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Do doe's really scrape?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: Do doe's really scrape, and if so what is the difference in a buck and doe scrape? Also is there a time that does scrape or do they scrape for a reason like bucks?
- T.L. Blackwell

ANSWER: I won’t say does never scrape, but it is extremely uncommon, and unlikely that a doe would create a scrape. However, they will most certainly use an existing one. Scrapes and rubs function as a sort of social network for deer. Both bucks and does will visit rubs, scrapes and overhanging “licking” branches.

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Typically, they first “inspect” the site with their acute sense of smell. From this they can detect a lot about previous visitors. Deer have several different glands - forehead, pre-orbital, interdigital, tarsal, metatarsal, to name a few - each of which emits dozens of different volatile compounds. It is believed from these compounds another deer can determine a number of things, possibly including sex, age, health, dominance and breeding status of the deer that left them. They - both bucks and does - then leave their own calling card, either in the form of glandular secretions, urine or both. Less is known about precisely why they do this. But it is possible their “language” of smells is every bit as complex as human language.

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