How to Make a Mock Scrape

How to Make a Mock Scrape

In today's post we are going to address a question that we are asked on a regular basis by our readers. How to make a mock scrape?

We will also address some of the reasons that you should make a mock scrape, as well as what makes successful mock scrapes.

We will also set up a trail cam on our mock scrape so that we can document the use of the scrape and gather information that will allow us to formulate a plan to hunt the mock scrape.

If you have hunted deer for any length of time, you have surely seen natural scrapes and rubs created by whitetail bucks in your area.

What is a Mock Scrape?

A mock scrape is fake scrape that is made by a human being in order to fool a whitetail deer into thinking that it was made by a real buck.

Scrapes are pawed areas on the ground made by whitetail bucks to establish territory and for mating purposes. Bucks will sometimes make multiple scrapes along a deer trail, which is referred to as a scrape line.

Not all scrapes are created equally. As you get to know your hunting area, you will find some scrapes that are used year after year. We refer to these as main scrapes.

You will find real scrapes or even a scrape line on field edges, food plot, logging trails and intersections of deer trails.

Deer will urinate in the scrape and also leave deer scent on the branches above, leaving a calling card to let the other deer in the area know that they were there.

Some big bucks will become irritated when other bucks leave scent in their scrape and they will come back repeatedly to freshen their own scent.

We can use this habit to our advantage when planning a hunting scenario to harvest these bucks. We can attract them to trail camera sites and also put them in position for an easy shot from our tree stand location or ground blind.

In the video below, we will show you step by step how to make a make a mock scrape.

How to Make a Mock Scrape Video

3 Essential Elements for Making a Mock Scrape

Whenever we are talking about how to make a mock scrape, we must include a segment on the necessary elements that need to be present in order to make a scrape location that will attract the attention of the mature bucks in the area.

  1. A Licking Branch.
  2. A well used deer trail nearby. 
  3. Use of proper scents.

1. Licking Branch

What is a licking branch?

A licking branch is an overhanging branch that is around 5 feet off the ground, around chest high, and located in an area that is frequented by deer. 

It is the most important part of a successful mock scrape location.

It serves as a kind of social hub for the whitetail deer. Every deer that passes the branch will lick and nuzzle the branch to deposit scent from their preorbital glands on the branch and to let others in the herd know that they were there.

Both bucks and does will use the licking branch and as the whitetail mating season, known as the rut approaches, the bucks in the area will make scrapes under the branch by pawing the ground to remove leave and other debris, exposing the bare dirt, then secreting urine down over their tarsal glands and into the scrape.

While a licking branch is an essential element to make mock scrapes, don't worry if you can't find a branch on a suitable tree in a given area where you want to make the scrape site.

You can simply cut a branch and tie it into a tree at the proper height where you want to make the scrape. Similar to the way I tied a branch in for the scrape dripper in the video above.

2. A Well Used Trail Nearby

This should really go without saying, but you must have a well used trail nearby in order to have a perfect spot for a mock scrape location.

A well used trail between bedding areas and a food source will ensure that there will be deer movement. Couple that with an overhanging branch and you can determine where a buck makes a scrape.

We like to make our scrapes near in high traffic areas near a deer trail, but you will also see real scrapes around the edge of a food plot or field edge.

You should also use a solid deer stand placement strategy for your stand location when planning and making mock scrapes.

You must take wind direction into account for your stand location as most mature bucks will scent check a scrape from downwind.

3. Proper Use of Scents

Using scents properly is a key element to successful mock scrapes.

Scrapes are made primarily by bucks and the bucks will urinate down their rear legs, over their tarsal glands and into the scrape. They will also defecate in a scrape to mark their territory.

Does will primarily use the licking branch and urinate in the scrape when they come into heat.

You can sign up for our rut calendar and we will also send you a peak breeding chart that will show you exactly when the does come into heat in your area.

You want to use buck urine and tarsal gland scents in your fake scrapes until the does begin to come into heat.

You can then switch to doe in heat urine in combination with the buck urine in the same mock scrape to make it more realistic.

This would be a good time to address a common misconception with the use of scents.

We have heard many hunters claim that they don't like to use doe in heat scent because it spooks does.

This could not be further from the truth. We use doe urine all the time and it will actually attract the does.

In the video below, you will see a doe walk downwind of an actual scrape that we had just scented with doe in heat urine an hour before.

Check out her reaction!

While we are talking about scents, it would be a good time to talk about the importance of scent control.

Learning how to make mock scrapes is really useless if you are going to leave your human scent all over the area.

You should wear rubber boots when hunting and working around scrapes to reduce the amount of human scent left behind.

While hunting, we have had some success using ozone generators and Nose Jammer to fool the whitetail's nose, but what we are finding is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to fool the nose of a mature buck.

Check out our article on scent control tips to learn all the ways to minimize the scent you leave behind.

When to Make a Mock Scrape?

