When rubs tell the story
You’ve heard some people say that the size of a buck rub doesn’t tell the size of the buck. You may have also heard that the size of a rub does tell the size of the buck that made it. What should you believe?
A statement I truly believe is correct goes like this: “Big bucks will rub on small trees and big trees but small bucks will mostly rub on small trees”. There are many theories out there but lets look at some basics. Bucks rub to remove velvet early season and to mark their territory prior to the rut. Rubbing a tree usually is only part of their routine as making scrapes, leaving scent on overhanging tree limbs, etc. will also follow. Many experts agree that a big buck will thrash saplings along with bigger trees to let the rest of the deer in the area know that this is his spot. Now a smaller buck will not (maybe occasionally) rub on bigger trees and there is a reason for that. The smaller bucks like to push on the trees that create a “spring like” force that pushes back into their body. Pushing on too big of a tree will be uncomfortable for them. As the bucks get older, their weight increases thus allowing them to use larger trees to offset their larger body weight. This is why many hunters like to hunt the larger rubs.
The picture above is a picture I took in 1994 of the largest buck rub I’ve ever seen. The tree was 17” across and the rub was 3.5 feet tall by 17” across! Notice the man’s size standing next to it. He was a D.O.C. employee verifying that the rub was indeed a rub and not a big cat claw scratch.
The picture below was from a buck we hunted last winter in where my son Drake killed it within 6 feet of the very rub he was rubbing. That rub was 6” across.
The buck below was the buck that made that huge rub in the top photo. He was a 191” typical monster. He made sure he let every other buck know not to cross into his territory. FYI, I took that buck within 70 yards of that rub. I hunted that rub for 2 years and only saw the buck once in a bean field the year prior to killing him. Yes, they like to hide but they also like to leave their sign and when they do, they offer a great opportunity for all of us!
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