Mature Buck Strategies

Mock Scrape Annual Rut Predictions

annual rut predictions

When you have create a system of movement including bedding areas, travel corridors and food sources, placing one mock scrape and one trail camera in the middle of it all, can tell you much more than just what bucks are in that exact area. The entire buck population, the amount of pressure you or your neighbor's place on your lands and of course when the rut actually begins, can all be revealed by one highly effective mock scrape setup.

*Creating a system of Buck Movement may take a lot of work but when combined with a mock scrape, the level of intel that you can capture to predict your annual rut, habitat, hunt and overall level of whitetail success, is absolutely incredible!

Mock Scrape Rut Prediction Setups

Outside of making sure that you have learned how to create a highly effective Mock Scrape, there are several habitat features that need to be combined, in order to slot bucks into a highly defined movement on your land. After all, if the buck movement isn't defined over a several hundred yard length of movements not only can your hunt and buck management activities not be defined, but they can't be predicted very well either. 

1. High Quality Food Plot Food Source

A quality afternoon food source(s) that the bulk of the deer herd visits during the feeding period that is about any hour right before dark, is critical to not only your mock scrape buck prediction success, but to your entire herd and hunting program. A daylight afternoon hunting season food source should be the foundation of all quality herd and hunting efforts, during the hunting season.

2. Screened Food Sources

Screening your food plots is the first step in aligning doe bedding opportunity, followed by buck bedding establishment.

3. Doe Bedding Adjacent To Food Source

Once all-season food sources have been created and screened, doe bedding opportunity should be enhanced within 25 to 100 yards from each food source.

4. Buck Bedding Behind Doe Bedding

You can't attract buck bedding opportunity unless you've used food sources to establish doe bedding areas. Once space has been created on small parcels by defining food sources and doe bedding, bucks can fill that space behind and away from doe bedding areas, regardless of the compass direction. While the temptation is to begin work on potential buck bedding locations, the work always should begin with food, followed by screening and doe bedding opportunity.

5. Safe Travel Habitat From Buck Bedding to Doe Bedding to Food Source

Even modest timber cuttings or hinge cuttings can reduce the visibility in your woodlot so that deer feel comfortable moving all the way from buck bedding areas to an established afternoon food source, and everywhere in-between. The entire line of daily defined deer movements should feature zero holes of deer exposure or open cover. 

6. Mock Vine Scrape Between Bedding or Near Food Source

My favorite mock scrape locations are within cover and adjacent to food source so that you can capture the daily afternoon movement to food from bedding areas -or- a location that is close to a bucks bedding area, and on the way to or from his preferred food source. 

7. Entire Daily Buck Movement Un-pressured 

Once your habitat has been created to facilitate a predictable daily buck movement from bedding to mock scrape to doe bedding areas to afternoon food sources, you have to maintain a very low level of hunting pressure so that the entire movement is not destroyed. 

*Why use a mock VINE scrape? Because they are the most natural, most attractive scrape I have ever seen, across the entire North 1/2 of the Country. Simply, They Work!

Mock Scrape Habitat, Hunting and Annual Rut Predictions

From the type of buck you are hunting to your hunting intrusion levels to annual rut predictions, a quality mock scrape within a season-long defined daily buck movement can deliver the intel you need to make highly informed herd, habitat and hunting decisions. 

Season-long Habitat Mock Scrape Intel

I am sure it comes as no surprise, but if the food sources you offer or the bedding areas that you have created are not enough to last the season, you can expect your mock scrape activity to dry up. while that fact is fairly obvious, an aspect of habitat and hunting management that is often missed, is how much that your own hunting activities work to reduce mock scrape use. If your food sources are down to the dirt then you most likely need to add more for next year. However, if your bedding areas are adequate and you still have a great food source, then diminished mock scrape use is most likely due to your hunting intrusions. If deer are only using your land at night based on your mock scrape intel, then hunting pressure on your own land is most likely to blame. It pays to take a good hard look at how your own hunting efforts impact your mock scrape activity.

