For deer hunters, scrapes and bruisers go hand in hand

For city and woodland travels, it helps to be able to read the signs. In some cases, your ability to read territorial markers may also be just as important.

A couple weeks back, I wrote about signs left behind by animals you have shot. These signs enable you or a tracking dog to recover the animal. This week I will be focusing on the signs left behind by bucks. The visual markers left by most animals give you the information needed to hunt them. By paying close attention to these sign posts, hunters can stack the cards in their favor.



Deer leave behind three distinctive visual markers that announce their presence and ownership of territory. These visual markers called rubs, scrapes, and licking branches are also accompanied by scent. In the human world, our eyes play the dominant role in perception. While in the world of the white tail, the sense of smell is king. They use their eyes and noses to interpret the signs left behind by other deer. Humans, on the other hand, are only able to gather half of the information left behind.

Rubs are vertical signposts left by bucks. They are most commonly found on small trees and saplings, but are also found on fence post and occasionally on telephone poles. Bucks make their rubs by using the bony prominences on the bases of their antlers. They gouge and tear away at the sign post in an up-and-down motion. Eventually, a bare spot will be left behind as the bark is removed from the tree. Along with the visual sign left behind, glands on the buck’s forehead also leave behind his personal scent. Rubs may be used by several deer allowing everyone in the neighborhood to know who is present. Besides announcing the presence of bucks in your area, rubs can offer the hunter some help.


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