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GRANT: Cloudy day; a few rain showers passing through and it’s starting to feel like fall. When it’s starting to feel like fall, well, that’s a perfect time to put out some mock scrapes.
GRANT: Bucks and does use scrapes year-round but that frequency and distribution of where the scrapes are located certainly kicks in once the velvet comes off.
GRANT: Usage of scrapes will increase once that velvet comes off at a pretty steady curve until right before the rut or right at the rut and then it drops off because bucks are chasing receptive does versus leaving a calling card at a scrape.
GRANT: Then, it will pick up for another burst after the rut.
GRANT: There is an untold number of natural scrapes in all of the hills and valleys behind me. And I know where some of them are year to year, but I can’t really hunt there because on those side hills, the wind tends to swirl.
GRANT: The purpose of a mock scrape is not to take over native scrapes, but to add another scrape in an area that’s accessible and favorable for a hunter.
GRANT: When locating the scrape, there’s a lot of strategy involved. You don’t want to just willy-nilly put one out. But, rather locate them where you know deer are passing by. Don’t try to pull them 100, 300 yards. And also, where a hunter can approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
GRANT: This is a prime example of such a location. I’m on the long, narrow end of a food plot that most of it’s up on the hill. And it tapers off right where it gets steep and dives into some big valleys and a bedding area.
GRANT: We’ve had a lot of trail camera pictures and video of bucks coming out of that steep, gnarly mess behind me to use this food plot. But sometimes, they come over here and over here. We’re just creating a pinch point with the mock scrape.
GRANT: Mock scrapes are a point of communication; a pretty narrow point. Deer are going to come by and deposit their pheromones and other deer are going to come by, maybe all the way to the scrape or within a few yards downwind, to check out which other deer have been in the area.
GRANT: That makes a pretty narrow pinch point for both bow and gun hunters.
GRANT: Pro Staffer Heath Martin gave us a beautiful example of using a mock scrape as a pinch point last year. The buck he was after come cruising right downwind of that mock scrape right before Heath put an arrow in the boiler room.
GRANT: That’s what we’re doing here. Because we know deer tend to enter this long, narrow food plot from several places. And by using a mock scrape, we think we can create a pinch point to put most of the deer entering here.
GRANT: Creating a mock scrape is simple. You get a good, sturdy sapling. We use a metal t-post, a post driver, some wire and, of course, we’ve got to add some scent there. And in just a few minutes, we’ve developed and created a pinch point.
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GRANT: When creating a mock scrape or a pinch point, you need to be working just like it’s hunting season. I’ve got my rubber boots on. I just sprayed ‘em; I’m going to leave the least amount of scent as possible.
GRANT: And you’re saying, “Well, Grant, you’ve got your Yamaha parked right there.” I just planted this field. Deer are so used to vehicles on The Proving Grounds that I’m not worried about that. I’m much more concerned with human scent.
GRANT: You might notice I’ve got gloves on. I’ve got to tell you they’re black because these are my prescribed fire gloves. They don’t smell anything like a human. They smell like smoke. I promise you.
GRANT: So, I’m working in those today. A little warm out here to have rubber gloves on.
GRANT: So, my first step – I’m going to get my sapling out. Kind of stand it up; see how much I need to trim off the bottom to have a stout, over-hanging limb or two within about four, four and a half feet of the ground.
GRANT: When I selected this tree, I didn’t cut it right at ground. I was kind of taking some measurement and looking at it. And I’m going to use this long, sturdy limb over here – it’s very stout – and prune the limbs below it so a deer can get in there easy.
GRANT: Deer like using a scrape when they can see around. They don’t want to be pushed into a corner, so to speak, and not be able to detect predators or other deer coming close.
GRANT: I’ll also prune the top off this tree. Deer don’t care anything about that, and I don’t want it catching a bunch of wind and maybe tipping my t-post over.
GRANT: This one’s too low, so I’m going to take it off.
GRANT: And I take them off close to the tree because sometimes deer, in addition to using the scrape out there, will rub on these. And we don’t want to injure the deer; maybe injure them in the eye or something with leaving stuff sticking out of the tree.