In-Season Buck Hunting Scrape Predictions

Where he's coming from, when you can expect him to be there and if he has been there recently can help you make in-the-field decisions for where, when and why to sit in one treestand vs another. I personally greatly enjoy my Exodus 2" Viewing Screens! Because nearly all of my trail cams are located within bowshot of my treestands and on mock scrapes, it is very easy to check trail cams on the way to or from a stand location for making hunting predictions based on the most recent historical mock scrape pic intel. A quality mock scrape can offer a great look into the daily life of a particular mature buck and don't be surprised if you find that he will travel 20-30 yards or more out of his way to use the scrape. The consistency of daily mock scrape use can easily help you to predict not only where, when and why to sit in particular stand, but when the rut begins.

Annual Mock Scrape Rut Predictions 

Let's face it, the rut begins at the same time in your area, every single year. A mock scrape setup with a quality trail camera in place to observe buck activity near by, is an outstanding way to check out Pre rut, Peak rut and Post rut activities. While mature bucks are fairly consistent in daily activities leading up to the Pre rut, they often display huge changes in the timing of mock scrape use and the frequency of mock scrape use. 

  • Mid-morning scraping activity is a sure sign that the Pre rut has begun
  • All-day scraping activity is a sure sign the Peak rut is ON
  • A drastic shut-down in mock scrape use lets you know that the annual rut Lock-down phase is taking place
  • Random, shrinking activity following Peak and Lock-down phases signifies that the Post rut is beginning to take over
  • About a month after the Peak rut phase takes place, you can expect the secondary rut to bring a few-day flurry of extended rut activity

Would you like to be able to predict the rut in your area with an outstanding level of accuracy? After a couple years of mock scrape trail cam observing in a particular mock scrape location, you will find an AMAZING level of consistency for the beginning, peaking and ending of the annual rut. As long as the habitat features of food and cover are available to deer and haven't been overly pressured, just one well-positioned mock scrape can deliver the exact timing of the rut in your area.   

annual rut predictions

*Mock scrapes are easy to make and can deliver a huge supply of powerful hunting intel! They can even help you Bowhunt all phases of the rut!

Core or Non Core Buck Predictions?

Of course, not every buck lives in and around your land all-season long (core buck). In fact for my own personal hunting stats, roughly 1/2 of my oldest buck harvests have lived an average of 3/4s of a mile to a mile  away, and on someone else's land for the bulk of the season (non core buck). Years ago I began placing the bulk of all bucks into one of two categories: Core or Non Core. The intel that you can receive from a well placed mock scrape can let you know if and when a particular buck will have the potential of likely showing up on your land. Non core bucks will offer very few trail cam pics per season and the majority of the time they will be in the middle of the night because they are traveling a great distance to reach our land. While he is revealing that your land is in his 3 square mile home range, he is also telling you that he most likely will not show up during shooting hours, until the Peak or Post phases of the rut. Patience is critical for a non-core buck! On the other hand a mature buck that is creating trail cam pics on your mock scrape during or near shooting hours early and often during the season, is a core buck that you should attempt to take advantage of ASAP. A mock scrape will let you not only what category of buck you are after, but when you should immediately head to a stand and when you should exercise a great deal of patience.

annual rut predictions

*Is he a Core or Non Core Buck? A highly defined buck movement observed by a quality mock scrape trail cam setup can not only ID him for you, but let you know when, where and why to head in for the hunt!

Conclusion

The great aspect of mock scrape activity is that next to a high quality afternoon food source, a mock scrape can feature the 2nd most dependable daily level of activity; at some times throughout the entire day! Although a mock scrape won't attract more deer to your land, it can help to alter and to define mature buck movement from 20-30 yards or more from where he otherwise, may have chosen to travel. Would you like to predict your next great mature buck harvest? Whether you are hunting during the early season, the annual rut or during the late season, a mock scrape and trail cam setup combo can deliver the level of quality intel that you need, to make informed hunting and habitat predictions.

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