Scrapes and rubs

Scrapes are areas where bucks have pawed the ground and left their scent as part of the breeding cycle. They often occur where two or more trails converge, where deer enter or leave agricultural fields, or in buck bedding areas.

Similarly, rubs are marks on trees where bucks rub their antlers and deposit their scent as part of the breeding cycle. Often they occur at the some locations as scrapes. However, they may also be found along a trail that a buck regularly uses.

During the early part of the rut, deer may return to the same areas where they made scrapes and/or rubs, but once the actual breeding part of the rut commences, they often stop using these areas as frequently or temporarily abandon them.

At a minimum, they alert a hunter that a buck is in the area. Skilled hunters can tell the direction the deer was traveling, when the scrape or rub was made, how long ago it was made, the stage the rut is currently in, and if the deer is likely to return by carefully observing scrapes and rubs.




Rubs vs. Scrapes - Antler Geeks

Buck sign gets you fired up. It gets you pumped. It makes you want to do push-ups, pull-downs and uphill sprints. Well, not really. But it does get the adrenaline pumping when you see a rub the size of your thigh or a scrape as big as a truck hood.

One of hunting’s oldest debates is whether or not to hunt buck sign. Some believe it’s pointless. Some believe it’s money in the bank. Regardless, here’s my two cents on rubs and scrapes and a little knowledge I have collected in my years of hunting.

Are rubs or scrapes worthwhile?

Understanding Scrapes and Rubs

Part II of our series of three articles regarding how to read deer sign, focuses on "scrapes & rubs." Deer "scrape" the ground with their hooves- - and at times will do so with their antlers. The scrapes will range from the size of a dinner plate to that of a child's portable swimming pool. Put money on the fact that if you find a swimming pool sized scrape, you've either got one huge trophy buck, or it's a "community scrape," where all the deer are together. That type of community scrape usually means younger, or immature bucks.

Whitetail Deer: Sign Language

Scouting for whitetails is like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle. You start with a clean slate of, say, 200 acres, you scout the area for deer sign and then you put it all together. "Breeding rubs," like the one this awesome 12-pointer (right) was captured making, are key clues. Tracks, beds, scat and scrapes provide other pieces to the puzzle. But before you can add all of these things together, you have to be able to interpret what each sign is telling you.