Buck scrapes. In June? It is not the first time I have seen it, but I think it is pretty rare never-the-less.
I was out for a conditioning walk with my lab, Seka, when I came across it. The day was moving into early evening, and I wanted to get a couple of miles in tonight before dinner. I walk through a combination of private and state land on my forays. The spot was very near a well traveled deer path that I cross often. The deer trail had been recently used, fresh dirt turned over and nice tracks in the path.
We have lots of turkeys in the forests around us and it is almost unusual not to see one or more this time of year in our daily walks. At first glance I thought it was just Turkey scratching. I passed it by. But in another five yards there was another. I looked closer.
Both spots had live overhanging tree limbs. “It couldn’t be”, my inner self said. But on closer inspection there wasn’t any doubt. The scrape was very fresh. The dirt still moist and obviously just turned. The hoof prints were obvious in the first and larger scape and you could clearly see the scraping of the hoofs. “Yep”, I said to my inner self, “this is a buck scrape.” Seka had a puzzled look in her eyes!
Surprised that I found a scrape in June was followed by surprise that this scape had to have been made within hours of my finding it. I have hunted deer my entire adult life, and like most have hunted over buck scrapes. Now I am not saying to never try that, but in my experience and validated with some trail cam images, I find that the bigger bucks almost always visit these scrapes in the dead of night. This one was too fresh to be done last night.
I am not sure this proves anything, or even makes a statement, but I am ever amazed at the things I see in nature that have me, my inner self and even Seka shaking our collective heads.