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Reading Buck Rubs: What Your Bucks Are Telling You

There is no form of deer sign that is more exciting or telling than a buck rub. Find out what your favorite buck sign is telling you.

A buck rub can tell you loads of information about a buck. Most know “bigger tree bigger buck,” but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, next time you see a rub take a closer look.

There is one golden rule to keep in mind when investigating a buck rub: look, don’t touch. A deer can smell  you from half a mile away – why would you want to leave such strong scent next to its face?

1. Time of Day

Bucks feed in the nights and evenings and travel back to their beds in the morning. Rubs that are facing well-known and obvious feeding sources are made in the morning.

In reverse, buck rubs facing the woods are evening sign. Hills also help you pattern a buck. When you find one while looking uphill, that rub is most likely from the morning. Sign in the opposite direction indicates that it was made in the evening.

2. The Higher the Bigger


Just like a bigger tree indicates a bigger buck a rub higher on the tree also points to a mature whitetail. The older a deer gets the taller it becomes making it rub higher on a tree.

3. Deep Gouges

Deep gouges in a tree indicate non-typical marks. Look for these marks to go deep and be off center. Check other trees next to the  rub for interesting scratches as well.

4. Rack Width

Speaking of other trees next to the rub this allows you gauge the width. Wider tree wider rack, even better if there are a clump of trees scratched up. Don’t limit yourself just to neighboring trees.

Double check the limbs and branches as well for scratches. The might have been knocked off so look on the ground as well.

5.  Look For Older Rubs

While looking for new rubs don’t forget to check the older ones. An older rub will be darker the older it gets. If you find several rubs of varying ages you have found a hot travel route.


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Reading Buck Rubs: What Your Bucks Are Telling You