Deer Hunting: Scrapes and Stalkers (Episode 257 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

ADAM: The other night he got hurt. Oblique injury, so, he’s still on the, on the roster, but he’s not playing.

GRANT: There’s a deer right in front of us. Doesn’t know we’re in the world.

GRANT: It’s a great sign going in your tree stand when deer are in the plot. It’s 4:17. We’re gonna scoot up the road and get up a tree.

GRANT: Early on, we had a yearling buck come out into the staging area – our little corner off the food plot that we’d planted in clover.

GRANT: A little later we had a doe and a fawn come out and actually sniff around the scrape about 20 yards to our left.

GRANT: Yearling bucks are extremely curious – especially this time of year. And it wasn’t long until that yearling buck slid behind us, out of the staging area – downwind of our stand, and ended up right in the scrape where the doe and fawn had been.

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GRANT: Between watching the doe and fawn and yearling buck hit a couple of scrapes along the field edge, it was an interesting afternoon but we didn’t put a tag on any deer.

GRANT: I always enjoy spending time in a tree, but this time of year when the temperatures are still mild and colors are starting to show up in the leaves, it’s really therapeutic to sit in a tree and take it all in.

SETH: I just nailed him, I mean nailed Waldo. (Laughter) Dude, you had to work, I can't help it.

GRANT: Pro staffer, Seth Harker, had a chance to take his younger brother, Aaron, hunting. They're hunting the same hidey hole food plot where Seth tagged a wish list buck named Waldo a couple weeks ago. This week, they're after another wish list buck named Rambler.

GRANT: There’s more going on and hormones changing in deer this time of year. You just never know what critter you're gonna see when you're out deer hunting.

AARON: (Whispering) Is it recording?

SETH: (Whispering) Yeah.

AARON: (Whispering) It’s October 15th, uh…

SETH: (Whispering) Your wireless isn’t on…(Inaudible)

AARON: (Whispering) Good now?

SETH: (Whispering) Yeah.

AARON: (Whispering) My brother’s behind the camera. We’re in the same food plot he killed Waldo in opening night. Uh, Rambler’s been in the area so hopefully, he might show up. If he doesn’t, we’ll be more than happy to kill a doe, so the white oaks ain't holding him back. Hopefully, they come to this food plot.

GRANT: Before Rambler comes in, a younger buck is providing all of the entertainment. This younger buck senses something is following him.

SETH: (Whispering) (Inaudible) There’s a buck behind him, I think. (Inaudible) Here he comes.

AARON: (Whispering) When he’s looking right at you, he looks good.

SETH: (Whispering) Yeah, and he’s a young deer, dude.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) What is he there – 60 or 50?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) 55.

SETH: (Whispering) (Inaudible) What’s that in the pond?

AARON: (Whispering) I was wondering the same thing.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) He’s wondering, too.

GRANT: This beautiful bobcat had apparently been stalking this buck and decided he’d make a Navy SEAL approach to the beach head.

GRANT: This time the buck turns the table and actually confronts the cat. Those large antlers coming through the grass are probably a little intimidating for the cat and he scurries off and seeks the safety of the nearby woods.

GRANT: Predator and prey had went round and round since the earth was created and, very rarely, someone like Seth captures it on film for the rest of us to enjoy.

GRANT: Seth and Aaron not only got to see great predator/prey interaction but got to see the result from the prey’s point of view. Notice this buck rub urinating. Researchers have known for a long time that when fawns, does, or bucks are nervous or often put in a new situation, they’ll rub urinate.

GRANT: It was a great evening for the Harker brothers. They got to see something few hunters will ever see – a bobcat stalking a buck. They’ve got more hunts planned and I’ll bet Aaron has an opportunity to use that tag.

GRANT: It’s the third week of October and even 20 years ago, when I was doing my Master’s work on scrape behavior of white-tailed deer, I know that in most of the whitetails’ range, this is the prime time for deer to be using scrapes.  Even though it’s prime time, it doesn’t mean you can simply find a scrape, hang a stand, and tag a whopper.

GRANT: For example, this scrape doesn’t excite me a lot.  I don’t even have my scent control boots on and I’m not rushing to hang a stand in this tree. It’s out in the edge of a large feeding field. This field oversees a lot of activity at nighttime or during cold weather. But I don’t look for a buck to be out here using this scrape during late October when it’s 70 degrees.

GRANT: The most obvious part of a scrape to most hunters is the ground portion. Big ole circle pawed out with all the debris removed. But, you know, based on my findings as a research biologist and other people that have studied scrapes, the most important part of a scrape is the overhanging limb. And I’ve experimented in the past down an old logging road where there was ten scrapes and I would take every other scrape and clip off that overhanging limb, put it in a plastic bag, and carried it out of the woods. And those five scrapes that I removed the overhanging limb, died that day – no more activity. But the scrapes I did everything except physically remove the limb remained active.

GRANT: Based on those findings and research from other biologists, I really look at the overhanging limb and notice how busted up it is. Is it hanging down? Does it look like it’s getting a lot of action? And if it is, then I will probably want to hunt at or near that scrape versus a scrape that doesn’t show much wear and tear on the overhanging limb.

GRANT: When I’m looking for scrapes that I might hunt over, I want to find another reason for deer to be in the area besides just a scrape. And a really active, attractive food source, like Chinquapin acorns and soybeans and a scrape. Now, that’s a recipe that may result in a good dish of venison at the end.

GRANT: Sometimes deer don’t develop a scrape or there’s no tree to make a scrape where you’d really like deer to kind of stop and pause. This is a perfect example.

GRANT: The bedding area is up above us and a hardwood corridor going right between the bedding areas. Deer are gonna funnel right down that corridor to a pond we’ve created right here and food plot. Great place. But how do we get the buck to stop right here? The answer can be as simple as a mock scrape. Adam actually cut this tree, wired it to the T-post with overhanging limbs at just the right height. In less than two days time, had a nice two year old buck come right in here and mark on this mock scrape.

GRANT: Think of mock scrapes as the billboard at church somewhere, where you’ve got “I have” and “You can have it” or “I need” Post-it notes up there. Everybody at church usually stops by and glances at it and checks it out. Same thing with a mock scrape or a scrape. Put it right here, where deer generically travel in this area, and all the sudden, you create a couple yard bottleneck. All the deer coming through here are gonna come right here to read that billboard. And you know where the shot opportunity is going to occur.

GRANT: A sign of the times as more and more people are posting pictures of wish list bucks on our Facebook page. We kind of use that as a daily way to take the barometer of deer activities throughout the whitetails’ range. Check it out. It might help your hunting.

GRANT: Most importantly, hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation this week and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.