Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Button Hook and Scrape Hunting

This blog is a sequel to my post of 8 –19–2012 entitled Button Hookin’ Bucks. (Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails)

Regardless of which strategy, technique, and the time of the year you hunt wind direction is always a hunters major concern. When it comes to hunting trophy deer it’s not how we use the wind that is important, but rather, how the buck uses the wind.

Most hunters place their stands downwind of where they expect to intercept a big buck. They do this with little regard to how the deer actually use the wind as a defense mechanism.

Big bucks approach every destination spot by traveling in a button hook or J–hook pattern. A big buck will circle down wind and use his nose to detect danger before he approaches a food plot, a bedding area, a ground scrape, or when coming to grunt calls and antler rattling. Big bucks employee this button hook pattern so regularly it must be considered an instinctual or innate behavior. Regardless of where you hunt I can guarantee you every buck over 1-1/2 years old is continuously using the button hook pattern of travel.

We discussed how a big buck uses the button hook pattern when selecting a bedding site. Today we will be discussing how the big buck uses the button hook to scent check ground scrapes.

First of all, not all ground scrapes are equal. We must first determine whether the scrape is a primary scrape or a casual scrape. Remember, primary scrapes are those that are used by several bucks.

Next, we must determine whether the buck is refreshing the primary scrape at night or during the day. Unfortunately, most scrapes noticed by hunters are the ones which are freshened at night. These scrapes are usually found close to or on the edge of a known food source. Generally speaking, if the prevailing wind in your area does not allow the buck enough cover to scent check the scrape downwind at a distance of 75 to 125 yards, it is a nocturnal scrape and of little use to the hunter.

Since the deer are most active at night, this eliminates roughly 90% of the scrapes you will find. We are looking for a scrape in heavy cover which allows the buck enough security to check it throughout the day. When you find such a scrape, be rest assured that the buck will attempt to check it some time during the day.

The problem most hunters have is they either select the wrong scrape or set their stand too close to the right scrape. A big buck will always circle downwind of the scrape before he attempts to freshen it. We want to place our stand as close to the buck’s scent checking trail as possible and NOT right on top the scrape. Usually this trail will be between 75 and 125 yards downwind of the scrape.

Often you will find a small rub or a token scrape ( one that is little more than a couple of hoof pulls in the sod} to indicate where this trail is. Note: this trail is very faint and hardly noticeable.

I like to place my stand slightly downwind of that trail making sure I have a path to approach the stand without fouling the entire area with my own scent.

All that’s left is to have patience and the faith that the buck will come.

For more detailed information on proper scrape hunting: Grab It Now

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

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