By Tracy Breen
Here in Michigan, deer hunting is changing. Baiting deer will soon be a thing of the past. As a result, hunters are going to have to employ new tactics if they want to get within bow or gun range of deer. One of the most popular way to entice a buck within bow range is by hunting over mock scrapes. Doug Roberts from Conquest Scents in Michigan knows a lot about the subject. Doug’s company has been selling deer urine for over a decade. He has spent twice that long hunting mature bucks over scrapes. “Hunting over scrapes can be a lot of fun. Hunting over scrapes is extremely effective when done correctly. If a hunter wants to focus on killing mature bucks, hunting over a mock scrape is one of the best ways to do that,” Roberts said.
What Doug likes best about hunting over scrapes is the fact that he can control what bucks do and where they go by building a mock scrape in the right place. “I start building mock scrapes long before most hunters. I like to build them in September near my favorite treestands which are always located near deer travel corridors. I like to build my scrapes upwind and within bow range of my stand.”
BUILD A SCRAPE THAT IS WORKED IN 360 DEGREES
Doug believes there are four basic components to a good mock scrape that will fool deer. “First, hunters need to build a scrape so dirt is distributed in all directions. The ground needs to be worked in 360 degrees around the scrape and the ground needs to be torn up. This makes the scrape more noticeable. It also makes it a territorial scrape that drives bucks crazy. This type of scrape is one that does will use.”
ALWAYS HAVE A LICKING BRANCH
The second step is the licking branch. Doug never builds a scrape without a licking branch. “The scrape should have a licking branch over the top of it and should be roughed up like a real licking branch is. It should be hanging down low enough that deer can easily interact with it.”
BUILD RUBS AROUND THE SCRAPE
The third step is putting a buck foot print in the middle of his mock scrape and rubs around it. “Bucks can’t always see scrapes from a distance. By making mock rubs around my scrape, bucks and does will approach the scrape because they will notice the new rubs from a great distance. When they approach the scrape, they will see the footprint and be able to see which direction the deer was walking when it left the scrape. Deer often leave their print in scrapes and hunters rarely do this when they are building a scrape. My goal is to make the scrape look as authentic as possible.”
The fourth and final step is putting a rutting buck scent in the scrape and EverCalm on the licking branch. “I want the scrape to smell like a real buck built the scrape. By using EverCalm, I am making the licking branch smell like deer have used the licking branch. By building mock rubs and by using scent in the scrape, deer can find the scrape two different ways: by smell or by sight. By using this method, 95% of the time my scrapes become active scrapes.”
ELIMINATE HUMAN ODOR
Many hunters don’t build mock scrapes because they have had a negative experience with scrapes. In many cases, Roberts believes that happens for a couple different reasons. “Probably the most common reason why deer spook when they approach a scrape is because human odor was left behind at the scrape. Hunters should be as scent free as possible. I wear rubber gloves and boots when I build scrapes and put EverCalm on my boots. Human odor ruins a lot of scrapes. Second, small bucks will often get spooked by a scrape if they think a big buck made the scrape. They will smell it and run away.”
Roberts is a firm believer in hunting over scrapes. He is quick to point out that if a hunter wants to be successful when hunting over scrapes, hunting all day is a necessity. “Our research shows that many bucks check scrapes in the middle of the day. They want to catch the other bucks or the does near the scrape so they will often check them in the afternoon so I hunt all day. The problem is most people work during the day. If a hunter guy wants to increase his odds of killing a mature buck, they need to hunt over scrapes during the middle of the day. My favorite time to hunt over scrapes is early afternoon during late October and early November.”
The key to success when hunting over scrapes according to Roberts is building a good quality scrape and sticking with it. Don’t get impatient.
NEW DEER SCENT TECHNOLOGY
Sidebar: Not much has changed in the deer urine industry in the last decade or so ... until recently. Conquest Scents recently partnered with Wyndscent, a company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan that makes a scent dispenser that vaporizes deer scent. It heats up the scent and turns it into a fine vapor. Independent testing by a tracker and his bloodhound determined the dog could smell the heated vapor from several hundred yards away. The cool thing with the Wyndscent unit is it is controlled by a remote control so hunters don’t need to pour scent in a scrape or contaminate the ground with human odor. They can turn it on and off from their treestand. Conquest Scents most popular scents can be purchased for the Wyndscent unit. Learn more about this new technology at www.wyndscent.com.