Can I Make Mock Rubs?

Glenn H. from Michigan writes to ask about buck rubs. “I know that bucks communicate with other bucks and does at scrapes, but I assume they also ‘talk’ to each other at rubs. If that is the case, can’t I create mock rubs, just as we do mock scrapes and if so, how do I do these to make them the most effective?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

This is a great question and the answer is you can do this and it is worth doing!

Bucks most likely leave frontal and pre-orbital gland scent on rubs when they make them. And older bucks revisit certain rubs a great deal. One more factor. Older, bigger, bucks tend to rub and rerub, year after year, the same tree, and rub aromatic tree species such as red cedar. So, if you have a rub or scrape line along a ridge, but no good trees to set up in where there are rubs or scrapes, find a tree for your tree stand that is close enough to that cedar to give you a bow (or gun) shot, and make a rub on it. 

Keep it fresh by rerubbing it now and again, and you might even make a mock scrape nearby. Even better, if you have an existing rub line on a ridge, or wherever, but the tree you need to be in is too far from that line for a good shot, then move the rub line. Simply put brush on the rub line to block it, them make rubs on cedars or other trees that will bring the bucks past your stand. One other thought. Put some pre-orbital gland on those rubs, just a drop or two, to further enhance them for use by mature bucks. I might add, there is a company now that sells cedar posts for use to attract bucks to rub them. It’s true. 

Shop The Sportsman’s Guide for a fine assortment of Scent including Pre-orbital Scent.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, manager of Guide Outdoors & Social Content at to Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has 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 31 years.

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