For hardcore deer hunters, finding red-hot buck sign is pretty much the same as a football team’s offense marching down the field and reaching the one yard line. In other words, if you keep your cool and make the right play, you’re probably going to hit pay dirt. This is especially true when a fresh new scrape-line suddenly pops up in an area that you’ve been hunting. On that note, here’s a surefire way for you to score big when this happens to you.
Stick & Move
It’s not uncommon for serious whitetail addicts to have several fixed-position treestands to accommodate varying wind directions and different hunting situations. However, toward the end of October things can get a little wild and crazy, which means you have to be able to adapt and adjust to rapidly changing patterns in a blink of an eye. A fresh new scrape-line tells you that a buck is actively traveling a particular route and following a pattern that can make him extremely vulnerable for a short period of time.
When you discover a new scrape-line, it’s time for you to jump straight into action and stick and move. Hesitating and hunting the same old stands can be a monumental mistake. Instead, grab a quality climbing treestand that is ultra-light, whisper-quiet, and comfortable (Top choices would be a Summit Cobra SD for bowhunting, and a Viper Sd when taking the rifle).
Get In His Head
In order to increase your chances of connecting with a swelled-up bruiser on a new scrape-line, try playing with his mind and messing with his ego a little. Spray dominant buck urine directly into his scrape and apply tarsal gel to his licking branches. Next, step a few feet away from his established scrape and construct your own mock scrape. If you want to really strike a nerve, then spray doe urine into your mock scrapes while completely ignoring his.
Another deadly and sneaky move is to apply a variety of whitetail buck and doe rut-related scents to your mock scrapes like Code Blue’s Scrape Mate. This will basically make him think a new intruder buck is getting all the attention from the area deer herd. Don’t forget to monitor his reaction by strategically hanging a series of game-cameras over these new scrapes.
Advanced models, like Moultrie’s M-990i Gen2, allow you to set the units with an innovative Photo+Video setting while in motion detect mode. The short HD videos, with sound, will show you various angles of the buck’s rack and provide clear, high-resolution photographs as well. Your camera-surveillance will tell you whether or not the buck working the new scrape-line is a shooter or if he needs some time to grow and mature. Plus, you’ll know exactly where to place your climbing treestand and when to effectively hunt the area.
Call Him Out & Pick A Fight
After you’ve made your move and are in the right position, don’t be afraid to break out your calls and take a more confrontational approach. Start out with some deep, single-note agitated grunts. If you get a response, but the buck doesn’t close the distance or tries to circle downwind of you then throw a snort-wheeze into the mix. This can trigger an aggressive response from a dominant brawler with raging hormones, too much testosterone and a bad attitude. A versatile call that can produce multiple vocalizations like Knight & Hale’s Death Chamber will cover all your bases and calling needs in this situation.
Now, let’s do a quick recap of the scrape-hunting game plan: First, utilize a climbing treestand when you need to be mobile and hunt fresh and active sign, like new scrape-lines, in real-time. Second, set the stage for confrontation by attacking his nose with rut-related territorial scents and mock scrapes. Third, monitor his reaction with a series of game-cameras and use the information to choose the best stand locations and optimal times to hunt. The fourth and final step is to call him into range with aggressive calling strategies and then knock him straight into the dirt!