Take a stand to get that rutting buck

The opening of firearm season in most areas corresponds to the mating cycle of the whitetail deer.
This mating period is commonly referred to as the “rut.” At this time of year, the bucks are the most active. They do a lot of travelling in search of the receptive does.
During some of these travels, the buck marks his territory by leaving a “calling card” of sorts. These “calling cards” are commonly referred to as scrapes. A scrape is a bare, pawed-out patch of ground made by a buck with his front hooves during the breeding season.
Rutting bucks mark each scrape with their scent by urinating on it. Does in the area then deposit their scent on a scrape when they are ready to breed. For this reason, bucks make regular checks on their scrapes.
The crucial thing here is that the scrape is only made at this time of the year (during the rut). The hunter needs to key in on this area if he is looking for antlers on a deer.
Over a period of 24 hours, bucks visit their scrapes numerous times. Many of the ones that are nearest to roads and humans are visited during the night but some that are located well off the beaten path are visited during the daylight hours.
A hunter looking for a productive ground scrape during the daylight hours needs to look away from most roads and adjacent to heavy cover.
Pre-season scouting is a must when selecting a proper stand to hunt from. A week before the opener is usually enough time to look for a spot. The more time spent afield, the better chance the hunter will have to locate a trophy buck.
Remember, this is a period of breeding and the deer that was located in the bean field and corn field in the summer time might have moved over by the swamp. Therefore, move to high ground and glass the areas, with a set of binoculars at dawn and dusk, to locate and see the movements of those bucks.
While scouting, don’t hesitate to use a scent cover up. You may think that you or your clothes don’t smell but to a whitetail, it is another story. Also, don’t forget to wear 100 percent rubber boots to cover the human scent while walking around in the bucks’ environment.
Even during the rut, a deer can smell downwind about 500-600 yards. They will pick up a snap of a twig, a rustle of leaves, or a scuff of a boot at unbelievable distances. These unfamiliar sounds may not stop the buck from looking for the doe but it makes it wary–and an alert buck will seldom find his way into the freezer.
Because of the uncanny sense of smell that a deer has, and as a tool for scouting, I like to use my portable treestand. This allows me a high vantage point to watch deer, and it gives me the mobility to locate my stand wherever the deer seem to be making the scrapes.
The treestand also will enable me to hunt with the wind at my advantage instead of being at the wrong place when the wind decides to shift.
With the area selected for my stand now, I like to position it so I have a clear vision of at least two active scrapes. One way that I am sure this area will be active during daylight hours is to attach the scent dripper to an overhanging branch or limb. The scent dripper is a scent delivery system that is activated by the rising daytime temperatures.
I put in scent that draws bucks to my mock scrapes and not something that is used to cover my scent pre-season scouting. Keep in mind that the buck has just one thing on his mind at this time of year. If you can up the odds by getting him to think you are a doe in heat, all you have to do is wait him out.
Picking a stand where you can ambush a buck is never certain but with these helpful hints, and by looking for his “calling card,” you definitely will put the odds in your favour.
With enough patience, pre-season scouting, and determination, you will be taking a stand on a rutting buck.