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Should I hunt this scrape?

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Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:25 pm

I live close to the center of New York State. This is public land which has a lot of trail runners and bow hunters. This area has no human trails anywhere near it though. Anyone have any suggestions on whether to hunt this, and if so when? I can get there pretty quiet if I go slowly.

I have heard that scrape hunting can be a waste of time, as they are usually checked at night. But I also read that if you find a scrape in or near heavy cover, it may be a good place to hunt, a the deer may move to it during the day as they feel more comfortable in the cover than going to a scrape at the edge of a field.

The part of the land I am in didn't seem to have a lot of oak trees or much to eat that I know of besides the blackberry bushes for browse. The other parts of the land across the road have tons of acorns everywhere. I don't know where to hunt there because the acorns are all over. I couldn't find any real white oak stands though, mostly red oak. People are always jogging through there so I think the deer might come there only at night.

I went scouting yesterday, and bumped 4 does total. The first was bumped out of the bushes in the background of this picture, about 20 yards away from the scrape which is in the center of this picture. All the deer bumped were within 500 yards of this spot.



This area is primarily black locust with some maple. There are several small hills and gullies. There are some locust blow downs on the hills, and mixed in are briars and prickers all over the hills. There is at least one low part, about 80 yards in diameter where all the trees were sawed down 4 years ago. Now the whole place is briars about as thick as you can get.

Does anyone have any advice? I feel like this whole area is used mainly for bedding, as there is thick stuff and hills around, with not much food compared to other areas, and of course I kicked up a few deer. I would actually rather get a doe than a buck. Thanks.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:40 am

I have found over the years that bucks will often scrape on doe travel routes and wander in bedding areas and scrape there to advertise their presence. I also agree that this is probably a doe bedding area.

If I were to hunt this general area, I would pick a deer trail on the downwind side just inside the edge of the thicker cover and hunt it during the peak rut to try and catch a buck trolling downwind scent checking for does bedded in the cover

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by PineywoodsBow on Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:42 pm

SlowBow wrote:I have found over the years that bucks will often scrape on doe travel routes and wander in bedding areas and scrape there to advertise their presence. I also agree that this is probably a doe bedding area.

If I were to hunt this general area, I would pick a deer trail on the downwind side just inside the edge of the thicker cover and hunt it during the peak rut to try and catch a buck trolling downwind scent checking for does bedded in the cover

Excellent advise!!

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:39 pm

How would you hunt this area for does? I went in during pouring rain yesterday to see if a buck would come to the scrape when the rain stopped. It never stopped lol, at least not while I was there. I did kick up two does out of a large bush about 100 yards away from this scrape. I know it's bad to keep disturbing them but they ran about 50 yards and stopped and stood there for a few minutes not looking at me and then walked away so I don't think they were too terrified by me. Would hunting the downwind side of a major trail through the area be likely to have me on a doe in the morning when they return to the beds?? Thanks guys.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:09 pm

Personally, I'd hunt for does elsewhere and save an area like that for the rut.

If your looking for doe though, a bedding area is a tough place to hunt them. They will often scent check the area they want to bed and circle downwind before they enter it to check for predators, but hunting a trail downwind of the bed would be hit or miss for does, because they will be heading straight in.

You could try and find oaks or other food sources within the thick cover, plan to do an all day sit and wait for them to browse midday.

The best bet would be to find the food source this particular doe group is using when they head out in the evenings to feed, and set up on a major trail heading there pm.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:48 pm

Thanks for the help. The reason why I want to hunt the bedding area is because this is the only place I can count on them to be. There are no agricultural lands near here. There are no acorns near this cover. The acorns are across the road about 1-1.5km away. It is not a patch of oak trees in this area, it is a ton of oak trees spread out over maybe 3 square kilometers or so, so I have no idea where they will go as they are all over the ground throughout this area.

