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Rubbed the Right Way


Back in the “olden days” we needed to learn how to “read sign” to determine deer movement. Now, instead, we just stick up a camera. Don’t misunderstand - trail cameras are one of the most important pieces of technology to hit our industry during the past thirty years, but the best hunters will use trail-cam photos in correlation with what they learn from reading physical sign -and rubs are one of the best forms of tangible sign we have to help put you close to a mature buck. They divulge to you more than other forms of sign, and when used in union with other markers they can help to make you deadly.

During the late-summer, very increased amounts of testosterone start flowing through a buck’s body. This triggers the blood flow to be shut down to the antlers, they calcify and harden, the velvet dries and bucks begin making rubs. Rubs are made for several reasons, probably the most important is to mark territory - not only visually, but by scent as well. This tells the other deer in the area exactly which buck made the rub.

Rubs are an excellent way to learn a buck’s travel patterns. Ambushing them along one of these “rub-lines” is a proven tactic for harvesting trophy bucks. When you come across a good density of rubs it usually means you've found an area where a buck is spending a good deal of time. A buck’s "bedroom" is a reliable point to begin the hunt. Not only do rubs help us to identify a buck’s bedding areas, they can help us to determine direction of travel. If a buck is traveling north, he's facing the south side of the tree, so the rubs should be on the south side of the tree. This will help you resolve which routes he’s using to and from the location. Combine this with a little common sense and which area features are in each direction and rubs could lead you to a trophy this fall.

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