Spring is a great time to walk your property to see how deer are using it. Trails are well defined and easy to walk. This is the only time of year that I’ll walk the edges of bedding areas to see what kind of sign the deer are leaving. Its also a great time to make buck beds and make other improvements to bedding areas. Making buck beds by placing logs up against a tree then racking a level area free of any debris. You’re your good with a chain saw you can Hing cut trees that give the bed cover and make a spot for the deer to enter and leave the bed. Some people say never go into your bedding areas, my thought is if you don’t go in you’ll never know if your hard work is paying off (note: this is the only time of the year I will enter a bedding area). Finding rub lines heading in and out of a bedding area can help you determine your stand location.
For a great video on making buck beds check out My friends at Tibbits Ultimate habitat Creations video: https://www.facebook.com/TibbitsArchery/videos/908250626276968
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Are all scent ropes created equally? There are several types of ropes and even some plastic branch/vine looking things being sold to apply scents and lures to that you should be skeptical of. The scent ropes Scrape Line Hunters sell are made from hemp that is oil free, non-toxic and 100% natural (free of herbicides and pesticides). Hemp rope is strong, durable, and long lasting. Our suppliers work with small farms to insure the rope is free from oils and chemicals. This is very important when using as a scent rope because it needs to be free of foreign smells. Hemp rope will absorb scents and lures better that most other ropes. Just remember when hanging and applying scent/lure to the rope that you wear rubber or vinyl disposable glove. This will help from leaving human scent on the rope.
Now let’s talk about ropes that are on the market. Manila, Nylon, Sisal are petroleum-based oil that is used when breading the rope or the plastic branches/ vines. These Ropes/products have the smell of petroleum or something that is not natural, so mature bucks will tend to shy away from these very foreign smelling. They also don’t hold liquid scents/lures very well because oil repels most liquids. Look at it this way, we as hunters try to stay as scent free as we can. We all try our best to insure our hunting clothing stay scent-free so we store them in scent free containers and buy the products that eliminate our foreign scent. Oil smell is very hard to get rid of so therefore you shouldn’t use ropes made with oil. If scent/ lure companies sell scent rope that are not natural and 100 % oil free you should contemplate if these products even very well.
Now let’s talk about ropes that are on the market. Manila, Nylon, Sisal are petroleum-based oil that is used when braiding the rope or the plastic branches/ vines. These Ropes/products have the smell of petroleum or something that is not natural, so mature bucks will tend to shy away from these very foreign smelling. They also don’t hold liquid scents/lures very well because oil repels most liquids. Look at it this way, we as hunters try to stay as scent free as we can. We all try our best to insure our hunting clothing stay scent-free so we store them in scent free containers and buy the products that eliminate our foreign scent. Oil smell is very hard to get rid of so therefore you shouldn’t use ropes made with oil. If scent/ lure companies sell scent rope that are not natural and 100 % oil free you should contemplate if these products even very well.
Scrape Line Hunters offer 20 inch 100% oil free Hemp Rope. Visit our store page for more information
This is a very interesting topic of dissuasion I hear, seen it in person and on social media. Here are my thoughts on this topic. Food plots are a quarter of the overall picture. If your looking at holding deer on your property or making them feel conferrable you need to look at your whole management plan. Deer need three things food, water and cover. Let break them down one by one.
First let’s talk about food and food sources. Native browse are very important to deer as they spend most of their lives eating browse throughout the woods. Improving your timber stand should be part of your management program. Opening up the canopy by removing less desirable trees will help new growth that will improve your native browse. There are many qualified timber consultancies that can help your put together a timber plan. Contact your local DNR to see if they have anyone that would be able to help with your timber plan. Now let’s talk about food plots and how they are used as a supplemental food source. Most people think of food plots as a summer and fall food source when they should have them setup for spring to spring. Spring/Summer crops could consist of clovers, chicory and alfalfa with clovers growing fast in spring with chicory and alfalfa offering summer heat tolerant crops. Fall/winter crops can be brassicas and bulbs with bulbs being the winter emergence forage if native browse fall short. Multi graze brassicas are a great chose are they can take deer grazing and continue to grow.
