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THE DEADLY ART OF MOCK SCRAPES


New Tactic for Deer Hunting 2016


September 01, 2016
Many readers are aware that my son Greg and I are inventors. We invent hunting products and we invent hunting tactics. We own A-Way Hunting Products and A-Way Outdoors Invention Consulting. The vast majority of our inventions are geared toward deer hunting. Especially for the big Michigan bucks that we love to hunt, and have so much respect for.

Why Michigan bucks?

Because their low numbers in this state make them an amazing challenge. Over the years we started giving away our hunting secrets at seminars and articles in the "Woods-N-Waters News." It's no longer a secret that mock scrapes are the backbone to our success, so much so, that we actually invented and patented the world's most powerful deer attractant scents, and by far the easiest to use. Since we rely heavily on scent use throughout the season it was only natural for us to focus on some of the problems that they can, and have created.

When we discover a problem our mindset automatically seeks a solution. Unfortunately we have no control over Mother Nature, sometimes we all have to hunt in whatever weather she presents to us. Here's the problem, the liquid scents that we relied on had a strong tendency to wash out at the first hint of rain or snow, worse, it's two part application process forces all hunters into a self-contamination situation when mixing and hanging these devices. These problems were not helpful in our quest for big bucks, nor were they acceptable.

Our solution was to find and patented a way to totally eliminate the contamination and scent delivery issues. We formulated an extremely powerful scent to last up to five days through rain or shine. We believe the stronger the scent, the stronger the attraction and no other deer attractant scent in the world today could do what these scents could do, thus conditioning any buck into returning time and again. We simply used a buck's nose to our advantage especially with the knowledge that big bucks are always motivated or driven either by the rut or by sheer curiosity.

Deadly_Art_of_Mock_Scra
shadow
Two days after completing the set-up and mock scrape the author harvested this monster Jackson County buck. The heaviest deer he has ever taken. photo by Author Photo.

Although our newly developed tactic has not been tested in the earlier seasons, we see no reason why this tactic shouldn't work during the first pre-rut/rut time frames, especially where big nocturnal bucks are concerned. (This tactic was actually developed specifically for a December hunt). By the time our Michigan December muzzleloading season kicks-in, many unsuccessful deer hunters recall what took place during the rifle season after the second or third day, where few shots were heard or fired, along with the lack of deer sightings. Many hunters believe the muzzleloading season will only offer more of the same and stay home. This idea is absolutely not true.

We consider December hunts to be our most productive, one where the biggest bucks of all are literally forced to be on the move. Consider the two dynamics that are taking place all at once in December...that do not take place at any other time frame during the earlier hunting seasons, gun or bow. We know many big rutting bucks from the first rut have lost upwards of 25 percent of their body weight, or more, and have a desperate need to regain that lost weight back fast by frequenting food sources more often before the winter weather sets in. Otherwise they will be one of the first to die, and they know it.

Another very important factor worth noting that occurs only in December is that many doe fawns born in the same year will mature enough to come into estrus for the first time. These doe fawns do not have the experience to visit scrapes to advertise their condition like a mature doe would do, a condition in which they have absolutely no inkling of what is occurring in their bodies.

So what do they do?

They simply follow their mothers from food source to food source not knowing what the changes in their bodies mean. But a big buck surely does, and he is on the prowl actively seeking them out... and he knows exactly where to find them. So, of course with this knowledge of deer behavior in mind our thoughts would naturally seek a solution to exploit these amazing dynamics. The vast majority of big bucks are by now fully nocturnal and will rarely enter a food plot during this time frame in full daylight, rut or not. Especially after having been shot at, or having fresh unpleasant memories of scenting humans for the past several weeks. But they most definitely will stage somewhere close to a food plot or some other food source while waiting for dark, especially if the food source contains estrus does.

When Greg and I were developing this new tactic the main sticking point questions were two fold; could we assure a buck of his safety while moving him into position, and could we condition a buck into staging at a precise spot of our choosing during daylight?

As it turned out later, the answer was yes and as it so happened, it would happen twice, thus actively eliminating the luck factor. The conditions that we felt we needed to succeed could only be found on two of the seven farms that we hunt. Here are the multiple elements that it eventually took in order for this tactic to become successful. We picked a well-used deer run leading from the woods to one of our Imperial Whitetail clover food plots which was getting hammered daily by does and their fawns. We then chose a spot which gave a buck an absolute vantage point where the wind was totally in his favor, and we also chose a spot where he had the ability to see into the food plot, but remain hidden and unseen in the woods...a perfect set-up that would assure any buck of his safety.

Further, we would attempt to entice him by creating a mock scrape and a licking branch off to the side of the run, and sprayed our most powerful scent, "She heat" on both the licking branch and the mock scrape, this would be the ambush site. We then created a subtle shooting lane, this is a small lane barely three-to-four feet wide where we remove a branch or two, or a small tree in the lane that would not be noticeable to the buck.

I would be hunting in one of our Shadow Hunter blinds which were roughly 157 yards away. Greg and I both shoot 50 caliber Ultimate Firearms muzzle loaders loaded with 180 grains of magnum triple seven pellets, and 300 grain Hornady SST bullets. A very deadly and accurate combination. Two days after we finished this setup a big buck advertised his presence by rubbing on a tree near the mock scrape. The large rub and his four-inch tracks confirmed him to be a big buck. Since this tactic could only work in the evenings we were hunting mornings on other farms.

The very next evening after my setup was hit I caught a big buck working my mock scrape a full hour before dark. He had his nose in the scrape when I shot. The buck actually ran and died right in our Whitetail Clover food plot. We were amazed by his body size, reminding me of some of our Canadian bucks where the bodies are so big it makes the antlers look small. When we brought the quad to drag him out all four wheels sunk into the ground, we had to use our quad's wench to pull us out.

Later back at camp we tried to weigh the big buck but our scales only went up to 275 pounds, and it bottomed out. This Jackson County buck was easily the heaviest buck that I have ever shot. Soon after I shot this buck our trail cameras on another farm picked up several pictures of a big buck hitting Greg's mock scrape setup near our food plot planted with Whitetail Institute's Tall Tine Tubers. We were elated to discover the buck was staging exactly where we were hoping he would, and most amazing, all of the pictures were captured in the evening with plenty of daylight left. I was so excited I asked Greg if I could tag along on his hunt.

The next morning we quietly went in and hung another stand near Greg's stand. That afternoon we got into our stands a good three hours early. I could feel the tension and excitement growing as the magic hour approached even though I was just an observer. Both Greg and I were scanning the woods with our binoculars searching for any movement when Greg whispered, here he comes. I was riveted as the big buck went directly to the scrape stopping perfectly broadside. After taking the hit the buck whirled around and ran in the direction where he had come from. His mad dash only carried him about 50 yards and we witnessed him go down. It was a thrilling end to a thrilling hunt with Greg and I high-fiving each other over such a beautiful majestic animal. This moment was truly a role reversal for me, imagine that, my son taking me on a hunt for a change, how cool was that?

For more information; A-Way Hunting Products, 989 435-3879,

www.awayhunting.com. Whitetail Institute, 800 688-3030, www.whitetailinstitute.com. Summit Outdoors, LLC

888 446-4868, www.shadowhunterblinds.com.

Fred and Greg Abbas will be part of the 30th annual Outdoor Weekend Sept. 9-11 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds in Imlay City. Be sure to catch their fascinating seminars or greet them at their booth. Show hours Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.7 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m.5 p.m.; $8 admission, kids 12 and under free and free parking, for more information www.outdoorweekend.net.

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