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  • Writer's pictureGreg Kazmierski

Making a Reliable Mock Scrape Trail Camera Strategy

Introduction

mature buck working mock scrape

In the world of whitetails, success often hinges on one's ability to adapt, strategize, and outwit these wily creatures. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or just starting, you've likely heard of the powerful combination of successful mock scrapes and trail cameras. These tools have transformed the hunting landscape, offering invaluable insights and opportunities for those who know how to make a mock scrape use them effectively.






Understanding Mock Scrapes


Mock scrapes are a critical component of a successful deer hunting strategy. But what exactly are they, and why do they matter? Mock scrapes are man-made imitations of an actual scrape, which are patches of ground that whitetails paw and urinate on to communicate with other deer.


These sites serve as social hubs for the deer herd, where bucks and does leave scent markings on overhanging branches, licking branch, and bare dirt that attract deer and draw deer into the area. Understanding how to replicate natural scrapes and utilize these scrapes can be the key to attracting bucks to your property.

exposing the dirt on a mock scrape

By creating mock scrapes, you tap into the deer's natural behaviors and instincts. Bucks, especially a mature buck, are curious and territorial animals. They are drawn to these mock scrapes to investigate and assert dominance, making them prime locations for trail camera purposes, allowing you to gain valuable insights into deer movement and behavior patterns.


But creating a mock scrape is not just about digging a hole and pouring doe urine into it. To be successful, you need a well-thought-out strategy that takes into account factors such as: making a mock scrape, placement, trail camera techniques, scent control, and the unique characteristics of your hunting area.


In the following sections, we'll take a look into each of these aspects, providing you with the knowledge and tools to develop your own strategy for running trail cameras over mock scrapes.

working the ground on a mock scrape

Developing Your Mock Scrape Trail Cam Strategy


Developing a strategy or a well-organized whitetail habitat plan that aligns with your property is the first step for success.


To start, consider your property's unique characteristics. Is it densely wooded, with limited visibility? Does it feature open fields, dense thickets, or water sources? Understanding your property's topography and the behavior of the deer in your area is paramount.


Begin by identifying the main travel routes and patterns of the deer on your property. You can achieve this through scouting, tracking, and analyzing deer sign, such as tracks, rubs, and droppings. Pay close attention to areas where deer are likely to pass, like natural funnels, pinch points, or the edges of food plots.


Strategic Mock Scrape Placement to Attract Mature Bucks


One of the fundamental aspects of your mock scrape trail cam strategy is the placement of your mock scrapes. This step requires a deep understanding of deer movement and behavior.


Strategic placement is the key to attracting deer and capturing valuable trail camera footage. Here are some essential considerations:


Natural Travel Routes


Identify the natural travel routes that deer use, including trails, ridges, or creek crossings. Place mock scrapes along these paths to increase the likelihood of deer encountering them. We often will place a deer scrape directly on these paths of travel in front of a stand location to influence deer to pause during an ideal hunting scenario.


Bedding and Feeding Areas


Set up mock scrapes between deer bedding areas and feeding locations. Bucks like to travel near good cover and often visit scrapes as they travel between these two vital zones, so making mock scrapes give them prime locations.


These can also be good locations to create community scrapes for inventory purposes on your whitetail property. Naturally these are high traffic areas, and a well placed mock scrape can get a lot of scrape activity throughout the season.


Trail Camera Angles


Position your trail cameras to capture the best angles of approaching deer. Ensure that your cameras are concealed and set at the right height and angle for optimal image quality. Make sure weeds and other debris don't send false triggers and fill your SD card before the deer even show!

buck working a mock scrape

Licking Branches


hanging a licking branch on a mock scrape

Mimic natural licking branches by attaching branches or limbs at the right height near your mock scrapes. We love to use grape vines because they retain moisture and are durable enough to sustain consistent use. This encourages deer to interact with the scrape and leave their scent.







Seasonal Considerations


Adjust your mock scrape trail cam strategy based on the time of year. During the rut, bucks may be more active and responsive to mock scrapes near bedding areas, even developing their own scrape line as their testosterone begins to rise. While in the early season, food sources and thick bedding play a significant role. The early season is often a good opportunity to lock into the real scrapes many bucks make near their own bedding area and areas on direct route to desired food.


Remember that each hunting area is unique, and trial and error may be necessary to fine-tune your mock scrape placement. By observing deer behavior through trail camera footage, you can make adjustments and refine your strategy over time.


Trail Camera Techniques


Trail cameras are indispensable tools for modern deer hunters, providing vital insights into behavior throughout deer season and the effectiveness of your mock scrape strategy. To get the most out of your trail cameras and attract more mature bucks throughout hunting season, you must employ effective techniques.

  • Camera Placement: Proper camera placement is crucial. Set your trail cameras at strategic locations that can gather data throughout the entire season like we talked about above.

  • Camera Settings: Adjust your camera settings to match the conditions. High-resolution images are ideal for capturing fine details, but they may fill up your memory card quickly. Consider using video mode for extended surveillance during the pre rut when a big buck is more likely to be following a doe that triggers the camera.

  • Frequency of Checks: Minimize disturbance by checking your trail cameras sparingly or use cellular trail cameras. This reduces the chances of leaving a human scent trail that could alert deer. Another tip is to wear rubber boots during your checks to eliminate ground scent.

  • Attractants: Using attractants can be a great way to influence deer to frequent your desired mock scrape site. Whether a synthetic scent of your choosing or human urine, this addition can spark curiosity!

  • Trail Camera Placement Rotation: Periodically change the locations of your trail cameras if you are working with a limited supply. This helps you gather data throughout deer season across your entire property and prevents deer from becoming wary of camera locations.

Scent Control


Scent control is a critical aspect of your mock scrape trail cam strategy. Deer have a highly developed sense of smell, and any human odor can deter them and other bucks from visiting your mock scrapes or reveal your presence.

  1. Scent-Eliminating Clothing: Invest in scent-eliminating clothing and gear. These products are designed to reduce human odors, making it more challenging for deer to detect your presence.

  2. Scent-Free Storage: Keep your hunting clothing and gear in a scent-free environment. Use scent-control bags or containers to store your gear to prevent contamination.

  3. Use of Cover Scents: Some hunters use natural cover scents, such as pine or earthy scents, to mask their human odor. However, be cautious with cover scents, as they can also alert deer if not used strategically.

  4. Wind Awareness: Always hunt with attention to wind direction. Position yourself upwind of where you expect bucks to approach, ensuring your scent blows away from their likely path.

Conclusion


Maximizing effectiveness requires a well-rounded strategy that integrates mock scrapes, trail cameras, and scent control. By understanding the significance of these elements and their interplay, you can significantly enhance your hunting success.


As you venture into the woods, remember that each hunting area is unique, and your strategy may need adjustments based on local deer behavior and environmental factors. Continual learning and adaptation are key to becoming a successful buck hunter.


So, gear up, fine-tune your mock scrape trail cam strategy, and take your hunting experience to the next level. With patience, dedication, and the right approach, you can turn your small whitetail property into a thriving hunting haven.




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