Find rub, set up stand, shoot deer, right?
QUESTION: I found some fresh rubs, so I set up a stand nearby. I am very careful about scent control and I hunt the wind, but I have not seen any deer there in a week. What am I doing wrong? — John S.
ANSWER: There are at least a dozen possible reasons for why your stand isn’t working out, many of which would apply to just about any location. So let’s focus on the rubs.
Deer rub trees for several reasons: They may do so to help in the process of shedding velvet, to strengthen neck muscles for the upcoming rut or as an aggressive display toward another male. All of the above rubs will be made wherever the buck happens to be when that activity occurs, and therefore don’t offer much in the way of trying to pattern that deer.
Other times, deer rub in a deliberate effort to leave scent as a means of communication. These rubs are often on regularly traveled routes, or at least in an area visited on a somewhat regular basis. They could be on a field edge, deep in the woods or anywhere in between. However, I’ve found that field edge rubs tend to be made and re-visited (if they are revisited) mostly at night.
It’s tempting to jump on a hot rub, but waiting for the deer that made it to return could be a long and frustrating venture. Even if it’s a signpost rub he might not return for a week or more, and then it could be at night. The wait could be even longer once does start coming into estrus. That’s not so say you should give up, but suggest setting up a trail camera to see what kind of activity occurs when you’re not there.— Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
Meep! Meep! Just like in the cartoons, coyotes keep coming back for more.
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