About this time of year the trees on your property are probably getting pretty torn up with deer scrapes and rubs. Between the shredded bark on tree trunks and broken low-hanging limbs, it’s a miracle they survive the whitetail rut. And what’s with the barren ground around these rubs? But the question is often asked, why are whitetails destroying our trees?
The answer is fairly straight forward from a metaphorical standpoint. When the days get short and the air gets cold, Mother Nature devolves every mature whitetail buck into a teenager with uncontrollable raging hormones. And like teenage boys, they have a lot of pent up angst and …urge.
But to look at it from a biological standpoint, the rubs that shred the tree bark and the scrapes clearing the forest floor like crop circles, are actually useful tools in keeping the species moving forward.
Whether on the trunk of the tree or a low-hanging branch, during the rut (and pre-rut) bucks are looking for a place to mark their territory and scare off would-be suitors. The glands on the head and face of a buck–specifically the nasal, preorbital and forehead glands–leave a unique scent to make that buck’s presence known.
Of course there are other bucks in the area doing the same, so often times multiple bucks are laying scent one on top of another. So for added measure, bucks will often leave the tell-tale scrape. This 3-4 foot area, cleared of most leaves and debris, falls directly below a branch that is attracting a lot of attention. Hence the need to clear the area by pawing at the ground, and then peeing in the cleared dirt. If you don’t think this would get the attention of another buck, try doing this at your next dinner party!
Rubs, and especially scrapes are a great indicator on where the bucks are travelling, and therefore, where you should be hunting. Are you having success hunting scrapes and rubs? We’d love to hear about it. Go to our facebook page for “The Lexington Hunt Club” and leaving a note in the “comments” section. You can also follow us on Instagram @lexingtonhuntclub.