Once the whitetail rut peaks it’s a whole new ball game in the deer woods. In my deer hunting area buck sightings immediately stall out, particularly mature buck sightings.
After the “Rut” is over, what can you do that will get bucks moving around during daylight hours?
In my experience a tactic that works for me, year after year, every December, is generating activity around scrapes. This is a touchy proposition. You have to get fresh scent to the scrape every day; but if you visit the scrape daily or even regularly, you’ll leave enough scent around to alert the scrape visitors that you are there too. And that will make the deer cross your scrape site off their list of places to go during daylight. And quite possibly night time too.
But lets digress for a moment.
Here’s what I think happens after the main rut is over. The bucks return to their home area. That means that during the rut you might have seen them in a particular area, but now chances are the will leave that area and return home.
Does that mean bucks will loose interest in searching for does.
Here’s a one word answer for that question … NO. So that buck you had patterned back in the summer or in late September will very likely show back up where you were seeing him then.
However, the doe situation is different. December is the clean up month for the rut, a second rut. All the does that didn’t get bred will come back into estrus in December. Plus, a new group of does will now enter the mix! The earliest born fawns from this year will go into estrus for their first time.
So how can you find where bucks are hanging out now?
Again, a one word answer … scrapes. They will check scrapes regularly. So will the 2nd rut doe participants.
What do you do if you don’t know where any scrapes are? Where do you look for scrapes?
Truthfully, you develop “an eye” for it. They’re along trails, at the edge of small open areas in the woods, on hillsides, by creeks and streams, near deer crossings, and many other places. Like a place you regularly see a lone doe hanging around. You just have to get out and look. Surprisingly, one of the best times is when hunting season is over and trails and scrapes are easier to see because of the winter woods. If you locate some scrapes then they will probably be active again next year.
Are there different classes of scrapes?
Some scrapes pop up and quickly fizzle out. Actually, it’s a fact that the majority of scrapes are short lived. But if you locate an active scrape in December it will probably stay active.
Scrapes are more active at some times and less active at others. It’s just how they are. Don’t over think it, roll with it.
What can happen when YOU keep the scrape fresh?
A two word answer, more traffic. But you have to do it right … and use the right stuff.
This is what I use. Over the years I’ve tried many other products, some created results, but most were a waste of money.
Where do you find scrape hunting stuff that works?
Three words, Wildlife Research Center. And these particular products work for me.
HOT SCRAPE KIT
If you prefer to make your own scrapes this Hot Scrape Kit is the ticket. It states “Create realistic scrapes with two simple steps.” And you can.
Their Kit has two bottles, a conditioner and an activator. First you use the conditioner, it attacks foreign odors and adds a fresh scraped earth smell. Just clear away the leaves for 2 feet and spray the ground with the bottle that says “Step #1.”
Then you Jump Start your scrape with the Activator. The activator adds a complex combination of odors found in a real scrape. This includes various deer smells and other key elements of an actual scrape. Use the “Step #2” bottle to get your mock scrape going.
If you have a trail camera I recommend you set it up so it can let you know what bucks are visiting your scrape and the area around it. I use trail cameras from a company named Spypoint. They are easy to use and do a good job, night and day.
Magnum Scrape-Dripper® Combo
The Scrape Drippers from Wildlife Research Center are tried and true staples of my personal deer hunting techniques, particularly after the rut. They get results.
The Combo include a Magnum Scrape-Dripper® and a 4 FL OZ Bottle of Active-Scrape® scent or Golden Scrape. I like the Active-Scrape for early season. After the rut I get the best results from Special Golden Estrus.
The design of the Magnum Scrape Dripper makes it sensitive to the changes of temperature and atmospheric pressure, mainly before sun rise. It drips daytime only! That’s a big deal because it helps to get bucks making visits near your Scrape Dripper during daytime hunting hours.
The dripper holds 4 FL OZ of scent. Now, that does not fill up the dripper, and that’s what causes the unique drip cycle. It can operate 2 to 3 weeks on 4 FL OZ of scent, depending on temperature swings.
First, I locate a scrape that is active after the rut. Because I’ve deer hunted the same area for years I know where some scrapes are that are active every year. Also, when I’m in an area that has scrapes I frequently find new ones.
And you can make mock scrapes with the Hot Scrape Kit and and keep them going with the Magnum Scrape Dripper, if you want to.
First, pour the scent into the Scrape Dripper unit and tighten the lid. Tie strings are on the bottom of the the dripper unit, tie them on a limb or branch above the scrape. I like it head high or higher. I’ve used it lower but had deer grab it and goof up it’s workings.
Be careful not to get scent from your hands on it or any tree limbs. I spray my hands with Scent Killer before setting up.
And if you have a trail camera, set it up nearby and you’ll find out what’s coming around.
One Last Note …
Not all the bucks will actually come right to a scrape, in fact most will look it over from a place downwind. I suggest you do not get too close to the scrape. Big Bucks, in particular, will watch the area from a ways off and if you’re seen because you are too close to the scrape it’s all over for you.
If you can watch from a treestand or ground blind from a distance, I recommend you do it. When you learn where bucks check out the scrape or what their approach route is you can set up to hunt there instead of right on the scrape.
Last but not least, here is proof positive that this works. Check out the December 6 pic of a buck standing by a real scrape sweetened by a Magnum Scrape Dripper in overhead limbs.
Good luck scrape hunting.