First scrape of the year

It always amazes me how early the season starts over there. I know if I lived there I would probably be different but here in Oklahoma we are so far from the best times to be in the woods without horseflies and mosquitos trying to drag you off that I would be afraid I would either burn myself out or burn out all of my hunting spots before it got to be that time of year when anything could show up! I gave up my deer lease this year because I am so busy with the dozer and tractor work and am just going to concentrate on our 90 here on Whitetail Hollow and our 25 over where I grew up.
I have learned not to put in mock scapes anymore. I have found, for me, a better way, but it requires some thinking ahead.

I hang licking branches (vines actually) where I want a scrape and, usually, but not always, the deer come and make the scrape for me. I do this in early August. I have tried it with and without orbital gland lure on the branch -- it seems to work either way so I have stopped buying the lure and just put them out as is.

I find critical points are to get these out early and place them in what I would call "marquee" locations. Another point: It doesn't always work in the timeframe you want, so you need to put out more than you might think. For example, last year I put out 10 of them. By the start of bow season (Oct 1 in my area) I had 5 active branches with scraping started. Now, nearly a year later, 8 of those 10 are active. For some reason those two remaining locations just aren't of interest to them.

Once you have them going they work great and several of the ones I have are being used year round. In fact, I don't really refer to them as scrapes anymore because I realize the deer are really mostly focusing on the licking branch aspect of it. Both does and bucks use these outside the pre-rut, with bucks tending to use them more in the pre-rut. If you haven't tried this I urge you to do so. Again, you don't need to spend money on any lure to do this.
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