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Illinois hunting and fishing

This buck enjoys putting his scent on an overhanging branch over a scrape. Notice the blaze orange zip tie on the branch. The branch was cut off another scrape a few miles away. Bucks are extremely attracted to other buck smell on overhanging branches.

Take a zip tie on your next deer hunt

January 11, 2010 at 09:44 AM

GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

The 2009 whitetail rut, though lacking the usual daytime activity due to above-average late October and early November temperatures, unfolded its excitement and mystery right on time, as predicted, peaking a few days prior to the middle of November in the Northeast and Midwest.

The mid-November rut synchronizes with the full moon, the hunter’s moon, as it peeks over the eastern ridge at dusk during those first few days of November.

There was no better time to pull the frozen bladder and tarsal glands from the year before to be used as a lure at a mock scrape. They were taken from a nice big eight-point buck that was tending a doe.

The setup was perfect.

The timing was perfect.

The conditions were perfect.

But maybe more importantly, to bring a buck into that scrape there needs to be a way to seal the deal.

You might need to add one more piece of equipment to your archery gear. How about a zip-tie?

They are great for putting tags on deer, but I have never heard or read where anybody else has used a zip-tie for the following:

Cut the overhanging branches off an unhuntable scrape, drop them into a plastic garbage bag, and then transport the branches to a mock scrape next to your favorite tree stand.

It doesn’t really matter if the overhanging branches are cut from a scrape on the same property or another miles away. Might be the same buck’s overhanging branch, or another buck and doe’s from 10 ridges away.

Trail cameras prove what a lethal setup this can be.

Just take the branches, the overhead licking branch, cut from the hot scrape and zip-tie them to branches over your mock scrape. I like to use two or three—but one works, too.

So not only will any buck cruising by smell the overhanging branch, it will find it irresistible. Bucks just have to come in to add their two scents.

Bucks and does work over the overhanging branches over scrapes with much more frequency and intensity than they do pawing the ground, despite what you may have read or heard to the contrary.

Bucks and does will drool while chewing the overhanging branch, and the saliva, laden with hormones and scent-based messages, falls on the leaves and ground and seems to make bucks paw and once in a while urinate in the torn and pawed-up dirt patch under the overhanging branch.

Make no mistake. The overhanging branch is the all-important communication tool for whitetails. It’s their Internet, their Facebook.

Bowhunters: Use it to your advantage. And transport the branches to your favorite stand site.

Bucks don’t know about zip-ties

The morning was rocked with a few shotgun blasts from turkey hunters down the ridge.

But the head-shaking and frustration was quickly stopped when an antlered buck was spotted walking along the edge of a field at about 100 yards.

A couple short grunts on a grunt tube stopped the buck, and a doe bleat can caught his attention.

He quickly cut the distance to the mock scrape with the still partly frozen tarsal glands and frozen urine from the previous year’s eight-point’s bladder (It was huge, about the size of a small loaf of bread.).

And there was a scrape there, with zip-tied overhanging branches, put there a couple days before.

The eight-point buck came in, looking for the other buck and doe, but when he hit the thermal, pulling the scent from the mock scrape and tarsal glands down to him, his manner and appearance changed.

The deal was sealed.

The buck flattened his ears against his head, like a horse does when it wants to bite. The buck started walking under the tree-stand, but not straight and cautious like normal. This buck was sold and walking a bit sideways, and almost knock-kneed. His body hair appeared to be standing on end, dark and wet-looking in the early morning light under the pine tree.

A buck in full rut 20 yards from our tree stand with only a few days left in the archery season is a wonderful thing.

And once under the overhanging pine bough, he afforded the bow hunter the opportunity to come to full draw and center the 20-yard pin on that spot directly above the lower front leg, in the center of the chest.

The arrow flew true, through the deer and into the ground.

The eight-point bolted through the narrow woodlot and out into a field at full throttle, lurched radically 90 degrees, and at full speed, crashed into the wood’s-edge.

Branches broke and snapped in unison.

And then all was quiet.

Next year, cut an overhanging scrape branch and put it on a mock scrape near your favorite treestand. Seal the deal with a zip-tie when a buck comes in.

Oak Duke is publisher of the Daily Reporter in Wellsville, N.Y. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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