Perhaps the worst part is that there are people biking and jogging throughout the entire area where the acorns are. You get on a trail and follow it through the woods hoping it will merge with another trail and make a deer highway to and from the food, but what really happens is you just run into a bike trail and don't see much deer sign.

To sum up my issues:
1. I don't know where the deer feed. It could be seemingly anywhere over a large area.
2. There is frequent human activity throughout this whole area, I feel this keeps the deer away from here except at night.


The only place I know I can find deer is near this bedding area. The area is between 50 yards and 100 yards off the road. I have a straight shot in to where I want to hunt on this main trail by the scrape between the beds. Wind is in my favor on a lot of days, coming from the southwest or west. WSW would be an ideal wind if I could pick one,because it would blow my scent to the road I access from and not across any major trails.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:03 pm

Here is a topo map where I marked what I am seeing. I am sorry about the size of the map. Please hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and scroll up with your mouse or laptop pad to enlarge the image.




I access the area from the northeast, on the grey road. I would take the route marked in red.
Light blue dots mark bedded deer I have seen.
Dark blue masses mark extremely heavy brush from 5 year old clear cuts.
The yellow dot marks the scrape, in the middle of a main trail, marked as a black line which others run into approximately how it is in reality.
The purple road is an overgrown dirt road that has trees 5 inches in diameter running through it. It's barely a trail now.
The orange road is the road that they would need to cross if they are indeed feeding on acorns.

I have seen no major trails crossing the road, and doubt they cross busy suburb streets much during the day anyway. To the East of the area is where I know there are lots of acorns on ridges and fingers running between the draws of the stream. This whole area has people jogging and biking on it all the time. The area to the south of the hunting area is probably the same.

Any suggestions now?

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:52 pm

I'd refine my thinking just a bit if I were you. I've done quite a bit of suburban backyard hunting, hunting in parks that others use frequently and the like. While a hunter hates to deal with kids playing in the yard next door, leaf blowers, lawn cutting,joggers, day hikers and the like,this actually works in your favor. The deer are used to it, and regard human scent as less of a threat.I have seen deer move through with dogs barking five minutes after the mowers stop and kids go in for dinner.

Don't think they are not crossing the road in daylight or when they move to feed. Think about all the times you have seen deer very near the side of a busy road,just browsing along like the cars were not there. They simply wait for the cars to pass and cross,or get hit trying to do so. Deer don't view vehicles as a mortal threat either.

My guess is that they are crossing the road in the areas circled in red,following the natural contour of the area. From where you indicate having jumped or seen them,it looks quite obvious that they are traveling along the fingers, probably bedding and/or feeding in the heavy brush areas as well.

I would look hard in the red circled areas for a trail to hunt there for doe.Especially the lower circle, if you can find the trail there where I put an x, where they begin up the hill that would be ideal.

Another option would be to hunt along their trail you marked, but I would do it between the two hills there where they cross from one to the other,also, take a hard look and see if they are using the overgrown purple trail as a travel route.

My first choice would be where I indicate the red x with an arrow. That little terrain feature onto the higher elevation there is probably a major travel route, and more than likely the route the buck that made that scrape is traveling as well.

You'll note that all my choices,save one which I would personally save for the rut, are removed a bit from the general area where they bed, you pressure the beds too much they will find somewhere else to be, regardless of how used they are to human activity. I'd access this area by the route indicated with the red line to the arrow, and hunt it on an easterly wind in the AM, westerlies in the evenings.

Of course, I'm just taking a wild guess at all of this,not having put boots on the ground there. Good luck and good hunting! Post us some kill shots if you have some luck!




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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:39 pm

Wow thanks for the in depth answer! I'll try to be as organized as I can in my response.

Starting with the red 'x' with an arrow. Wouldn't this be about as close to the bedding area as you can get? You can see it is within 50-100 yards of at least 2 deer beds, and those are just the ones I know of, and it is not on the outskirt but in between them. Why is this not going to spook them?

