You are out scouting and you come across an intersection of two well-worn trails, you look around but no other signs are there. Well since you just read an article in your hunting magazine about making mock scrapes you decide that this is a great location to build a mock scrape. You go out and get a bottle of deer scent, scuff the dirt around, pour on the bottle, climb into your stand and wait. You never see any deer touch the scrape and you go away feeling that scents are a waste of time and money.
I also read an article a few years back on the use of deer hunting scents and making mock scrapes. I went to my local sporting goods store and was going to buy some scent. Well I stood there for about 30 minutes reading the back of the labels on dozens of scents bottles being rather confused by all the different types; Asked a salesman who got me even more confused, and left the store not buying anything. I did get some scent later and used it; I never saw anything stop or come to it. I thought that all the deer in the area should have come to the scrape I had made. I was again left feeling that scents don’t work.
That was my first experience with deer lures, since then I have the pleasure too speak with a few people in the deer scent business, and have come away knowing where I had made mistakes. I will break this down into two parts, use of lures and making mock scrapes.
I will start with the use of scents, since you will need some knowledge of scents to make a mock scrape. I will be talking about Scent Shield products due to the fact I have used their products and am most familiar with them. Having said that I will also say that I have used others with not as much success.
I can not stress enough the importance of being scent free. No matter how good your set up is and how much you smell like Darla the doe in heat you won’t get the big boy to come in to your area if you smell like the gas that you filled up with on the way to your hunting spot. There are numerous articles written on how to be scent free, I won’t be going into that in detail here. I will say that the use of a scent killer spray such as Scent Shields spray works great.
There are scents that are to be used at different times of the season to be most effective, for starting in the early season from Sept to the end of Oct you would use a doe urine scent also called a curiosity scent, usually a doe urine. Not doe in heat just regular urine. As the rut grows nearer you can use a doe in heat scent or a rutting lure.
To make a mock scrape you must be as scent free as possible, find a location that you think deer (bucks) are in the area. An old scrape works as well, scrape the ground bare with a stick and pour a good amount of scent on the ground, make sure you have an over hanging branch as well. If there is not get a stick and tie it to a close tree. The bucks will rub and chew on this licking branch. Use of scent there is good also, a forehead gland scent works best there. They now have gel scent that seems to stay on the location better and last longer than liquid scent. Try to freshen this site weekly and more often as you hunt the site.
This will make a buck visit this often in hope of catching the doe that’s in heat or the intruding buck. You will see does visiting it to that’s great because you can’t beat the real thing. Making more than one mock scrape is fine just don’t make them too close to others . You should have a few stands hung making one at each stand will increase your odds of seeing deer. Again proper scent control is crucial. Leave your stinky lucky hat at home. The deer will most likely scent check the scrape from down wind so you may not see him, but he can smell you.
Use of scent wicks will help as well hanging them about 10-15 yards each side of you will get some scent out there in the wind. I use a drag rag as well on the way to my stand. It is nothing more than an old cotton shirt scrap and a string tied to it. I tie it to my leg on the walk to my stand and put some doe urine on it. I reapply scent to it every 30 yards or so. Here is a tip, I buy two bottles of doe urine and dilute them 50%with water, and it has worked fine and gives me more scent to use a trail. I only do this for a drag, the others I would use full strength. When you get to your stand hang your scent wicks out to the sides. I use the drag rag as a scent wick also. I tie it to the bottom of my stand hopefully it will act as a cover scent if a buck approaches from behind. I store all my wicks in a zip lock bag this keeps the scent on them and keeps my scent off them. There are also scent drippers that will drip only in the day time these work great because you don’t have to be there to apply the scent it does it for you.
Good luck this season, don’t be afraid to get out there and make these mock scrapes it just might make all the difference for you.