New Deadly Tactic… “Cluster Scrapes and Scent Confusion”
By Fred Abbas
Out of all of our deer hunting tactics nothing has performed so consistently as mock scrapes, they have proven to be our single most productive tactic year in and year out. Consider this, mock scrapes are absolutely the only means a hunter has in which to communicate directly with a buck. How else can you personally ask a buck a question, and get an answer? Scrapes and licking branches are simply a form of communication between deer and bucks are capable of using them the year round, and they do. Once a mock scrape has been opened and expanded every single visiting buck will tell you exactly which trail he is using to get to the scrapes, he will tell you how big he is by the size of the tracks he leaves behind, and he will also tell you how heavy he is by how deep he sinks into the earth, he will even tell you exactly where his secret bedding area is located.Who better to ask a question than to one posed directly to a buck himself, and get an unbiased truthful answer, and you will get an answer. All of our mock scrapes on each of our farms start out small, about 10” around and we apply as many as 10 on each farm starting as early as a month before the season opens, even sooner on new leases. By starting our scrapes so early it offers us the opportunity to learn many things about a buck, and at the same time we are actually conditioning him into a habit that may cost him later on. Since there are very few useful deer attractants to choose from during this early time frame we had to actually invent our own knowing that deer urine’s are totally meaningless in late summer and early fall. Recently we changed our original formulation when we discovered one that seemed to be more appealing to deer, and yes, I will divulge this new formulation at my seminars as well. Once you begin a scrape and the deer expand it you should continue applying scent (usually about once per week )until either the hunt ends or the season ends. That may require gallons of scent and is one of the main reasons why we had to invent our own. The different ingredients for this formulation can be purchased at Walt Marts for about $10.00 and you will be able to make many gallons of scent at home. Within one week you will know if a particular scrape is worthy of your time. Notice how a buck can communicate with you, if a scrape receives no activity the buck has spoken, he said (through my interpretation), I don’t like the area you chose and I won’t be back. If the scrape expands the buck is talking to you again and telling you that he likes this spot and WILL return. Eventually every single scrape that continues to expand will become a full blown scrape where the messages between deer begin to flow via urine’s, gland secretions, and saliva onto the licking branches and into the scrapes, especially during the pre- rut/rut time frame. Once the process of local buck participation escalates bucks from the surrounding farms will be drawn to these scrapes to add their opinions as well.. A very busy and exciting time for all, bucks and hunters alike.. Despite the bucks answering all of our questions over time they are unable to tell us about their true antler size. Now is the time to find out who is who by setting out our trail cameras before we place our stands. Up to this point the only thing that we really had no control over was when a buck would visit a scrape, if he’s coming at night, which is usually the case, it does a hunter very little good. Witness the many trail camera pictures posted by hunters, the vast majority are taken at night. If ever there was a problem needing a solution, it was this one, and we intended to do something about it. We needed to find a way to neutralize and then exploit this type of situation, it was a big problem for all deer hunters who use deer attractant scents. As inventors we firmly believe that there is a solution to every problem. In our search seeking a solution the first thing we looked into was a deer’s life cycle, which revolves around food, water, safety, and reproduction for answers, and found nothing there that could offer us a solution for that particular problem. We then looked into every hunting tactic that we had used to exploit one weakness or another of a buck’s that worked for us over the years. Finally one old tactic virtually jumped right out at us, CURIOSITY, we knew immediately that we were on to something that may draw a nocturnal buck into a scrape during day light. In the past we had used curiosity successfully many times in other situations, and we even considered it to be a buck’s weakness that was exploitable. We knew that we needed to invent something extraordinary, and after much trial and error we did, when we developed and patented the world’s strongest deer attractant scents, “She Heat” and “She-Duction” along with them being so powerful that they are able to last several days on site through rain or snow without the hunter having to return to refreshen the scrape. The stronger the scent, the stronger the attraction. We even removed the often fatal hunter self-contamination factor by removing the need to handle cotton balls and other scent hanging devices. The theory behind the theory was that by creating such powerful scents a nocturnal buck, or any buck for that matter, would more than likely keep visiting the scrape which in turn could lead him into making a mistake by lingering too long on site and getting caught in day light. Truthfully speaking, no matter how skillful the hunter, he will never shoot a trophy size buck unless the buck himself makes