Also, you say to have a westerly wind from this position in the PM. If the deer are bed down as they are on the map, hunting near the red arrow would mean wind would blow over at least two or three of the known bedding areas. Why would this wind be best?

The wind here comes from the Southwest maybe 70% of the time. Why would I not simply hunt in the area I marked to hunt? That would blow my scent in the opposite direction of all deer beds, trails and sign I have seen. Why do you feel waiting for the opposite wind (very rare) is the thing to do? By the way, you are right, there is a good trail running wast to east on that ridge line, right to two of the deer beds.

The bottom circle, I planned on scouting this bottom clear cut tomorrow actually. I was going to walk around the entire thing looking for major trails in and out of it. Across the road to the Northwest, where you marked 'x' I have scouted twice. There was what I would call a moderately faint trail going up there, and I couldn't see anything on the Southeast side of the road. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a deer highway, I would say this trail was a 3.

The top right area you marked, I also wanted to scout. I thought maybe the deer would cross here and use the draw to get out of sight as fast as possible after being exposed on the road. Is that what you are thinking as well?

The purple road in the middle does have a trail running down through it. It is not a hiking or bike trail, but it may be more from hunters than deer. I found 2 stands to the east of this road on the ridge. That is why I did not want to put a stand on the west side of the road as it intersects the ridge. It is very open there, with no fresh tracks any of the time I have scouted it, and I feel that all the hunters that may be in this section of woods frequent that area.

As for seeing deer near roads during the day, I can honestly say I have NEVER seen this. I HAVE seen them on the side of highways, right next to it on the grass, or over the fence in a field etc. But not right next to the road where people drive fast and slow, walk their dogs, ride their bikes etc. I have never seen this during the day. Have you? I can possibly imagine them waiting in the treeline for the road to be totally clear, and then quickly crossing during twilight. You think they do this frequently?

I'm sorry my posts are so long, thank you so much for helping me out. Don't take my questions as criticisms, I know you are a better, more experienced hunter than I am, so I want to know why you think differently than I do so I can get better.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:45 pm

This is an updated map, showing in dark black lines where I want to scout tomorrow. To the West of these likes I also marked another bedding area, where I saw about 8 different beds. I pictured this as a place a buck would bed down, but there were different sized beds, some grouped together so I am guessing I got that wrong and this is a doe area.

The pink line is a well worn trail, but it leads right out to the grass of the highway. I don't know if they will eat this grass now as it is fall and the acorns are everywhere. I set up on the red dot as it made a great funnel area. I hunted it with a West wind, hoping the deer would come out of the bed area and out to the grass, but maybe they don't care about the grass with acorns around. Haven't seen anything there the 2 times I hunted it in the afternoon.

The light blue line is about where the bike and jogging trails run. Thanks for any help and suggestions.


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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:11 pm

Canis Latrans wrote:Wow thanks for the in depth answer! I'll try to be as organized as I can in my response.

Starting with the red 'x' with an arrow. Wouldn't this be about as close to the bedding area as you can get? You can see it is within 50-100 yards of at least 2 deer beds, and those are just the ones I know of, and it is not on the outskirt but in between them. Why is this not going to spook them?

That's the area I would save for the rut. My bet is that's the contour route wandering bucks would use through the doe beds.

Also, you say to have a westerly wind from this position in the PM. If the deer are bed down as they are on the map, hunting near the red arrow would mean wind would blow over at least two or three of the known bedding areas. Why would this wind be best?

I think you are looking at this wrong. I think the whole area is a bedding area, and the deer just bed willy nilly wherever they want on the higher elevations with the wind at their backs. It matters not where you hunt, you'll always have deer downwind of you on most hunts. Your trying to intercept deer that are upwind of your position as they move to feed, and if your guess about the acorns is right, you'll need a westerly in the evening as they head to the oaks. The trick is to not alarm the others by crossing their travel route as little as possible.


