One area of deer hunting knowledge that few Texas hunters pay much attention to is the art of hunting scrapes, those pawed out circular patches of bare dirt that reek of buck urine when they begin appearing sometime during the month of October.

One area of deer hunting knowledge that few Texas hunters pay much attention to is the art of hunting scrapes, those pawed out circular patches of bare dirt that reek of buck urine when they begin appearing sometime during the month of October.


Part of that reluctance by Texas hunters to figure out how to hunt scrapes is the simple fact that they are often hard to find in the arid and rocky soil that exists in many parts of the Lone Star State.


Not to mention the fact that not everyone in the whitetail hunting world can agree on their importance in the process of tagging a big buck.


While some whitetail hunting gurus swear by the art of hunting scrapes — as still others swear at the idea of hunting them at all — it’s the contention of yours truly that a deer hunter should never stop learning more about the behavior of these crafty wild critters.


Which means figuring out scrapes — what they are, what they mean, where to find them, and how to effectively use them in your fall hunting strategies.


Interested in expanding your own personal deer hunting knowledge when it comes to scrapes and how to hunt them?


Then pay attention to some scrape hunting advice that I’ve gleaned and gathered from three different deer hunting experts.


First, says Mossy Oak pro-staff member Greg Miller, you’ve got to be sure that you’re looking at the right scrapes.


Especially during October’s pre-rut phase.


"(You) need to find the right one," said Miller, in a news release. "You are looking for primary scrapes that are deeper in the woods where several runs cross and also near doe bedding areas."


These are the scrapes to find…and hunt.


"The ones out on the open field edges, paths or just inside the edge of the woods are all secondary scrapes," said Miller.


"So try not to get sucked into setting up over an open area scrape unless it is an extremely isolated area," he added. Next, you need to ensure that the right deer is the one making the scrape.


So says Mike Hanback, the prolific outdoor writer, online blogger, and weekly host for the Sportsman Channel’s "Big Deer TV" show.


In one of Hanback’s great deer hunting tomes — "Modern Whitetail Deer Hunting," which is available at Amazon.com — he explains how a would-be scrape hunter can be sure of this.


"I’ve found, and some biologists and whitetail experts second my opinion, that mature bucks build large scrapes but fewer of them," Hanback wrote in his book.


How can you tell that the scrape you are looking at is being made by the right buck stirring up the dirt with his hooves?


Hanback writes to look in and around the scrape for the tell-tale signs of a big buck — big tracks, big rubs nearby, and a mangled licking branch overhead.


Otherwise, you might be spinning your wheels by hunting the scrape of a rather pedestrian whitetail.


"Just remember this," writes Hanback. "A bunch of rather ordinary-looking scrapes on a field edge or ridge or in a creek bottom were probably pawed by a rather ordinary buck."


Finally, in addition to hunting the right scrape being made by the right buck, a would-be scrape hunter needs to also be sure that they are hunting the scrape at the right time.


"I don’t hunt scrapes just to hunt a scrape," said Mossy Oak pro-staffer Mike Monteleone in a news release. "I feel the chances of a big buck showing himself before dark at a scrape are slim to none. And Slim just left town."


That doesn’t mean Monteleone isn’t interested in finding a scrape being made by a good buck, because he is.


"(That being said), I hunt downwind of a known food source and make my own mock scrapes about 40 yards upwind of my stand location," he said. "Normally, I hunt these areas only in the afternoons and evenings."


Why does Monteleone hunt his mock scrapes only late in the day?


"During this phase of the rut, a buck’s priority is to feed first then mate so morning hunting is not a priority of mine," he said. "Until the chase phase kicks in (closer to the peak of the rut), I believe that most big bucks are in bed before we get out of bed so I’m sleeping in!"


Sleeping in so he can save up his strength to drag out fresh venison from the October woods.


Venison that was collected right after Monteleone sent a late afternoon arrow into a big, scrape-making buck’s boiler room.