General Buck Scrape Information

A buck scrape is an area where a buck paws away at the ground, leaving nothing but bare soil beneath it.

buck using a scrape

These scrapes can range in size, anywhere from a couple of feet, to 6 or 7 feet wide.

There is always a branch located over top of the scrape, and it is usually between 3 and 6 feet above the ground.

The branch is used for licking, chewing, and marking of the forehead glands and preorbital glands, which are located near the eye, as a means of leaving their scent behind for other deer to smell.

The buck then either urinates directly into the scrape, or does what is known as rub-urination.

Tarsal glands are located inside of a deer's hind legs. Rub-urination is when a deer brings both legs together while urinating. This causes the urine scent and the tarsal gland scent to mix. A truly unique calling card!

A buck is not the only one to do this, as does and even fawns will do this from time to time throughout the year, but it is most predominant from bucks during pre-rut.

solitary doe standing in woods

The majority of scrapes are community scrapes and are used by several bucks, of all ages.

Not every buck will work the ground with their hooves, or urinate in the scrape.

However, almost every single one of them will mark the overhead branches.

There is no evidence to support that a doe will make scrapes, but they do visit them, mark the branch, and occasionally pee in them.

Scrapes are made close to main deer trails, especially where these trails cross or funnel.

They can be found along edges of fields, thickets, and along a wood line, but 85-90% of them are usually visited only at night, way past legal hunting times.

If you are lucky enough to find deer scrapes that are actually inside of woods, as opposed to the outer edges, you have a higher chance of bucks visiting it during daylight hours.

A buck scrape is normally worked pre-rut, then for the most part is ignored during the actual rut, but may be worked occasionally again, just prior to the second and lesser rut.

small Whitetail buck walking in woods

You can check and see if the scrapes are still active by thinly covering them with some leaves, but make sure you wear gloves, rubber boots, and are wearing scent blocker.

As for scrape lines, it is unknown as to who has ownership! There can be several scrapes in a line or pattern, but it is not known how many of these are made by or even visited by a returning buck.

Deer can smell from a distance, whether or not the scrape has been visited by others, and sometimes do not bother to actually return to that particular scrape.

It is hard to get a direction on scrapes since so many deer will use the same one. Hoof prints may give you a clue, and also which way the dirt and leaves are flung or piled up, but really, these are just guesses.

Rub lines give you a more accurate direction as to the deer's route, than a buck scrape will.


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big Whitetail buck in velvet

European skull mount

Whitetail buck coming out of a thicket