Water is one thing I see missed by most land owners and it should be part of everyone’s management plan. If you don’t have natural water on your property then make waterholes or even add a stock tank. Deer need water and if made available on your property it can be an attractant. Placing water by your food plots or just outside of your bedding areas are key stops. We have a waterhole video on your website that shows how to add them to your food plots.
Cover is something that serves several purposes, it can be used as a fawning area, general bedding area or as a safe zone for deer that are pressured by predators our humans. Native Warm Season Grasses work great for cover and will last for years with little to no maintenance. Horny Buck Seed Company has Safe Zone for creating bedding and safe areas for deer. Pine trees can be planted to create cover along with NWSG. CRP fields work great for cover and if your eligible for government programs they can even pay you money. Hinge cutting can also provide cover for bedding areas if done right. But if done wrong or located in the wrong area they can turn into a disaster so I would recommend consulting a land manager before you do any hinge cutting.
To sum this up look beyond just planting food plot and come up with a total land management plan so you can create the best whitetail property possible.
Rub Poles are something you should add to your management and hunting improvements this season. Rub poles are a great tool to let bucks communicate to each other by leaving their scent on the pole and branches that you add or by hanging a scent rope off of the branch. You can start rub poles in the spring and run them through post rut.
I like placing rub poles 20 yards in front of a stand in a kill plot. What this does is slow that buck down by giving him something to do as he walks by your stand. If he stops and rubs on the pole or rubs his head glands on the attached branches this keep that buck in front of you longer. By having the buck in front of you longer it offers you a better chance of getting a shot off. I’ll also put a mock scrape under the branch you’ve attached to the pole. I’ll even attach a scent rope to the oak branch.
Here’s how we set the rub pole up. Cedar seems to work the best so find a cedar pole that is 4 to 6 inches around. If you have cedar trees on your property cut a smaller one to use for your rub pole. You want to cut all the limbs off if you cutting your own. You want the post 8 feet tall and put it into the ground two feet. Next drill a two-inch hole through the pole about 3 inches from the top. This hole will allow you to put an oak branch through the pole. After putting your branch through the pole place a screw through both the pole and branch to secure it. You can also hang a scent rope off the branch (see the article below on scent rope).
Now for the last and most important part, using deer lures. Use high quality buck lure in key spots on the rub pole to lure in that mature buck (see below).
1) On the oak branches that are attached to the rub pole use pre-orbital gland lure on some of the leaves at the end of the branch. Next put some on the cedar pole around wist high (3 to 4 drops).
2) I add a hemp scent rope toward the end of the branch and add per-orbital gland lure to it (3 to 4 drops)
3) Make a mock scrape under the scent rope and then place interdigital gland lure or mock scrape lure on the mock scrape.
As we advance in our quest to hold mature deer on our property or to even just harvest a nature whitetail buck we need to expand our thinking. What I mean is start to think outside the box on what you’re doing to hold these bucks on the land you’re hunting. I call this slowing the buck down after he gets off his bed.
One of the first things I do is make a waterhole just outside of a bedding area or in the transition area leading to food. This waterhole will be a great place to hang a stand.
Using scent ropes on field edges or scrape lines are also great ways to slow your big buck down. Use a Hemp that is 20 inches and put a zip tie on one end of the rope about 2 inches from the bottom. Put a tie together drawing it down to about ½ inch then put another tie through that tie and draw it tight 1 inch down from the top of the rope. You can use the top ring you created to put another wire through it to tie it to a low hanging branch at about waist height. Then place deer scent on the bottom of the rope (3 to 4 drops is all you need to start).
Deer use these to communicate with each other and to establish who the dominant bucks are. They use licking branches in the same way.
Communication poles are also great to have in a food plot or on a scrape line. Cedar poles work great, digging them into the ground and leaving them about 6 feet out of the ground works perfectly. You can drill a hole through the pole around 4 to 5 feet from the ground and cut a tree branch that you can push through the hole you drilled into the pole. Now you can add a scent rope to the branch and now you have a place they can rub on and lick on. This can really slow down a buck as he will spend a minute or more laying down this scent.
20 inch oil free Hemp Scent Rope