The wind here comes from the Southwest maybe 70% of the time. Why would I not simply hunt in the area I marked to hunt? That would blow my scent in the opposite direction of all deer beds, trails and sign I have seen. Why do you feel waiting for the opposite wind (very rare) is the thing to do? By the way, you are right, there is a good trail running wast to east on that ridge line, right to two of the deer beds.

I was suggesting an east wind in the am, as I feel the deer will be moving from the oaks to the ridge. Yes, you could very easily intercept a doe using that trail on a SW wind, but keep in mind that does are trying to avoid bucks because they pester them this time of year and the doe are not ready to breed. They may very well be avoiding the area of the scrape right now to avoid being chased by young bucks.[i]

The bottom circle, I planned on scouting this bottom clear cut tomorrow actually. I was going to walk around the entire thing looking for major trails in and out of it. Across the road to the Northwest, where you marked 'x' I have scouted twice. There was what I would call a moderately faint trail going up there, and I couldn't see anything on the Southeast side of the road. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a deer highway, I would say this trail was a 3.

My advice would be to stay out of the thicker areas until after this season has closed. Deer are very forgiving of normal human activity, jogging for instance, but you get off the trail and start poking around in an area where they bed they will quickly alter their patterns.My bet is that the thicker areas are bedding as well, probably core bedding, the reason the ridges are not as sensitive is because it is a larger area without distinctive bedding locations.

The top right area you marked, I also wanted to scout. I thought maybe the deer would cross here and use the draw to get out of sight as fast as possible after being exposed on the road. Is that what you are thinking as well?

Actually, I marked those two areas because that is the way the terrain would seem to want to funnel deer movement. Again, I don't think the deer have the fear of the road that you think they do

The purple road in the middle does have a trail running down through it. It is not a hiking or bike trail, but it may be more from hunters than deer. I found 2 stands to the east of this road on the ridge. That is why I did not want to put a stand on the west side of the road as it intersects the ridge. It is very open there, with no fresh tracks any of the time I have scouted it, and I feel that all the hunters that may be in this section of woods frequent that area.

I agree here. Avoid areas that you know hunters frequent. The purple trail may be a deer route, but with this additional info, I would use it as an access and exit route, use routes that others use as much as possible, they are more used to encountering human scent on trails like this,and it does not alarm them as much as say, a bunch of fresh scent in the middle of the thicket they bed in.


As for seeing deer near roads during the day, I can honestly say I have NEVER seen this. I HAVE seen them on the side of highways, right next to it on the grass, or over the fence in a field etc. But not right next to the road where people drive fast and slow, walk their dogs, ride their bikes etc. I have never seen this during the day. Have you? I can possibly imagine them waiting in the treeline for the road to be totally clear, and then quickly crossing during twilight. You think they do this frequently?

I know they do.All the dead deer along roads are proof.

I'm sorry my posts are so long, thank you so much for helping me out. Don't take my questions as criticisms, I know you are a better, more experienced hunter than I am, so I want to know why you think differently than I do so I can get better.

I don't mind you picking my brain. I taught myself how to hunt deer, and sometimes wished I had a different perspective or someone to offer advice. I just hope I'm offering you some good clues, because I want you to get out there and shoot some deer!

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:19 pm

Canis Latrans wrote:This is an updated map, showing in dark black lines where I want to scout tomorrow. To the West of these likes I also marked another bedding area, where I saw about 8 different beds. I pictured this as a place a buck would bed down, but there were different sized beds, some grouped together so I am guessing I got that wrong and this is a doe area.

Again, I would stay out of that overgrown stuff for the time being. Try to get some time to hunt around the edges of it,climb as high as you can in areas with good visibility, and look at these more as "scouting" hunts, then move in for the kill on a later hunt if you spot a pattern or frequently used trail.

The pink line is a well worn trail, but it leads right out to the grass of the highway. I don't know if they will eat this grass now as it is fall and the acorns are everywhere. I set up on the red dot as it made a great funnel area. I hunted it with a West wind, hoping the deer would come out of the bed area and out to the grass, but maybe they don't care about the grass with acorns around. Haven't seen anything there the 2 times I hunted it in the afternoon.

