The deer scrape vs rub are two important targets that are often confused by hunters. Since they both sound similar, some hunters think they are the same but they are not.

The rubs are usually on top of a tree while the deer scrapes are on the ground. So it's good that we compare them and understand the primary differences between them.

Besides that, I'll tell you which one is better to hunt? So keep reading:

What is a Deer Scrape?

deer scrapes


A deer scrape is a ground space where a deer has scraped a hole that has a triangle shape and a low hanging branch above it.

A deer deposits its waste fluids such as urine and other fluids that comes out from its tarsal glands in the scrape.

Why do deer scrape?

The purpose of the scrape is for the deer to mark its territory and the size of the scrape depends on the mass of the deer.

The scrapes are usually made by the deer before its breeding season.

How do deer make scrapes?

To make the scrapes, a deer usually travels to areas where they can mate successfully with the opposite sex.

If the deer finds out that another deer of its kind urinates in its scrape, it will move to another spot and make another scrape for itself.

But if it sees a doe urinate in its scrape, it stays at the same spot since he can mate with it.

Why do you need to care?

Every deer's behavior changes in one way or the other when they make their scrape or visit different scrapes.

That's why the scrape is a good place to hunt.

What is a Deer Rub?

deer rub 1

A deer rub is usually found on the tree. It's a part of the tree where the deer has been rubbed away by some deer antlers.

It is usually found right at the deer's head level and it's very easy to recognize. It is about 5 feets above the ground level.

How to identify a deer rub?

To identify a deer rub, you will most likely see rub lines on trees  where the deer has been rubbed.

The rubs are usually on one side of the tree and that side is the direction where the deer was moving.

What's the main reason of making rub?

Rubs are not made because deers are trying to remove velvet from their antlers.

The main reason for making the rub is for it to serve as a signal to other deers that there is a territory around their location.

The age of a deer determines the amount of rub it can make, small deers will make small rubs on small trees and large deers will make large rubs on big trees.

Deer Scrape vs Rub - What's Difference?

The main differences between the deer scrapes and the rub is very important so that you can have an updated knowledge about what is unique to each of them.

For this reason, we've compiled the differences between the scrapes and rubs in the table below:


Deer Scrape

Deer Rub

Where are they located?

Can be found on the ground.

Can be found on the tree.

How are they made?

It is made when a deer scrapes a hole in ground space and pours its waste in it.

It is made by a deer rubbing its antlers on a part of a tree.

Which is deeper?

The scrape is deeper than the rub.

The rub is less deep compared to the scrape.

What is their Appearance like?

It appears like an oval shaped hole.

It appears as a naked inner tree.

Which One is Better For Hunters?

Many hunters don't have a definite decision on whether it is better to hunt deer scrapes or rubs. Most of them think either of the two is good for hunting.

Although their thoughts are a bit true, in cases like this , it is good to have a particular focus and not just to sit on the fence.

To know the best targets for hunting deers, we are to consider 3 factors which are explained below:

1. How good is the target?

A large rub on a tree may mean that a mature deer has passed through with little guarantee of returning to the same point.

The same thing goes for a scrape but you can decide their direction of movement if several rubs or scrapes are in a row.

2. Where is the target found?

If you find many rubs and scrapes near their food sources then hunting over them is a good hit for success.

3. What kind of target do you focus on?

This is very important because there might be some changes to the food sources and the breeding areas of the deer at different periods of the year.

So it is very good that you focus on fresh targets for you to hunt with positive results.

Generally, it is better to focus your hunting on rubs than the scrapes because the rubs will let you know the traveling direction of the deer and that makes you one step closer to success.

Mature deers will often stay at a rub for  about one minute before turning back to their resting point.

Best Time to Hunt a Scrape:

best time to hunt scrape

Since most scrapes are made in November,  it is good for you to focus your hunting in the third quarter of the year.

During this period, you can hunt the scrape for as long as you want until the scrape is covered by leaves.

When it gets covered by leaves, there is no point in hunting it anymore because it'll just be a waste of time.

You can also hunt the scrape at night because that's when it is usually made by the deer and they also prefer to visit it during the night time.

Best Time to Hunt a Rub:

deer rub 2

You can hunt for a rub at any time of the day because deer like to check their rubs frequently and that gives you a chance to hunt successfully.

Personally, I prefer to hunt a rub than a scrape because I can easily determine the direction of movement of the deer without much stress.

You can hunt for a rub anytime from 9am to 7pm but make sure you take enough food along with you so that you won't be hungry.

You can click here to know more about the best foods you can eat while hunting.


We've gone a long way today and I know you've surely learnt something very important and helpful regarding the differences between deer scrapes vs rubs.

I am advising you right now to try hunting for rubs more than you've ever done so that you can attain a better level of success in hunting.

If you have any questions on today's topic, you can go ahead and ask the questions because I'll be happy to answer them.

Thanks for staying with me throughout this post and I hope you'll be happy to join the readers of the next post because it's going to be more interesting!

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.