Pre-rut Advantage: Hunt Primary Scrapes
Posted on June 30, 2013
In Part 1 of this exclusive five-part segment , we got you primed for hunting a giant buck before the rut begins. Now let’s take a closer look at some of these advantages, starting with primary scrapes:
Hunt Primary Scrapes
Most of my attention during the pre rut is focused on active primary scrape areas surrounded by perimeter cover. They consist of several scrapes either around a single tree, in a small open area within perimeter cover, or both.
They are generally located near feeding areas, under preferred mast or fruit trees, narrow points of transition cover, perimeters of bedding areas, isolated water sources during dry seasons, and in doe-transition zones between bedding and feeding areas. Unless there are major changes in food sources or property development, primary scrape areas will remain in the same locations from year to year.
Primary scrape areas are always located in areas with heavy doe traffic. Another must in heavily hunted areas is that the scrape area be located within perimeter cover. Even though boundary scrapes around short crop fields are common they are frequented primarily during the security of darkness. In managed areas hunted by few as seen in most video’s and TV shows, hunting field edge scrapes can be productive, however in pressured areas that is rarely the case.
The licking branches over the scrapes are scent marked by does and bucks with their saliva and preorbital glands for social reasons throughout the year. However, there use during the rut phases increases dramatically. The scrape with the most utilized licking branches over it is likely getting revisited the most and is the scrape you should concentrate on when setting up a location.
Primary scrape areas reach their peak activity level during the pre rut when testosterone levels rise and few if any does have yet entered their estrus cycle. All mature and subordinate bucks in the area will frequent by and may utilize the scrapes or licking branches. During this period I have witnessed mature does urinate in and use the licking branches in active scrapes as well, and have assumed they were close to or in their estrus cycle.
Stay tuned for the next part of this exclusive segment!
By John Eberhart