Yes, the deer are on the acorns hard this time of year. They are aware that a food source like this is seasonal, and exploit it while the opportunity is there. You may just have luck there later in the season, when other food sources are depleted. Don't give up on it yet, but I have a rule, it's the three strike rule. If I have a spot, no matter how good it looks, and I don't see deer using it after 3 hunts, it's out. My guess then is that the sign is being left at night, or I chose the wrong wind to hunt it, and probably put a bunch of deer on full alert near that spot. I'll adjust accordingly from there.


The light blue line is about where the bike and jogging trails run. Thanks for any help and suggestions.

Use that trail as much as possible to access and exit the area.



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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:42 pm

Just to be clear, the area I said I would scout was AROUND the thick stuff, not into it. Do you think it would be wise to go around the thick stuff in the normal woods trying to locate the trail they use to get in and out of the thicket? My thinking is whether or not the deer care about the road, the deer bedding in the thicket within a few hundred yards of the oaks should certainly be going there for food. I was hoping to maybe find the heaviest traveled trail between the oaks and the thicket and set up on it.

When would you think I should start hunting the spot I wanted to originally? I agree that the buck will probably use that slight ridge north of the scrape if he scent-checks the does bedding area. It is downwind of most of the bedding area, and is the only terrain feature round until the road itself.

And no I don't believe dead deer on the road is proof of them crossing the road during the day. My brother just hit a deer 3 nights ago actually.. at night. The only time I have ever heard of anyone hitting a deer personally was at night, and the only time I have almost ever hit deer was at night.

When do the acorns tend to die off? Is there any time of year in particular? This may be my dumbest question yet, as I'm sure it depends on population of acorn eaters as well as how many fell to begin with. Thanks for your help, I will DEFINITELY be looking over everything you said, and I will have to compare your advice with what I see on the ground to make the best decision on what to do. Thank you! Any future suggestions are really welcome.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:00 am

Canis Latrans wrote:Just to be clear, the area I said I would scout was AROUND the thick stuff, not into it. Do you think it would be wise to go around the thick stuff in the normal woods trying to locate the trail they use to get in and out of the thicket? My thinking is whether or not the deer care about the road, the deer bedding in the thicket within a few hundred yards of the oaks should certainly be going there for food. I was hoping to maybe find the heaviest traveled trail between the oaks and the thicket and set up on it.

At this late stage of the game, I still think you would be better off doing "observation hunts" without getting too invasive. It can take years to learn dependable travel routes on a hunting area, and your just getting started. Will it do harm to scout? Yes, and no. There is no way to find set-ups and info on the game without it.But certain types of scouting are best left to off season. I do lots of in season scouting also. Just be sure to use full scent control, wear your scent proof boots, and it's better to do in season scouting just before or in a light rain. Those thickets are like a corn maze of deer trails, I'll guarantee it, and they are just as likely to use one as the other based on the wind. Once they break into the more open areas, they will take a familiar travel route, the path of least resistance most often traveled. This is the reason I suggest observation hunts, to determine that route.

When would you think I should start hunting the spot I wanted to originally? I agree that the buck will probably use that slight ridge north of the scrape if he scent-checks the does bedding area. It is downwind of most of the bedding area, and is the only terrain feature round until the road itself.

Hunt it when you feel conditions are right. Like you said, most scrapes are tended at night, and right after a rain. Leaving scent around it could be detrimental, as this is exactly what a deer is looking for at a scrape and in the area of a scrape, scent. Contrary to popular belief, does visit and leave scent at scrapes as well as bucks.

And no I don't believe dead deer on the road is proof of them crossing the road during the day. My brother just hit a deer 3 nights ago actually.. at night. The only time I have ever heard of anyone hitting a deer personally was at night, and the only time I have almost ever hit deer was at night.

