Whitetail deer, even big bucks, feed and travel in very consistent patterns in August and September. Savvy hunters learn these routines and post stands along travel corridors, especially between feeding and bedding areas, with great success. Jeff Harrison (shown above), Maryland’s Pope & Young machine, often takes one of his annual great deer on opening day after monitoring buck movement carefully. Michagan’s Fred and Greg Abbas, the driving forces behind the A-Way Outdoors TV show, use a very specific approach to developing mock scrapes in mid summer, a tactic that builds predictability into early season hunting. Although they develop mock scrapes, they choose to hunt the paths leading to and from the scrapes so as not to contaminate the site with human scent. They generously share their “secret sauce” recipe for Griffins Guide:
Beginning July 1, Fred Abbas selects a likely spot for a mock scrape near one of his food plots, looking for an existing trail and a tree with a licking branch at the right height. He then mixes his special sauce in a one-gallon mason jar, combining one cup of ammonia, ½ cup of coarse kosher salt, a cup of mineral oil, and water. Next he uses a garden rank around the scrape sites until the soil is bare. Then he uses a sprayer to douse the ground, tree, and licking branch. “We’d dump the mixture on the ground, but then the deer will eat the dirt,” he says. “By the end of August, bucks seem to lose their taste for salt, and we switch to our other scents such as Testosterone Fever, which seems to exploit a buck’s sense of territoriality; as the rut nears, we use ‘She Heat’ estrous doe lure.”
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