Rub Line Tactics - How to Target a Mature Buck

Rub Line Tactics - How to Target a Mature Buck

Deer are very habitual and have patterns that we can follow and learn from. Targeting a certain mature buck when hunting whitetail can be difficult and very challenging. What is the best way to get close to a buck between the bedding and food sources? One way to gain valuable intel on where these bucks move is to discover their rub lines. 

These mature bucks are territorial and continue to use the same routes that they are comfortable with. Rub lines are a systematic establishment of a bucks presence in an area from him creating a line of rubs on trees or posts. Finding a rub line can give you an advantage over a buck and keep you a step ahead of him with this knowledge of his patterns. 

How to Find Rub Lines

When you are doing your scouting, look for rub lines that follow a path that these bucks typically take from point A to point B. These are usually between the food source and their bedding areas. Locating heavily used paths is the easiest way to find these rub lines. These mature bucks will follow behind other deer to begin to figure out their smell prior to the does going in estrus. These bucks know the smell of these other deer, mainly does, to give them an idea of who they can breed with during the rut. 

Since these heavily used paths have a lot of deer movement, follow them to see if that's where the mature bucks are moving as well. If you begin to notice scrapes and rubs, look to see if they continue. If you continue to notice large rubs that are following one after another, you have found the rub line. We have used a topographical map or hunting app to mark each rub as you find them.  Then, the topo map will provide an overview of the buck’s line of travel. This area is where he feels comfortable, safe, and is establishing his presence. 

Setting Up For Success

Now that you have located a rub line, this is where it really matters. Setting up on these rub lines with tree stands or blinds can increase your chances for  encounters. Putting sets up on these rub lines between the food source and bedding gives you increased possibilities of a shot when they are moving during the daylight between two locations.

Trail cams are important on these rub lines to give an idea of what which buck is actually working these rub lines. Place your cameras facing down the trail to give you a better shot of catching a buck walking on his path. For more information on trail camera strategies, subscribe to the Leap Outdoors email list and download your FREE 14-page trail camera strategy guide. 



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Follow the paths: Success starts with identifying travel corridors


Set up along the rub lines: Get ready for action!

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