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Licking Branches and Mock Scrapes

Licking Branches and Mock Scrapes

A recent trip through my social media platforms has shown that hunters are becoming more interested in learning about hunting over scrapes. I love seeing posts about scrapes and looking at the details of each one. Since 2011, I have predominantly hunted over scrapes. Over the past decade, I have honed my skills in creating mock scrapes. For anyone new to scrapes and scrape hunting, I want to help you identify the different types of scrapes deer will make. 


Almost every hunter has seen a scrape and can describe it to someone else. That is a start, but do hunters understand the purpose of a scrape and why deer make them? Do hunters understand that making mock scrapes can improve their deer harvest odds? Let's investigate the anatomy of a scrape!


What is a Scrape?


A scrape is a communication tool for whitetail deer. The scrape consists of two essential parts that allow deer to socialize and learn from each other. So what are the two necessary parts?


The first part of a scrape is what most hunters see because it is on the ground. Deer will use their front hooves to paw at the ground violently. The overturned dirt and leaves are the telltale sign a buck has passed through the area. Scrapes will vary in size depending on whether they are random, boundary, or community scrapes. I will explain those in better detail later in the article. Once you have located a scrape, you can identify the second important piece of the equation, the licking branch.


The second and most important part of a scrape is the licking branch. A licking branch is where deer deposit their unique scent from multiple glands. Typically, the licking branch will be at a height a deer can reach while extending its neck. Branches and vines that overhang trails invite deer to use them as a communication tool. Both bucks and does will work licking branches to communicate with other whitetail deer. 


Types of Scrapes


Now that I have explained the anatomy of a scrape let's look at the three main types of scrapes. Understanding how each scrape differs can improve your odds of harvesting a buck.


Random Scrapes


Bucks will make scrapes as they travel in random places. A buck might create a random scrape near an active licking branch and never hit that scrape again. This is why they are called random scrapes. Random scrapes pop up more as bucks are gearing up for the rut. Identify these scrapes carefully, so you aren't set up in the wrong location to intercept an active buck. 


Boundary Scrapes


Scrapes found along field edges and fence lines are boundary scrapes. Many times these scrapes are made at night by cruising bucks. Boundary scrapes can be challenging to hunt since they are in the open. A hunter can successfully hunt over a boundary scrape if they are lucky enough to be in the stand when a buck comes to work the scrape. 


Community Scrape


Community scrapes are a gold mine! These scrapes primarily appear along well-worn trails, inside corners, intersections, and near funnels. Whitetail deer will work a community scrape year-round! I have most of my success hunting over community scrapes. 


Creating a Community Scrape


In the past, I successfully created a few community scrapes. I eventually found the perfect location for the scrape through trial and error. That took a lot of work and unnecessary human scent in the woods. The Buckstik and BuckBranch products have significantly cut my work and time in the woods due to their ease of use. The BuckStik line of products is perfect for any hunter. They can be carried into the woods in their tube. They set up in seconds and they have a built in licking branch and rope system. They create the perfect Communal Scrape Area by presenting the three main glands at the ideal height for interaction but also by absorbing and retaining deer gland sections and hair better than any natural licking branch. I have killed many deer utilizing the products and tactics outlined in this article and wish you all the success in your hunting adventures.


By: Brian Kightlinger (Left in the Field Outdoors)