Scrapes are like email for sexually active deer. The buck paws out a clean area of soil, usually under an overhanging limb, and urinates in it. If a receptive doe comes by, she also urinates in the scrape. When the buck returns to “check his mail,” he picks up her trail. Sounds like a can’t-miss deal for the deer hunter, but there’s more to it.
Most scrapes are situated so that the buck can check his “mail” from a distance, and most often he checks at night. In fact, there’s a theory that most bucks shot over scrapes are intruder bucks rather than the scrape’s maker. Also, individual scrapes are checked at random intervals. Some are checked regularly, some infrequently, and some are never revisited after they are made.
Watch for scrapes that are kept clean and frequently have fresh urine in them. Don’t set up right over the scrape. Look for a nearby trail downwind of the scrape and hope to ambush your big buck.