturb the area once; you don’t want to come back and make a lot of noise and disturb the area once you have created your mock scrape.
Next, the location you choose must have a licking branch available! This is definitely a point the experts agree on. Many times the licking branch is utilized more than the scrape itself, so it is not optional. There were some varying opinions on the actual height of the licking branch, but the overwhelming majority of experts say it should hang 4 to 6 feet above the scrape. Many of the experts also recommend creating your own licking branch. This may be necessary if there are no suitable trees in your prime location. This is done by simply cutting a branch from another tree and attaching it to the tree over the scrape. However, it will be much easier if you are able to find a suitable tree in your desired location.
The third point that all experts agree on is scent control. This is absolutely essential when creating a mock scrape! Remember, deer have very sensitive noses. In fact, they have over 800 times more olfactory sensors in their noses than humans do. So, if you’re as scent-free as possible, that mock scrape will be a waste of time! The experts recommend wearing scent-free rubber boots and gloves, and making sure to use scent eliminating spray on your clothes. I recommend going through the same steps you would go through if you were going out on a hunt.
Also, make sure any tools or supplies you will be taking along with you are scent-free. The scrape itself can be made with your foot, a stick, an antler, or a rake. Every expert has their own preferred tool. As for me, I prefer kicking my mock scrape out with my foot or using a large stick that I found lying in the area. But, feel free to use the tool of your choice; just make sure it is scent-free. Once you’ve decided on your tool, just clear out an oval or circle spot anywhere from 18” to 4’ in diameter.
What the Experts Don’t Agree On
The main point of disagreement when it comes to making mock scrapes is the use of artificial scent. I found the opinions to be about 50/50 for or against it. Many of the experts say that the use of artificial scents will spook the deer away. These experts believe the deer are able to distinguish between real deer scent and artificial scents. And, this is quite possible, as the deer has an exceptional sense of smell. Therefore, this group of experts feel it is best to create the scrape and then just let the deer do the rest.
However, other experts are firm believers in using scent lures. These lures can be artificial scents or natural deer urine. Just beware that natural lures have been banned in many areas, so check the hunting laws and regulations in your area. Some of these scent-loving experts recommend using scent dripper, while others prefer spraying or pouring the scent directly on the scrape. However, if you are going to use scent, I recommend using the scent dripper. By using a scent dripper, you will not have to disturb the scrape by reapplying scent. Then there are those who believe in using human pee in their scrapes. I was not able to find a whole lot of information on this topic, but I personally know a lot of hunters who prefer this method.
Believe it or not, the experts also don’t agree on whether or not to hunt over a scrape. Some believe the mock scrape should be created in a spot that allows you a great shot opportunity. Yet, other experts think you should place your stand on a trail leading to the scrape. This is simply a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer to hunt my scrapes.
The last point of disagreement is on whether or not to place trail cameras on scrapes. The majority of the experts are in favor of using trail cams over scrapes. But for those against it, they argue that the use of the trail cameras will spook the deer out of the area. And, this is always a possibility, but I am a strong supporter in the use of trail cameras. Anything and everything we do in the deer woods could spook them; so, as always just be smart, and be scent-free!
Well, that pretty much sums it up. You now know what the experts think about mock scrapes. And, now you can decide for yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, or advice, as well as any success stories you may have while hunting over a scrape. Please leave comments below. And, as always, happy hunting!
- How to Fake an Early-Season Scrape by Scott Betsul
- Make a Mock Scrape Now by Travis Faulkner
- Bamboozle Mr. Snooty with Fake Scrapes by Todd Amenrud
- How to Bring In Bucks with a Mock Scrape by Bernie Barringer
- How to Make a Mock Scrape & Licking Branch by Bobby Worthington
- Simple, Effective Mock Scrapes by Cody Altizer
- Creating a Mock Scrape by James L. Bruner
- Making Mock Scrapes by Will Allen
- Trail Cams on Scrapes-Bad Idea? by Jeff Sturgis