Rut Reporter Eric Bruce has been writing about hunting and fishing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years and hunts deer all over the South, including near his Georgia home. States covered: AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL.
Hunting scrapes can be a deadly tactic under the right conditions. Those ‘right’ conditions are usually pre-rut when the bucks are making scrapes and actually returning to them to check them. Throughout the season bucks may make scrapes and never return to them. The trick for the hunter is to set up over scrapes that have a decent chance of being revisited.
For pre-rut areas in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, finding a fresh-worked scrape may by your ticket to using your buck tag. Look for a bent overhanging branch, freshed paw marks in the soil, and evidence of other deer using the area on a regular basis. Often as the rut gets underway, bucks visit scrapes less and are out chasing does instead.
But what do you do when you cannot find a hot scrape or there isn’t one where you need one to be? Make a scrape yourself. Known as mock scrapes, perform the duties that the buck would and there is a good chance that deer will use it also. Make sure that it is located near a known travel area and has an overhanging branch. It is best if you keep your scent out of it and doctor it with some deer lure.
A hunter in Georgia had a scrape-dripper, a slow dripping scent dispenser, located over some mock scrapes this week. A nice eight pointer came walking in while he was in his stand and now that hunter has some late season venison. The season is about over in Georgia but the best is yet to come for other southern states.
Consider manufacturing some mock scrapes around your hunting area and with the right set up, you too may draw in a buck to your set up. I set up a trail camera over a scrape that I made in mid-December in GA. Lots of does were photographed sniffing it and hanging around the human-scraped dirt patch. I also got a picture of this young buck checking it out. If all goes right, maybe I too can add some late-season venison to my freezer.