a mistake. It seemed like a sound idea and it did have strong merit, but we felt that the usual scent application on a single scrape probably wouldn’t be enough to arouse a nocturnal buck’s sense of curiosity high enough to do what we wanted him to do. We needed to find a way to draw a much higher level of curiosity out of a buck and basically confuse him enough as to keep him in the area longer. The idea of cluster scrapes was born, and now we just needed to find the right buck to test it on. As the bow season progressed we were seeing a lot of different bucks, some really nice bucks too, all coming into the scrape areas. Just before the rut I rotated on to one of our newer leases in Jackson County. We knew that there were a couple of dandy bucks on this farm, we even captured a few night pictures of them working our scrapes. The first scrape I visited astounded me by the buck’s sheer aggressive nature, he delivered a strong message to all by destroying big branches on a bush and a tree, pawing dirt everywhere, followed by him working my scrape and then him making a new scrape mere feet away from my scrape, a rather strong territorial message. We had pulled our cameras prior to this time but knew that this buck had to be a big one by the damaging signs that he left behind. His strong message plainly stated that he was the dominant boss buck around here and that he would hang around for any challengers, and I totally believed him. Since the rut was right around the corner my fear was that he would be drawn out of the area by some hot doe. Now would be the time to try our “cluster scrapes” theory in an attempt to force this nocturnal buck to make the mistake I needed. My answer to him came in the form of multiple mock scrapes surrounding his scrape. I used DIFFERENT powerful scents in each of the scrapes to confuse him and to heighten his sense of curiosity much beyond normal in an effort to stall his return to his bedding area until after daylight. His challenge had been answered, now it was his move. Most hunters make a critical mistake by using a single scent throughout the season not realizing that it is purely curiosity that draws a buck in the majority of cases and one scent rarely keeps his interest for long. I then back tracked his tracks showing the trail that the buck used to get to the scrape and the same trail he used to return. I set my stand at an interception point down the trail about 75 yards away from the scrapes. The very next morning just before day break I could see a huge form working the scrapes and grunting softly, he spent considerable time at each scrape, going from one scrape to the other, never once did he lift his head to look around. It was most gratifying to witness the intensity of his concentration while he attempted to decipher the messages in each scrape, especially since he had just put his seal of approval on an untested new tactic. This buck was doing exactly what I had hoped he would do… he was following a script that I had written. Unwittingly he had allowed daylight to creep in on him. He had a big wide and high rack, but what really grabbed my attention was his perfectly matching brow tines, they must have been at least a foot long. I was having trouble controlling my breathing and my heart wasn’t doing much better. In an effort to gain control I looked away from the buck, when I looked back I was astounded to discover that he was in the center of my shooting lane sniffing the scent (She Heat) that I had put there to stop him exactly where I wanted him to stop. I couldn’t believe what had just happened, then when reality set in my hunting instinct took over. The buck was now standing broadside to me, his attention totally riveted on the scent, I slowly drew my Mathews bow aiming right behind the shoulder and released. I clearly saw the arrow slice through the big buck with a double lung shot. Soon after, the hunt turned into a family affair once word got out via radio. Both granddaughters, Alyssa and Kaitlyn took up the blood trail while my son Greg and I and my brother Allie climbed to higher ground to scan for the buck with binoculars. We spotted the downed buck about 75 yards in front of the girls who were painstakingly following the specks of blood, one drop at a time. Their concentration was so amazing that neither noticed that the buck was directly in front of Kaitlyn. We could see she was about to trip over the buck if she didn’t look up. We had to laugh when a few seconds later Kaitlyn finally discovered the buck was mere inches in front of her, she screamed so loud we imagined every buck in the country ran for the border…. She had found my buck. We followed the jubilant girls to the fallen buck. It was a great ending to a thrilling hunt of a majestic animal that would leave our family with a lifetime of cherished memories, what more could one ask for.
Fred and Greg turned a love of hunting into a successful business with their inventive minds forming A-Way Hunting Products and A-Way Outdoors television. In an effort to give something back to the hunting community they have created a new business, “Invention Consulting” where they are able to help struggling inventors reach their dreams without falling into the usual money pitfalls along with avoiding the high costs of doing business with mold makers and manufacturers in a very competitive industry. This highly knowledgeable duo will thoroughly walk you through the whole process from A to Z.
If you’re a new or a diehard deer hunter looking for fresh ideas and new tactics, you don’t want to miss Fred’s highly informative seminar.
A-Way Hunting Products