Contributors to this thread:
How long do scrapes remain active?
4' wide scrape
4' wide scrape
another 40 yards away
another 40 yards away
and yet another.....
and yet another.....
Being a relative neophyte to whitetail hunting, I was surprised to find these very active scrapes this morning walking a main trail through a secluded bedding area. a scrape was present about every 40-50 yards. Bucks are still hanging with the does, but the heavy rutting activity has ended. I know the 2ndary estrous period is on going but these scrapes are enormous and active....how long do they continue to use these??
It varies. I've seen them freshened in January here and our rut (ETexas) is usually done by the first of December. I saw several fresh ones yesterday morning while tracking a deer someone shot Sunday evening.
I've seen them worked nearly every month of the year
Sometimes they stay active all year especially the licking branch. Think of them as a scent post.
A scrape is not rut specific. It is a communication device used all year, as is the licking branch. However, as travel increases, during the rut, they get more active. Many scrapes are often started by does but all scrapes are "used" by deer of all ages and both sexes. I start most of my mock scrapes in the spring. Think of a scrape as a post on here. Nobody thinks of it until someone posts, then several others post their input. Same with a scrape. It may go dormant until a deer comes along and makes a "post". Then, other deer post followup comments.
Two to three weeks for hunting purposes. This year I saw a young buck freshening a scrape that I a certain that was made by a more dominant buck. I hunt scrapes zero percent of the time but sit in proximity of scrape if other things drive me to the spot. I love hunting big rubs in deep cover but would not get excited about a scrape. I Think that there is a short window prior to the rut that if you find a scrape line, a staging area, or a daytime feeding area that has scrapes setting there can be productive. Scrapes tell us primarily that it is that time year and with other sign indicates the upcoming rut.
Bowriter, Interesting you stating many scrapes are started by does. Have you personally observed this or have trail cam pictures?
That's a new one to me.
Obviously I do know what started these but they are littered with tracks of every size. From large buck to tiny fawn tracks are all over these with fresh scratch and pee spots. I've found scrapes all over the property but these are by far the largest . I don't usually go into this area as we use it as a "Sanctuary", a place the deer can go without being hassled and keep them on the property. Thanks for the info Kip
Russell- Yes, common knowledge. Obviously, bucks start more of them and freshen them. But does and even doe fawns scrape. All deer scrape, just as deer use rubs, even does. As I said, it is nothing more than a form of communication. If you want more in depth information, Google John Ozoga research on rubs, scrapes, licking branches. You can get a ton of information from his articles. IMO-he is one of the top deer communication experts in the field. I have a lengthy article on it but you might trust his word more.
Writer, you keep saying does make scrapes but in reality based on observation and much research that number is inconsequential to the scrape discussion.
Bottom the vast majority of scrapes are made by bucks and most are made in two to three week period prior to the rut.
On 6 occasions this year I was lucky enough to watch a deer work over a scrape. 4 of those were done by mature does, 1 by a doe fawn, the last by a small buck.
I'll be damned! Learn something new every day.
Not sure if I believe a doe creates scapes tho.
Does will use scrapes but very seldom make scrapes.
Had a huge scrape on us in May found it turkey hunting put a camera on it and got many pictures for a month all made by the same doe Lewis
I often see does work existing scrapes but have never seen or heard of anyone seeing a doe initiate a scrape.
A doe scrape is quite easy to miss, can easily be confused with turkey scratching. Have never seen one with a licking branch. Lewis, I suspect the doe you have seen working the scrape, probably started it. Often, once a buck pick one up, a licking branch appears. Conversely, a licking branch may come first and then, at some point, a scrape appears under it. A licking branch, by itself, is real easy to miss unless you are looking for one. This doe probably makes six to eight scrapes a year and I have never seen one picked up. For the longest, I thought it was turkeys doing it. She is a haughty ole thing.
John there was a licking branch above it cannot say the doe used it Lewis
Licking branches be weird deals. probably the number one method of scent/secretion, communication and so little known about them. They are active all year and seldom noticed by humans. All deer use them but just what they communicate, who knows?
Seen full blown rutting activity this Christmas day in NE Ohio... Buck was chasing a doe round and round and during one of his breaks from the chase he stopped worked a limb vigorously and laid a scrape... He was fired up working the branch and making snow and mud fly working the scrape... Ya'd of thought it was early November...
I was and am of the opinion that scrapes are not the best place to place a stand unless other elements existed.
I was looking at cheesehead Mike’s profile page and read his comments and many of his kills were associated with scrapes and pictures do not lie.