Ever wonder why or how a whitetail buck works a licking branch and scrape? These trail cam videos give a behind-the-scenes look at both behaviors.
Trail cameras are a useful tool for capturing behaviors often not seen when out in the field.
Take the licking branch. Found above an active scrape, this branch is used to deposit scent from a buck – derived from his forehead and preorbital scent glands, as well his nose and molars.
The purpose of leaving this scent is to advertise his presence to does. Here is a perfect example of the behavior:
A buck may work a licking branch over for a few seconds – or up to a minute.
Once done with the licking branch, the buck will now paw at the earth. This behavior is called a scrape. The purpose of the scrape is to tear up the soil while depositing scent from the interdigital glands.
Here is another example:
The last step in the scrape process is to urinate on the fresh earth, allowing the liquid to wash over the tarsal glands, located on the inside of their legs, while rubbing them against one another.
A buck will visit his scrapes every time he is in the area, both to freshen them up and to deduce if a doe has paid a visit.
Scrapes convey many messages, and are in fact, a resume of sorts for deer. They are a visual sign as well as an olfactory one. They can message to a doe the health of the buck, his strength, as well as status.
Understanding and recognizing each aspect of the rut behavior will help in giving you a definite advantage next time you hit the tree stand.
Keep an eye out for these signs, and bag yourself that buck!