Ask Dr. Dave About Whitetails: Why No Scrapes?

John from central West Virginia asks why he doesn’t find many hot and big scrapes in his area when there are so many deer there.

This is a good question, but when you think about the situation, the answer becomes obvious.

Dr. Dave Samuel

A scrape is a spot where a doe urinates to attract bucks. Bucks come to the scrape area, and if a hot doe has been there, they follow her. However, if deer populations are high, as they are in central West Virginia, then bucks don’t really need to hit scrapes… there are so many does walking around, and some will be in estrus, that the bucks just pick up the estrus scent during their normal feeding activities.

In other words, there are so many hot does around that the bucks find them easily and scraping isn’t needed. When you find such situations your deer herd is way too high and does need to be harvested — big time. That will then improve rutting activity and will improve your buck quality.

If you have a deer question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at

Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he’s been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 30 years.

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