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What Do Rubs Mean?


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#1 MVHC

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 03:45 PM

Hello All...

I live in northern California and the area where I hunt, the season wraps up before the rut gets going...Having said that I located an area last fall that had numerous old rubs in about a 12 acre area....I was out hunting turkey the other day and decided to check the area for turkey sign. No turkeys, but there were big numbers of new rubs that were obviously made last fall during the rut....

From a strategy standpoint, what does this area mean to me? Do I work the area with tree stands toward the end of the season? What are your thoughts? Clearly if I could hunt it during the rut it would be a hotspot despite the fact that much of the rubbing probably occurs at night, yet do you guys think bucks could be staging in and around the area before the rut actually gets going...The deer in the area are migratory and the area I found is part of the winter range, yet with a bit of snow I've killed bucks at the same elevation during the last week to 10 days of the season....

Thanks in advance.....

#2 cahunter70

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 04:12 PM

I am no expert here but I guess I would say it kind of depends where you found the rubs. Private land or public. By that I mean if it were a ranch that was lower in elevation then the bucks may be resident deer and they probably live year round in a smaller general area. So locating these rubs may be a benefit.

If you are talking public land like the NF or even Wilderness areas then the bucks you would be talking about normally reside in the high country until weather pushes them lower. The buck or bucks that made those rubs probably don't live anywhere near that area during the hunting season. Just my opinion.

#3 BRIGHTEYES

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:09 PM

That makes two of us in the non expert column. Some of your questions reminded me of some of my own, so I got out my dog eared copy of "Blacktail Trophy Tactics". He says that most rubbing is done before the rut, in practice for the battles to come. The only other time of any significance is when they're rubbing off the velvet. So if your season is just prior to the rut, maybe hanging around there is a good idea. He agreed that almost all rubbing is done at night though.

There's a couple pages on the subject of rubs. If you have access to a copy, it's a very good read. It sure opened my eyes, after many years of not understanding what's going on.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them. Ps.127:4,5


#4 singleshot

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 05:18 AM

I do not live in a migratory area, so my knowledge is based on the later.

Unless it's thick where these rubs are at, 12 acres is rather large to be considered a core area. So I want to say that what you probably have is an area that is used by multiple bucks up to and during the time when they rid themselves of their velvet. After which, the bucks separate and (in my area) disappear from existence.

In the area that I hunt, rub lines are the thing to watch for (pre-rut activity around my area). This indicates a travel route for the buck and one in which he is using often enough to get around to consider hunting. When the rut gets here, I see smaller treeís (3 to 4 feet in height) and Scotch Broom rubbed more so than any of the larger treeís that one seeís rubbed earlier in the season. Truth be known, Iím not sure Iíve ever seen a large rub made (note: I said made, not tended.. I'm positive bucks re-scent rub lines) during the rut. I just donít think the bucks get their testosterone generated fix rubbing a 4 or 5 inch in diameter tree vs. tearing a smaller one to shreds.

Trail-cams, binoís and spotting scopes will be your friend at this point.

Again, my knowledge is based on what I see and how I hunt up here in Oregon.


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#5 MVHC

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for the feedback....I'm very interested in reading more...I feel like I've stumbled on a real opportunity to learn and maybe score a buck....The area is well below the elevation where the bucks would be rubbing of velvet...It lays out like this...I know it is winter ground, because the roads into the area are closed during the winter so as to not disturb the deer....

My 12 acre estimate may be off, but I think it is close....Basically it is a hardwood ridge that ends on a round point. It is in the national forest. The ridge is surround by STEEP canyon on three sides....I looked around and there are rubs in evidence going back in time for years....All the rubbing is done on soft wood pines that are all 1 1/4 inch in diameter or less...In the period after deer season I hunted the area for bear because there were lots of acorns around...I didn't find any bears, but I did see bucks...I wasn't really looking for rubs....

I'm certain that the rubs are made by a number of different bucks, I mean there are lots of rubs and I'm only seeing a fraction of them...Some of them looked to be really violent when others not so much....I've found rub lines lots of times, both old and new in other areas, but I have never found an area with such a high concentration of rubs. It is sort of hard to find a tree of the size and type that the bucks like to rub that hasn't been worked over...I have no idea how far the rubs drop down into the canyon...

The idea that they are made prior to the season is very interesting...That would mean that the activity is occuring during the rifle season....My theory at this point is that the bucks are coming out of the canyon and doing their thing on top of the ridge at night....I should invest in a trail camera...My tentative plan for success at this point is to work the edges of the ridge from a treestand, but not on a daily basis...l think my best chance for success would be toward the end of the season during overcast stormy weather when the low light might tempt a buck to come up out of the canyon....The season ends around the first weekend of November and the rut typically takes place between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 from what I've heard and observed....This makes me wonder about rattling....I've never done it in my life....

I've heard that whitetails make a rub line and return to it time after time...I wonder if blacktails do the same thing...Clearly from the evidence in my area they do the same amount of rubbing at the same place every season....

More feedback please...Thanks Cal




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