One of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance a bowstand is by adding a mock scrape! Mock scrapes create an excellent opportunity and stopping point for a shot opportunity on mature bucks. Mock scrapes can be started any time of year, as they are social gathering sites for whitetails year round. Last week, while creating a network of travel corridors and complimentary stand locations we took advantage of overhanging vines to jumpstart some great mock scrapes within range of our bowstands.
No Scent; Natural Mock Scrapes
Despite the vast array of scents, drippers, and treecoys on the market, we have had excellent success with our mock scrapes by keeping things natural. We have enhanced several bowstand locations with heavily trafficked mock scrapes. The ingredients are simple; we typically use a 1” diameter vine as a licking branch and secure it to an overhanging limb so that is dangles 3 feet from the ground. I then use a rake to open a 3-foot patch of fresh dirt and top it off by emptying my bladder. Curious whitetails will find and investigate the new mock scrape almost immediately! Their scent will quickly take over and become a frequently visited attraction to passing deer.
Strengthening a Line of Movement with Mock Scrapes
Mock scrapes are an extremely valuable tool for encouraging and strengthening lines of movement near bowstands. Travel corridors with scrapes quickly become the preferred route between bedding and food. Cruising bucks also frequent corridors with mock scrapes! By pairing a bowstand with an attractive travel corridor that utilizes mock scrapes, you can greatly increase your odds of encountering mature bucks. To learn more on creating successful travel corridors, check out, "Chainsaw Bowhunting Setups For Mature Bucks."
Putting On the Breaks for Mature Bucks
Not only can mock scrapes bring more bucks near your bowstand, they can also create enhanced shot opportunities. Mock scrapes offer a stopping point for bucks, where you want them to stop. Defining these buck micro movements with a mock scrape can mean the difference between helplessly watching a buck cruise past, or having him stop and pose for a shot. It’s critical to consider exactly where you make your mock scrape so that you can take advantage of it! Rather than placing it directly under your stand, try creating a mock scrape at least 20 yards from your bowstand. This will reduce the risk of spooking deer while still creating an easy shot opportunity. Make sure that you have a clear shooting lane to the scrape from your bowstand so that you can get the shot off while the deer is preoccupied with checking the scrape.
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Mock Scrapes for Bowstand Trail Camera Placement
Mock scrapes near your bowstand are also useful as a means to scout what bucks have visited the area. By strategically placing a trail camera to monitor the scrape, you can check it every time you hunt the location and know with certainty whether your target bucks have been using the trails past your bowstand. It’s important to consider where you hang the trail camera to ensure that it doesn’t influence how deer use the area. Your access to the camera should not cross any lines of deer movement, or your scent could deter mature bucks from checking the scrape. By using a No-Glow blackout camera, and concealing it from a deer’s line of sight, you can gather extremely useful intel on the potential of your bowstand before each sit. For more information on setting trail camera locations that don’t spook deer, read, "Hanging Trail Cameras To Not Spook Deer."
These bowstand enhancers are extremely effective, and extremely easy to implement. When it comes to mock scrapes, there is no excuse not to utilize them. The 4 mock scrapes we created last year quickly became our favorite trail camera locations, because mature bucks checked them regularly. It’s obvious that they can define and strengthen deer movement. By placing a mock scrape within shooting range of your bowstand locations, you can create excellent opportunities to draw in and stop a mature buck for an easy shot.
By Dylan Lenz