When you're out scouting and you find this many tree rubs, you'll have a hard time sleeping until opening day!
The ghosts of autumn have left their calling card, and it's one that leaves most hunters sleepless. You may not get to see them do it, but the bucks are out there scrapping the ground and rubbing their antlers on every tree in sight.
My friends and family hunt two different 60-acre properties that are right next to each other. Since the weather here has been so warm and out of season, things have been starting late. With the leaves beginning to change but mostly still hanging onto the trees, seeing through the woods is a task right now.
Some were on saplings and some were trees easily 8-10 inches in diameter with a 24-inch circumference. Some of them may look similar, but I promise you they're all different and unique unless otherwise stated.
There are a lot of these doubles out there.
Little buck, little tree? Maybe.
That's what I'm talking about. More than 20 inches of scrape 4 feet off of the ground.
Here's a bonus ground scrape. Between the acorns and droppings, it's no wonder he's spending time here. There are enough of these out there for a piece about scrapes!
Here's another look at the pine tree he dug up.
They just love those soft maples.
This is a bit older, but still from this year.
Big tree, big buck?
Here's a different look at the cover photo. It's about 100-yards from my stand. The tine grooves he put in it are almost a quarter of an inch deep in the flesh of the tree, which is a good 8-9 inches in diameter!
Here's another double. Did one big buck do both at the same time?
This maple grove is littered with these and the remnants of rubs from past years.
So far this year, I've seen a little fork-horn, a baby six, and one nice eight-point. According to some of these rubs, we can look forward to seeing something even nicer out there this season. The neighbor has pictures of two different donkeys that he got on his trail camera as well.
Folks, this was a particularly short walk as the season is on, but it just goes to show you how active the bucks have become. I certainly had to walk by many more of these great rubs that I didn't see!
Last season, the peak of the rut and the opener of firearm season here coincided like the sun and the moon during a solar eclipse. We took multiple bucks off the property and filled several freezers.
All photos by Craig Raleigh