Taking Advantage of Mock Scrapes With Trail Cameras
Deer season has arrived and with it the unmistakable frustration of not seeing deer during the first weeks of October. No, we are not talking about you only not seeing deer in the stand, but nearly everywhere, including on your trail cameras. This frustration comes at a high price as you will waste the first weeks of deer season playing a game of cat and mouse with of course no claws or teeth to catch the mouse…sounds frustrating right? It is without the proper guidance! The reason for this frustration is the loop many hunters (you included) get thrown into just before the season starts and it all starts with your trail cameras. Luckily mock scrapes are the answer to the problem that you have yet to realize or seek a solution for.
Trail Cameras Weekly | Week 1: Mock Scrapes
(Video)- Mock scrapes can be the solution to a problem hunters face this time of year. Bait sites need to be taken down, so hunters are looking for a good location to hang their trail cameras in order to gather intel about bucks. This is usually in the form of food plots or mock scrapes as both supplies attraction in order to draw the deer in front of the camera. For how to make a mock scrape, I simply find a good location where deer and more importantly bucks frequent, find a good sturdy licking branch 4-5 ft high, snap it off, clear out the ground with a stick about 2 ft wide, and put scent in the form of mock scrape starter on the ground.
Here is the issue at hand, lack of intel driven with attraction. All summer long you have relied heavily on trail cameras, baits sites, and scouting crop fields to tell you what bucks you have and where they reside on your property. As the summer has recently progressed into fall and into deer season, bait sites needed to be removed and bean fields were drying up. You were left begging the question “how do I find my bucks now?”
Luckily sources of help and quality information are available on channels like Muddy TV. Bill Winke of Midwest Whitetail and the weekly web show “Whitetail 101” dives into this subject continuously throughout October. Bill is an expert at “finding bucks back again” after they have moved home ranges and adjusted on different food sources. The secret to Bill’s success is putting trail cameras in the right locations, with the right attraction, and the right settings. This will become your success point as well after reading through this article.
Again the problem isn’t necessarily the changing times, it’s the behavioral changes in whitetails in addition to the legal ramifications (in some states) of having bait out on the property around your stands. This is an issue because it is in the best interest for you to have some sort of attraction in front of your trail camera to snap pictures of bucks and gain valuable intel. With bait or any “edible” attraction out of the question, we are left with one thing…scent.
During the early season and pre-rut, bucks have one weakness that can be taken advantage of. Their inquisition. Whitetails are curious creatures, they are also social and creatures of habit making this weakness even more deadly. Communicating and learning about other deer and the status of those deer continually throughout October and November takes place at a scrape. Bucks and does alike will visit scrapes throughout the season presenting two opportunities.
By creating mock scrapes the two opportunities can be fully extorted. The first opportunity is mock scrapes create the attraction needed to draw deer in front of your trail cameras. The second arrives once a buck has been located and somewhat patterned, as these mock scrapes suggest tree stand locations.
How to Make a Mock Scrape
Follow these simple steps to make an attractive and useful mock scrape.
- Step 1: Find high traffic area located in the right seasonal location (around acorns, in a food plot, by crops)
- Step 2: Find a tree with a good branch, or hang a branch in the location that is within shooting range of a potential tree stand site.
- Step 3: Create or bend down a licking branch 4-5 feet high. Break the tip off just like a buck does when making or checking a scrape.
- Step 4: Take a stick and clear out a 2ft circle under the licking branch.
- Step 5: Apply mock scrape starter to the dirt or use human urine. Do not put urine on the licking branch, only apply forehead gland or preorbital gland scent products to the licking branch.
- Step 6: Hang a trail camera over the location
Hanging Trail Cameras Over Mock Scrapes
Follow these simple steps to hang trail cameras correctly over mock scrapes.
- Step 1: Find a tree opposite the mock scrape’s face. Do not put trail camera close or right on top of mock scrape as it could put unwanted scent and be seen by the bucks.
- Step 2: Place trail camera around 10 yards from scrape.
- Step 3: Set the delay to 1 minute as does and bucks will not spend a lot of time at a mock scrape sight, but instead will only pass through and investigate, or work the scrape quickly.
- Step 4: Set the trail camera on a long video mode. For Muddy trail cameras, the 2 minute HD video is perfect for detecting bucks and watching both where they enter/exit and how they work the scrape.
This year if you are struggling to find out where to put your cameras or are struggling to capture your bucks again after summer, try using mock scrapes and trail cameras in combination. By placing mock scrapes in areas subject to deer traffic in different parts of the seasons (acorns early, green food sources later, funnels in the rut, and late season food sources) you will be able to continually attract bucks in front of your trail cameras. This will reveal valuable intel that otherwise would go unnoticed.
For other trail camera tips visit the following blog: