by Scott Bestul


Knowing that bucks visit scrapes year-round, savvy hunters often make mock ones well before the rut. Now is not too early. In fact, early spring is an ideal time because the lack of foliage, compared with late summer or early fall, makes your fakes more visible to bucks.

Make sure the licking branch is obvious; it should be living, 5 to 6 feet high, have a bent or broken tip, and be located at the edge of an opening or near a pond or stream.

An active mock scrape will pull velvet bucks to a trail camera placed nearby all summer long, and it can start a buck-movement pattern that can help you score in fall.