If you’re making mock scrapes for hunting or your game cameras, one of the most important things to remember is the overhead licking branch.
I’ve created mock scrapes for the last few years after getting some great Stealth, Browning and PlotWatcher cameras for the property where I hunt. I have several areas where I can put out the cameras. I create the mock scrapes with Wildlife Research Magnum Scrape Drippers with Active Scrape or Golden Estrous as well as Smokey’s Preorbital Gland Lure.
I’ve created different scrapes to try out using the Smokey’s on the licking branch or not using it. I’ve also added – and not added – Smokey’s Interdigital Gland Lure to the scrape. The interdigital gland is located between a buck’s hooves and deposits scent when he stands in the scrape or paws away dirt.
The licking branch with Preorbital gland secretions is considered to be the key, though, because bucks communicate with each other with glandular deposits. So when they’re chewing on the licking branch over the scrape and rubbing their heads on the branch or limb, they’re leaving secretions from the preorbital gland near their eyes.
Without that, your mock scrape is only half-done. My better results with mock scrapes have come on those with the Smokey’s gland lures. I make them in areas where I’ve seen deer travel or previous rubs or scrapes. One other tip, from Charles Alsheimer, is to clip the branches off the tree and leave only one limb hanging over the mock scrape. This is where I apply the Smokey’s preorbital and, as Alsheimer says, that lone branch ensures the buck will key on it instead of another one.
Use the following 5 tips to assist your use of Smokey’s Preorbital Gland Lure:
1. Travel corridor: Find a licking branch in a travel corridor bucks use. Base the location on past observation, old rubs and natural funnels. You can use a licking branch that was used last year, establish a new one or make your own by tying a new branch about five feet off the ground.
2. Licking branch: Before touching anything in the area, put on a pair of rubber gloves. Select a sturdy but flexible branch. My experience is that limbs from maple, white oak, ash, beech or poplar produce better results than pine and black cherry. Notice the species deer in your area use. Don’t use a dead or fragile limb.
3. Application: Mash the tip of the licking branch with a pair of clean pliers. This allows the branch to hold the lure, and exposes the lure to more surfaces so that air currents can pick it up better. Dip the tip of the branch in a bottle of pre-orbital gland lure. Use just a tiny amount.
4. Camera: Set your camera so that it’s not looking into the sun and leave the area without crossing any primary trails.
5. Checking camera: Since this is a low-impact scouting method, don’t check your camera any more frequently than once every week to 10 days. Even if it rains, traces of the lure will stay on the licking branch.
Making mock scrapes is fun and can give you some insight to bucks on your property. Check out the video above to see how important the licking branch is, and then make your best scrapes this year.