by Travis Faulkner

Yes, bucks do tend to hit the sack very early at this time of year. But that’s no reason to skip the morning hunt. The trick is to create a diversion that’ll keep a buck on his feet long enough to buy you some shooting light. Here are two great ways to stall him.

Make a line of three to four mock scrapes–spaced about 35 yards apart–between the buck’s feeding and bedding areas. Put each beneath an overhanging branch if possible. With a stick, remove leaves and debris, exposing dirt in an oval shape about 2 to 3 feet in diameter. Then add buck urine to the disturbed soil and hang a wick with just a touch of tarsal-gland scent from the branch above. Put your stand between the scrapes and the bedding area.

Even with the rut weeks away, that buck will check out the new sign. He’ll likely rub-urinate into each of your scrapes, savage some nearby trees, and maybe make some fresh scrapes of his own–all of which should stall him half an hour or more.

Another great stalling tactic, where legal, is to add several mineral sites between known buck feeding and bedding areas. After filling up on groceries, bucks will hit these sites before bedding down for the day, to pack in some extra vitamins and minerals. Put on rubber boots before walking into the area, then use a shovel to dig each site 8 to 10 inches deep and a couple of feet in diameter. Then add a commercially available mineral mix. Put the licks right along bedding trails so that bucks heading for their daytime lairs will almost certainly stop, linger, and eventually pass by your stand when there’s plenty of light for you to make a good shot.