GRANT: Okay. See what I’ve got here. I want to leave this one and that one. So, I’m going to take this one off, too. I don’t leave too much because I don’t want it blocking the view of the camera. I always put a trail camera up monitoring the mock scrapes.
GRANT: And I’m probably going to cut it – I think I’m going to cut it right here. Because this is going to catch wind. You see how the wind is just blowing it around, taking it around right now. It’s pretty windy out here.
GRANT: So, I’m going to cut the top out here and that leaves everything I need.
GRANT: And voila! Now that I’ve got it where I can look at it, that looks good. I’ll probably prune this side limb off right here. Prune a little bit off the end, probably wait until I get it on the t-post before I make those final prunings just so I’ll have a clear view and I’ll have it exactly where I want.
GRANT: You also want to think about the orientation of where you want the deer standing either for the camera or for the shot.
GRANT: Tree is pruned. So, I’m getting my tools of the trade – a metal post driver, a t-post driver and a post. You want to make sure you’ve got it tall enough.
GRANT: And I’ve been using a Reconyx camera on a phone pole down here; a telephone pole.
GRANT: If you haven’t used a post driver before, it’s usually a good job for the interns. No, I’m teasing. Get this up here. These are loud. You probably should have hearing protection on. And some people have raised them. There have been accidents. If you’re not used to doing this. Too high, and if it comes off that right at the moment you put your power stroke down, it will come into you and hurt you. Or if you get it right on the lip of the pole, it may come back and hit you in the head.
GRANT: So, when you’re using these, just a little common sense. Be careful. Kind of get a feeling for what straight is. If you don’t have that feeling you can either look at something in the distance.
GRANT: I’ve got some telephone poles over here I can line up and get really close. Or most iPhones have a leveling device on there. You can put it on there and check it out.
GRANT: I’m going to gamble I can get this about right. So, I’m going to look up through here. And I’m lining up with a big, ole transmission line pole over here.
GRANT: And I hit a rock. You hear a difference in tone. But we’ll just bust through there.
GRANT: I need to get down a little further, so the flange is in the soil. That’s what holds the t-post. So, I’ll get on down another five inches or so.
GRANT: Flange is in the soil. That baby is in there. I’m going to take this off and start building my scrape.
GRANT: Years ago I used to use strong zip ties to put my tree on. It was a little faster and easier. But I’ve had some bucks rip those trees right off the pole.
GRANT: I’ve learned to use something stronger to attach the trees to the t-post. And now I use a number nine wire. There is no magic to number nine, but a stout wire that will hold when a big buck comes in and gets aggressive.
GRANT: For this size tree, I just cut some wire off – about a foot, give or take, long.
GRANT: At this point, maybe the most critical decision of the whole process. You want to think about where the hunter is going to be and how you want the deer positioned or where the camera is.
GRANT: So, I have a camera right back here. I’m going to have a blind right up here. So, my best shot opportunity and my best pictures will be if the deer is perpendicular. And a t-post, of course, is a ‘t’. You might think about that. So, I put my tree in that ‘t’ so there’s something to hold it solid. And I’m going to put my main scrape limb straight out.
GRANT: So you think about a buck or a doe coming in to work that. Well, they’re going to be on the side to the camera, so I’ll get a sideways view. I can estimate age better, see it a little bit better. And typically, it’ll circle around and you’ll see the whole deer.
GRANT: But I want to make sure – and then my blind is up here. I definitely want a, you know, a broadside shot. So I want the deer coming in to work this limb broadside to the blind.
GRANT: Once I’ve figured out where I want it – get both wires in my pliers and that way I can get it really tight that way. Oh yeah, that’s good right there.
GRANT: And then I’m going to bend these back in to the pole so it’s very unlikely a deer is going to have its eyes right there. Work on down. Just a little bit of work and I’ve got the perfect scrape tree right here in this food plot. The food plot is already planted.