I've sat in a stand and watched them do it a hundred times over. A small piece of private land we hunt, that is how they access the property, by crossing a road. It's not a major highway, but does get quite a bit of traffic. They come across there at all times of day, to get into the fields from the ridges and stream valley they travel along on the other side. They don't think twice about it. In fact, I have even seen deer look both ways before crossing more than once. I'm not making this up.


When do the acorns tend to die off? Is there any time of year in particular? This may be my dumbest question yet, as I'm sure it depends on population of acorn eaters as well as how many fell to begin with. Thanks for your help, I will DEFINITELY be looking over everything you said, and I will have to compare your advice with what I see on the ground to make the best decision on what to do. Thank you! Any future suggestions are really welcome.

No stupid questions for those who truly wish to know! Most of the white oaks drop early, probably about done by now. Red oaks drop later into the season. As far as when they will be gone, like you said, is anybodies guess.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:49 pm

OK, so I did some scouting today, and just stayed in the woods and out of anything thick. Pink lines show major trails.



I finally found some rubs, marked on the map as red dots east of the stream. I was happy to see them, as I haven't seen almost any on this land. Most were on trees about 2 inches in diameter, but there were some on 3" trees and on on a tree over 4", which is way bigger than any rub I have seen before. Maybe it was a decent deer. In the middle of all of these rubs was a scrape, with no overhanging branch. The area is a large finger between two gullies leading into the stream. Lots of oaks everywhere, mostly red oaks.

I found some white oaks across the stream from here, marked as brown dots. To the Northwest of this area I found a spot where it seemed like half the trees in that acre were white oaks. I didn't see any acorns on the ground though. Maybe they are all gone? Maybe this is a good sport for early October hunting next year?

Does the oak ridge with all of the rubs and the scrape mean that's their main food source now, or not really? I wasn't able to follow a rubline to the bedding area as people often say you can do.

Any advice with the new info? How would you do an observation hunt? Get high on a hill and look for deer at peak times? Anywhere in particular? Should wind blow from the West for this? Thanks.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:09 pm

Canis Latrans wrote:OK, so I did some scouting today, and just stayed in the woods and out of anything thick. Pink lines show major trails.



I finally found some rubs, marked on the map as red dots east of the stream. I was happy to see them, as I haven't seen almost any on this land. Most were on trees about 2 inches in diameter, but there were some on 3" trees and on on a tree over 4", which is way bigger than any rub I have seen before. Maybe it was a decent deer. In the middle of all of these rubs was a scrape, with no overhanging branch. The area is a large finger between two gullies leading into the stream. Lots of oaks everywhere, mostly red oaks.

This sounds like the buck is running that ridge. It's probably his core area,and he's bedding there. He'll probably bust you if you try to hunt it. The only exception to this would be hard pre rut, just before the does come in the first week of November, he might be out late looking for ladies and sneak back up on that ridge just after dawn. More than likely though, he'll be up there rubbing and scraping in frustration and make you coming in.


I found some white oaks across the stream from here, marked as brown dots. To the Northwest of this area I found a spot where it seemed like half the trees in that acre were white oaks. I didn't see any acorns on the ground though. Maybe they are all gone? Maybe this is a good sport for early October hunting next year?

Maybe they didn't drop this year. yes a good area to keep an eye on for next year to see if they do drop.

Does the oak ridge with all of the rubs and the scrape mean that's their main food source now, or not really? I wasn't able to follow a rubline to the bedding area as people often say you can do.

That's because it probably is his core bedding area.

Any advice with the new info? How would you do an observation hunt? Get high on a hill and look for deer at peak times? Anywhere in particular? Should wind blow from the West for this? Thanks.