Now that we have learned about the right location for our scrape, let's take a look at when we should make the scrape.

When is the best time to make mock scrapes?

We like to make mock scrapes around the same time that the bucks in our area are beginning to make real deer scrapes, which is during pre rut.

That is early to mid October in the areas that we hunt and it will vary depending on the timing of the rut in your area.

We usually see the first scrapes around food plots or on a field edge during the pre rut period.

However, I'd like to share a trick that you can use to encourage the deer to make scrapes where you want them.

You can create a licking branch along well used trails that all of the deer will use and then the bucks will use the licking branch to make a deer scrape at the right time.

It requires a little forethought, but it can be an extremely effective tactic for getting a nice buck where you want him.

These licking branches should be made in the late summer in order to take advantage of deer movement and are a great way to make the deer, both bucks and does, to use the licking branch.

You can tie a branch into a tree at the right height(5-6 feet), or you can use an existing branch that is too high and bend it down to the right height and the tie it off to the trunk of the tree with fishing line.

We have also strung fishing line between two trees and hung a licking branch straight down off of the fishing line.

Final Step in How to Make a mock Scrape - Set up a Trail Cam

Now that we have completed our mock scrape and scented it with buck urine to attract deer, it is time to put a trail cam on the scrape and document the scrape activity and start taking inventory of the trophy bucks that are using it.

This is my favorite part!

I can't wait to check my cams and see what's been going on at my mock scrapes.

Mock scrapes can be made just for trail camera purposes or they can be part of an overall hunting strategy.

Tips For Trail Cameras

This would be a good time to share a few trail cam tips for using with our mock scrapes.

There is nothing worse than learning how to make a fake scrape, taking the time and attention to detail to make the scrape and then finding you have no trail cam pics.

1. Test your trail camera before putting it out so that you are sure it is working.

2. Always use fresh batteries each season.

3. Set up your trail cam between thigh and waist high.

4. Set up your trail cam 20-40 feet from your mock scrapes.

5. Trail cameras should be pointed to the north if possible, otherwise you will get sun glare at some point during the day.

Mock Scrape Trail Cam Pics

If you watched the video above, you saw us go step by step making an actual mock scrape and then setting up a trail cam on the mock scrape.

Below will share the mock scrape trail cam pics and document all the deer activity that we get at that scrape!

Buck standing under a licking branch

Here is the first buck to show up at our mock scrape!

This is a buck we call Casper, because he is like a ghost all year long until the rut.

We thought it would take more time for a mature buck to show up, but he visited our scrape around 36 hours after we made it, leaving us to believe that he is living nearby.

Here are a few more trail cam pics of Casper working our scrape.

Buck Using a Mock Scrape

Casper Using a Mock Scrape

Buck using licking branch over a mock scrape

Casper using the licking branch over the mock scrape

Buck smelling the linking branch

If you look closely, you can see the Scrape dripper in this pic.

does visiting a scrape

Does visiting the mock scrape.

This is why we make make mock scrapes! We finally have a mature buck visiting our scrape during daytime hours and in the hunting season!

Buck Visiting Mock Scrape during daylight hours
Buck Working the Licking Branch with his antlers


A mature buck working the licking branch. The branch is about chest high and you can clearly see the scrape dripper above him.

Buck thrashing the tree branches with his antlers


Look at the time in the lower right corner. This mock scrape has done its job and brought this buck in during the legal light. That is why we use a scrape dripper!

How to Make a Mock Scrape Conclusion

We hope that you have learned how to make a mock scrape and enjoyed the tips and pics!

Making mock scrapes and hunting over them can be very exciting and rewarding if done with a solid hunting strategy.

So what are you waiting For?

Watch the video above and go out and make your own mock scrape today!

You'll be glad you did!

Please share your tips and experiences on how to make mock scrapes in the comments below!

About the author

John VanDerLaan

Hi folks! I'm John VanDerLaan and I have a deep passion for the outdoors, and deer hunting in particular. I am what you call a year round deer hunter. I am in the whitetail woods year round preparing for the next years season and I love to share the knowledge that I've gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail! In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am an affiliate for products that I recommend. I will make a commission if you buy through my link. You will not pay more when buying through my link. In fact, oftentimes I have negotiated a lower price (or bonuses) for my readers than you will find anywhere else online. Also, when you buy through my link, it allows me to continue to provide you with tons of FREE valuable information through this website!

3comments
Anthony - April 2, 2021

Really great article on mock scrapes. This is a tactic I love to use while hunting. It’s amazing to watch deer react to these scrapes!! Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Jon Moss - December 31, 2016

I set them up in August and drink a ton of water that day. I just rake them out and get rid of all that water right there in the scrape.

Reply
    John VanDerLaan - December 31, 2016

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the comment!

    You find that they respond to human urine or do they not start using the scrapes until September or October after the urine has dissipated?

    Thanks again Jon,

    John

    Reply
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