GRANT: And I may prune a couple of little side limbs. Like I’m thinking the camera is coming this way. This one hanging off here. I’m probably going to take it off. That just gives me a lot cleaner view.
GRANT: Aw, much cleaner view. I’m going to leave this for bucks coming over here, getting into the side. I should mention this is west; this is north. So any kind of west, north wind days I want to be hunting, blowing my scent over here. I think the deer are bedding off this point. I can be right up here in a ground blind and the deer will not know I’m in the area until they get up there to cut my wind. And that way they either are working here at the scrape or I’m going to get a broadside shot as they work up into the plot.
GRANT: That is important because some deer, with a north wind, may walk the downside part of this scrape just scent checking it, be slightly out of range. But I’ll be up there because it’s a longer distance this way. But when you straighten that out going up here, they’ll be within that magic 30 yards.
GRANT: The Reconyx is already set, so my last step is add some scent. I have my scent and the scent holder ready to go, When I’m looking at the tree here, I’m probably going to take off a little bit of this end so I can put the wick back here where the limb is beefier. Because I know this limb is going to get a lot of wear.
GRANT: You can see the wind and probably the cloud cover in the background. The forecast calls for some pretty heavy rains the next day or two which is wonderful for our food plots.
GRANT: Now, this is something I share in seminars a lot, so I’ll share it here. Rain will wash away some of our scent right here. I’m not that worried about it. I’ve got my boots on, what-not.
GRANT: But it doesn’t wash away a deer’s memory. So, I’m okay working right here. They’re coming to this food plot. I just planted it, got out and checked the drill all the time.
GRANT: But I necessarily don’t want to go scouting all through the timber without the appropriate scent control because if a deer cuts that trail before the rain, the rain doesn’t wash away the deer’s memory. So just keep that in mind when you’re scouting and/or hunting this fall.
GRANT: So, I’m going to carefully – I’m going to bend this down because a visual of a scrape is its overhanging limb. And I’m going to take these leaves off right here. And I believe this will get broken off pretty soon. I’ve broken it almost all the way through.
GRANT: But that’s a great visual as deer are getting used to it. And then I’ve got this with these two leaves on. And I’m going – this is pretty stout; it’s oak. I’m going to hang my scent wick right here.
GRANT: I’ve got brand new wicks. And if you haven’t seen me do this in the past, I’m always amazed at how much these things expand.
GRANT: And I’m just going to go over these leaves right there. The wicks are pretty tough. It’s amazing what you can do with ‘em.
GRANT: Hang that right there. That’s perfect. Now, some people mist on here. But I’ve found what I believe to be a better way. You know, I just want so much scent that’s dripping over this limb, dripping down.
GRANT: I should mention right now – of course, I’m using Code Blue Synthetic Buck Scent. They’re starting to sort out their dominance. So, I’m not worried about doe scent right now. I want buck scent. I want to attract those bucks in here.
GRANT: Because they’re smelling each other. They’re trying to see who is the big boy on the block. Buck scent is what you want to use right now.
GRANT: And I’m just going to put that in there; let this bottle – I’m going to tip it up because my bottle is getting a little low. And if a little spills out, it’s no big deal to me.
GRANT: And look at that already. So that was the same width as the top and it’s, gosh, more than a quarter inch. It’s dripping. It’s doing great. I’m going to step right over here. The wind is blowing this way so I’m just going to let it mist all over it.
GRANT: Now, here’s a little magic. Once you get bucks coming in here – of course, they’re depositing all their scent; they’re taking over. This scent is just to get deer coming in. If it slows down a little bit, reapply some scent.
GRANT: Oftentimes, I’ve got it doused really good. I’m going to spray the ground a little bit here. Once I get the deer coming in and using the scrape, they’re taking it over. And that’s the magic. It really becomes a pinch point.
GRANT: It’s like daily, they check out. “Well, I wonder who is in this food plot today. I wonder who is running this ridge line today.”
GRANT: Mock scrapes are an incredible tool to create a pinch point where you’re hunting.
GRANT: Preparing for deer season, it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, no matter what season it is, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.