What does it mean when traditional activity sites go dormant?
QUESTION: I have been hunting this small woodlot surrounded by agriculture. There are many farms with similar small wooded areas attached where deer travel. My question is: I have hunted this small bush where there has been a scrape line for the past 12 years. I have always had multiple bucks on camera during this time and have tagged out every year, including some big bucks. This fall, there are absolutely no scrapes and rubs. It’s kind of bizarre. I got a 10-pointer in late October on this line where there are no signs of scrapes or anything. Why? There are bucks still in the area. I can’t make sense if it other than coyotes, but they have been part of the problem for the past five years . – Leonard M.
ANSWER: Honestly, your guess is as good as mine as to the lack of sign in the area. It’s not uncommon for different bucks to use traditional rub lines and scrapes over successive years and even successive generations. To have that pattern suddenly cease strongly suggests that something significant must have changed. However, the situation may not be as extreme as you think.
The fact that you killed a buck on this line shows there was at least one deer still using it, although you did not mention if you had trail camera images of it or other bucks. If it is in fact a traditional rub line, deer would be rubbing the same trees year after year, and it could be difficult to tell if some were in fact being rubbed this year.
You also failed to mention where you are located, but not finding scrapes in October might not be all that unusual. I typically don’t find scrapes on the ground I hunt until early November. It could just be an off year for any number of reasons. I’d suggest you keep an eye on it and see if things improve next fall. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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