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Ask The Biologist: What Kind of Rub is This?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: I am currently hunting a farm and had just found a series of rubs on about five trees. A couple of the trees are about 4 to 5 inches thick. The buck is definitely a monster. While rubbing the one tree, the antlers hit the back part of the tree. The location of the rubs is on an L-shaped treeline. On both sides of the tree line are alfalfa fields, and corn further down. There is a 3- or 4-acre patch of woods about 100 yards or so from the rub. The rub is facing the field, so its definitely a sign to other deer.

What type of rub is this? Would it be worth bowhunting the area? If so, where could I place the stand? How far should I place my stand from the rubs? Please help the season is right around the corner in N.Y. — Brandon Kain

Ask The Biologist

ANSWER: I’m sure we didn’t get this posted in time, Brandon, but there’s always next year.

First, I avoid using terms like “definitely.” If there’s one certainty in deer hunting, it’s that nothing is certain or definite. We know that all bucks rub small trees, but only big bucks rub big trees, really big trees. A small buck could rub a tree four to five inches thick, though it would be nice to think your rub was made by a larger buck. You could confirm that with a trail camera.

I’m not sure what you mean by what “type” of rub. If it’s one of several in a line, there’s a better chance it’s along a travel route used (possibly on a regular basis) by one or more bucks. It would most definitely be worth bowhunting, especially if, as you’ve described, it’s in a strip of trees between alfalfa fields. That sounds like just the kind of cover deer will use to avoid exposing themselves when traveling during daylight hours.

If it is narrow, you’re probably limited as to where you can place your stand. You want to be downwind of the rub line, yet still close enough to be within bow range. Also, as the rub is facing the field, it is probably best hunted in the afternoon. Good luck, and be sure and send us pictures when you connect.

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