We have all seen them above scrapes while were out hunting, but what are a licking branch and a scrape and How do you make your own mock licking branch?
A scrape and licking branch is a place where the bucks go to mark their territory and to find out the “pecking order” of other bucks in the area. It also can be used as a “social media” outlet for deer where a buck leaves his scent for other bucks to know that another deer is in the area basically a “Buck Business Card”. He’s letting all the other bucks in the area what he’s about and where he stands in the dominance order. Not a
a whole lot of people know this, but deer use scrapes all year long for communication among their herds but becomes more active as the rut progresses. I’d like to first address the types of communication that deer use. Deer communication ranges from vocal all the way to visual. Vocal as in different voicing a deer makes like a grunt, bleats, and snort wheezes.
Visual is another great way they communicate. If you watch deer and pay attention to their body language you can tell if a deer is calm, on the edge and if it knows someone or something is in that particular area. When you have other deer in the area where the deer knows something isn’t right, it will cause the other deer to be on high alert as well. There is one other way they communicate and it’s the most used and crucial communication between the whitetail community and its scent. The scent is the main way of communication between the whitetail community and it plays key roles in everything from social groupings among herds, establishing dominance at scrapes, and seeking does that are rutting at that particular time.
A lot of amazing bucks have been taken off of mock scrapes and licking branches and I’m going to tell you how to create a mock scrape and licking branch scenario for a successful season.
Finding the Right Scenario
I hear this from hunters and people interested in creating a mock scrape is “Where to set up your mock scrape?” This is one of the most essential parts of creating a mock scrape and licking branch. You want the most realistic setting for the most results and you want to make that buck, believe that it is a true scrape where he can go and add his “business card” to the mix. Some great areas that myself and the other guys
from Trails-N-Tails Outdoors found by scouting and trial and error is set up a mock scrape on the edge of a field, near a well-used deer trail or bedding area. This proves the most realistic setting for deer in that area and will cause bucks and sometimes even does to use that scrape. If you have a trail camera this is one of the best times to use it after your scrape has been completed. Find a good place for your camera that has the best view and somewhere out of direct sunlight.
Licking Branch and Mock Scrape – How-To
Now that you have found the area for your scrape now it’s time to create a scrape. Search for an area where a licking branch will be “used” as well that or you can create your own. For best results, the licking branch must be about 5 feet off the ground. If it’s a little too high bend it down to where it can be reached. If there is no branch in a particular spot, attach your own branch of a tree. It must be sturdy, alive and the end of the branch should be about as big as your pinky finger. Some other product you will need that I’ve found successful is a Pre Orbital Gland Lure. Sometimes that type of oil-based lure might be difficult to find just on regular store shelves. Trapping shops that carry lures should have the Pre Orbital Gland Lure for you to purchase. Another essential scent we use is Buck Urine.
Another tip, especially around the rut is to take a stick and scratch leaves away from the ground at your scrape.
Using rubber gloves, damage the tip of the branch. The breaks in the branch imitate the way deer work licking branches and it creates more surface area for the gland lure to be applied. Once your scrape is all set leave the area undisturbed as possible on your way out making sure not to cross any deer trails. Refresh the lure only once a week or 10 days since the pre-orbital gland lure is an oil-based lure.
Another tip, especially around the rut is to take a stick and scratch leaves away from the ground at your scrape. It adds a visual for deer and makes it look more realistic. If all is done properly bucks will use your scrape and the licking branch to find out whose the new buck in the area.