What I would do is stick to plan A for now. Hunt the first trail with the scrape for doe, or the terrain features I indicated where I believe the deer will make their way up onto the ridges to bed. See if you can find a pattern,watch and see what is happening for a few hunts. Also, try a hunt on the trail between the two thick areas, see if there is daylight traffic there.In early and mid November, try hunting the southeast trail out of the top thick area where it makes it's way up onto the ridge,or what I'm calling the core area. Yes, on a west or NW wind.But approach this from downwind if you can, in a big circle, coming in from the east, where you typed the word OAKS on the map. Even if it takes you an hour extra to hike around and over the ridge.

I'd still want to hunt the little finger downwind of the doe beds as well, the one with the X that I indicated with the arrow, on an east wind in the AM.Downwind of the doe beds in early and mid November can be magic.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:30 pm

Ok, I'll take your advice soon. I'm really not sure that buck is bedding there though. It isn't thick at all, I saw no beds, and it's in the open by several bike trails.

This is what it looks like by all the rubs and the scrape.


This is a pic of the second scrape I found today, but the ridge with all the rubs looks open like this. Note the treestand behind this scrape lol.


This is the biggest rub on the ridge with the other rubs and the scrape.
You still think he's bedding there? Do they only rub like that hear there beds? I thought they rubbed wherever they happened to be, and I'm sure he is eating all the acorns there so I don't see why you think it's a bed? Whenever you see buck sign on a ridge does that almost always mean bed? I feel like he has a tone of better options on other ridges less frequented by people and less in the open.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:43 pm

Thing is, I'm just stabbing in the dark here,never having been there. I was just guessing the woods where you found the rubs were similar to the first picture you posted. It could be a staging area too, where he hangs waiting to go and feed, open hardwoods like that, probably nocturnal activity though. Or perhaps a preferred travel route, over the top of that hill.

You can guess which way he's heading based on the side of the trees that are rubbed more. Your mission is to figure if those rubs are made when he's headed to bed, or out to feed,and hunt accordingly, in the am or pm.

There is no substitute for time spent in the woods, boots on the ground, and then backing up your observations with hunts to see if you were right.

Follow your gut and intuition, and if things don't go as planned, try something else. In the end, your going to be the one who has to decide where to hang that stand.


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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:48 pm

I'm not using a stand. I'm using natural blinds on the ground. I honestly feel like almost all of the activity is at night here, with all of the joggers and bikers. Maybe the deer won't care much during the rut though. I have seen deer, I might see one cross a trail right around official sunset time. I haven't seen a pattern yet though.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by SlowBow on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:18 am

Deer move when they want to. Not when you think they should, or when you think you might see them.

I've hunted in busy parks many times. I've sat and watched deer stop feeding on acorns on a hill side 2 hours before dark and be still to let the two ladies and their dogs walk by not 100 yards away. I've seen deer cross jogging paths not 5 minutes after someone jogged along it.

I've watched 18 month old bucks stroll through open hardwoods at 12:30.

I've had spikes follow my scent trail to my stand at 14:00 just minutes after I had gotten settled in and then bust me, almost like they were looking for me. Right after my wife had texted me to say she shot one five minutes before that, right after she had sat down on the ground in a deadfall not 100 yards away from where I was hunting, and I walked off to set up.

I see deer in busy areas like this a lot at midday, they get accustomed to a lull in human activity between 10:00 and 14:00 and use these times to move, instead of the more typical times.

I've also been on stand when kids walk through on their way home from school, stroll through the open field they used as a bedding area and had the woods around me fill up with the deer they jumped.

Put your time in. Be still. Play the wind. You'll see deer. If you really and truly believe that you wont see deer at this area during legal shooting hours, why hunt it? You wont have the patience and concentration you need to wait it out. You'll fidget. You'll psych yourself into just leaving.

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Re: Should I hunt this scrape?

Post by Canis Latrans on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:38 am

No I'll hunt it, but I just don't expect to see deer there unless it is really early or really late. Maybe during the rut I could see them running through there. I'll pick a few spots out and sit for a few hours and see what I see. Thanks.

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