Saturday was one of those rare fall days when the weather was great. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the high sixties. We could mow the lawn, for what might be the last time of the season or we could ride around the timber, enjoy the fall colors, and look for deer scrapes to put up trail cameras. It was much too nice of a day to do anything constructive. Also, it is always a good idea to get a few more great deer pictures over their scrapes.
A scrape is a trail marker left by deer of both sexes to communicate their being in the area and readiness to breed. A branch hanging over the trail is licked and rubbed. The ground under the branch is scraped bare. The scrape is usually started by a buck and every deer that passes that way will stop, paw the ground, and lick the branch. It is a great place to get pictures. Having great pictures of deer that frequent the area increases a person’s change of getting the deer they want when they then go bow hunting.
My wife and I had three cameras out all summer. One is at the intersection of two trails that had a scrape nearby last year. This year, a scrape was started at the same place so we left that camera where it was. Another camera was on a deer trail near a fence where the deer moved from a bedding area to feeding. We always got at least twenty pictures per week of this camera, but knew would could do better. Making a detour to the house for drinks, my wife suggested we check a trail through the woods, not too far from the house. There was a fresh scrape there and we put a camera on it. The horses have a salt block near the west end of the lake. We always get a lot of pictures of deer enjoying the salt as well as a fair number of pictures of the horses. We decided to leave that camera where it was.
A new food plot near Twin Sluices was the next place we checked. Two scrapes were at the edges on there were lots of tracks in the new seeding. We found a suitable tree and attached another camera. We drove along the edge of the long hayfield and found several scrapes but I wanted our last camera to be on the South place, if we could find a good scrape there. Driving past the New Pond, we spotted a few small scrapes that would do, but I was hoping for something better. Where the trail came out of the timber going toward Damon’s house, a shingle oak stood on each side of the trail. There were fresh scrapes below both trees. I positioned the camera to hopefully cover the whole area and we headed home.
We had a very pleasant afternoon driving all over the farm. The leaves were beautiful and the weather was perfect. The dogs got enough exercise to last them a week or so and now we can sit back and anticipate what might be on the cameras next weekend when we again make the rounds.