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Scrapes Do Not Mark Territories by Grant Woods

I frequently hear comments about bucks defending their territory and that bucks make/use scrapes to mark the boundaries of their territory.

Bucks don’t defend territories or their home range like coyotes, bobcats and other predators! About the only territory bucks defend is a very small circumference around a receptive doe. Thus the area they will defend is very small and changes frequently as does only remain receptive for about 24 to 36 hours.

Another indicator that bucks don’t establish and/or maintain scrapes to mark territories is that all ages and genders of deer actively use scrapes.

Check out this video of a six month old male fawn aggressively marking this scrape. He shows no fear from detecting which deer has already marked the scrape or who may be about to mark the scrape.

Scrapes are primarily a communication tool and active scrapes can be good indicators of travel routes even after the rut!

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Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.