Most hunters use mock scrapes as a tactic for finding bucks in October and November. It’s for good reason, since their signpost making goes up as their testosterone rises. However, I changed my mind a few years ago when I started a mock scrape in early September and suddenly had an influx of new bucks on camera. Although the scrape had shown up ahead of schedule, the deer were curious enough to alter their pattern and visit the site every couple of days.
It was a small sample size, but it turns out I’m not the only one who has noticed this.
A study done in the late 1980s and early 1990s on an enclosed deer population aimed to see what deer showed preference for with scrapes. A few different things were tested to see what garnered the most buck activity, and in the end buck urine was the most popular. More than 90 percent of mock scrapes that had buck urine placed in them were visited by deer within the first week. That’s double the rate of scrapes where only the ground was cleared but no urine was placed.
Not only did more deer work scrapes that had buck urine in them versus no buck urine, they started building more scrapes as well.
In buck urine treatment year of 1989, mock scrapes were made earlier than normal to see how deer would respond. That fall the first scrape was worked on September 6, just 24 hours after it was started, and activity escalated thereafter. By September 26, 32 scrapes were recorded in the enclosure that were made by bucks.
In non-treatment year of 1988, where no mock scrapes were made, there was only one scrape observed prior to September 26. The study was replicated in 1990 and 1991, with similar results showing that scrapes were created earlier and more often when mock scrapes with buck urine were implemented.
Maybe some of the most telling evidence, though, is that four mature bucks died during this study from fighting. In the 24 years prior to this, no bucks in the enclose had ever died from fighting injuries. While it’s not a guarantee, the researcher implied that the mock scrapes created a social disruption that had the bucks more active. It shows how powerful the scent of deer urine can be. To learn more about this study, checkout the full article from Deer & Deer Hunting.
For my mock scrapes, I’ve started to put a lot of stock into the quality of urine I use. I previously would just urinate in the scrapes myself, but the study above that showed favor towards buck urine changed my mind. Since then, I’ve started using Wild Carrot Deer Attractant.
Wild Carrot has the best packaging on the market, and it guarantees freshness. Their onetime use applicators keep oxygen and light from coming in contact with the impregnated wicks, which prevents the product from diluting.
Wild Carrot is available in estrus doe, rutting buck, doe, and buck. Their urine is ATA approved, and their estrus doe is laboratory tested to insure it comes from a doe in heat. This is especially important when trying to fool the delicate nose of a whitetail.
“I can tell a difference, so I know deer can tell a difference,” Barry Smith, founder of Wild Carrot Deer Attractant told me. “Estrus doe has almost a sweet smell, while rutting buck urine has a pungent aroma.”
Early in the season like this, I’ll make scrapes around field edges that are getting a lot of deer traffic. I hunt around many bean fields, which lack pinch points and funnels to get deer within bow range. This is where a couple mock scrapes with buck urine can be a game changer, and give a buck a reason to walk in front of my stand.