They say “April Showers Bring May Flowers”, and how coincidental it is that I am writing you my first article on what we do today can effect our outcome tomorrow. I would like to think that much of my success in hunting, trapping or fishing could directly be contributed to how well I’ve planned before hand. Fact is many successful business people will tell you that any good business begins with a plan …hunting is no different.
In the proceeding months I’ll do my best to explain ways that all you sportsmen and women can put the odds in your favor – some like to call it stacking the deck. By careful planning and doing things well in advance of the season we can increase our chances of harvesting our intended quarry, and maximize our time a field.
In the coming months of Kishel’s Pro tips you’ll often here me talk about trapping & hunting interchangeably, this is meant to help you the sportsmen with your success a field. The truth of the matter is that many of the systems and techniques I’ve used trapping I also use hunting, and they work!
While April is often a month used by many of us for scouting out Mr. Long beard, it’s also a month we should begin to think of preparing for next deer season. Say What! Yea…Yea… Deer season. Often times as I am scouting birds I am also looking for sheds, travel ways, and areas to start placing out my mock scrapes. I know some of you will find this concept of “early mock scrapes”, hard to believe, but before you jump to conclusions let me explain.
Trapping animals of all sorts has always been a real fascination of mine. Like anything you do in life long enough, you begin to streamline or find ways to “Do it Better”. There was a time in my life that I relied on the money I received from my fur check. Realizing fast that I preferred steak to beans, meant that I would have to catch a lot of fur and beat my competitors to the punch! The one thing I learned quickly was that in order for me to do it, I had to get the most sets in the ground in the least amount of time in the best locations. Better yet, if I could just get animals coming to my sets before the season – and before I could legally set the traps. PRE-BAITING! That was it! Once I found the exact location for my trap sight I would begin to pre bait, thus Attracting Animals to my sets first. Once the season opened it was just a matter of setting the traps in place. Mock Scrapes have and will always play an important role in the Whitetail Deer’s communication process. Having spent the better part of thirty years developing scents and studying Whitetails behaviors, I can assure you that the following techniques work, for “Communicating with the Whitetail”. Best yet all mock scrapes can be made long before the hunting season begins. Deer don’t stop communicating just because its not hunting season. They are very social, very territorial, and very curious. With proper scent usage, and proper scrape placements, you can have Big Bucks coming to your hunting site long before the season begins. Get the picture! PRE-BAITING!! (Be sure and check with your local game laws.)
Each of the following steps is crucial to effectively communicating with the Whitetail Buck and Does. Remember before starting to take care of your human odor. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and rubber foot wears. Leaving as little of your human scent at the scrape location is a must!
STEP 1 – LOCATION – Finding areas to place your mock scrapes is not as difficult as you might think. Years past, has taught me to place them where you saw Bucks make them from last season. Bucks are creatures of habit and will often make scrapes in the same spots year after year. Remember if you’re going to hunt over it, to strategically place the scrape in a way that your tree stands or ground blind can be near by. Look for areas that create small funnels or neck down points, edges near wood lines, old logging roads, etc. One of the best is near bedding areas, but be very careful as to not spook deer going into it or leaving much human odor behind. Bucks will often visit your mock scrape near bedding areas later in the morning and earlier in the evening.
STEP 2 – SITE PREPARATION – Once you have carefully determined your scrape location, its time to create your masterpiece. You must have an overhanging limb, with a preferred height of 4-5 feet off the ground. This limb should be hanging slightly downward over your scrape, and is a necessary part of the entire picture. Directly under the limb scrape the ground free from debris, I prefer to use a sturdy stick to do it. Scrape it away from the tree in one direction, making it about 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Remember to make your scrapes larger as the rut begins to approach. Your scrape does not need to look perfect however it should have “Eye Appeal”
STEP 3 – SCENTS APPLICATION – Now the moment of truth, the finishing touches! On the limb above your scrape mist 1 to 2 pumps of a quality pre-orbital gland scent, in the scrape below the limb mist 4 to 6 pumps of a quality tarsal gland scent followed by 1 to 2 pumps of a quality interdigital gland scent. Be sure to mist the odors over the entire scrape area, it will add realism. ( DO NOT ADD ANY URINE TO THIS SCRAPE AS OF YET! )
STEP 4 – FOLLOW UP – If you done it right and choose the proper location, results should appear in a couple of days, by the way of tracks within the scrape itself. Once you have a response, you can keep your scrape active by reapplying the gland scents every 7 to 10 days, more often after heavy rains. If you are going to hunt over a particular mock scrape, add a quality Buck Urine (1-2ozs) the day before and WATCH OUT!
Good luck out there turkey hunting and remember to be safe.