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DEER RUBS #8485193 12/23/21 11:06 PM
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What is the actual purpose of bucks making rubs? I have alway heard that they did it in order to eliminate the velvet from the antlers and to strengthen their neck muscles . Now I am being told by another hunter, that he is seeing fresh new rubs in NE Texas now in late December. What do the deer gurus say? Thanks Daniel





Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8485258 12/23/21 11:48 PM
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I put rubs into 2 categories:
-Velvet rubs
-Territorial/Dominance rubs.

Velvet rubs are the first ones you see. They are simply made to rub the velvet off their antlers. Those are the ones you start to see late summer.

Territorial rubs are basically the same as a dog hiking his leg on every tree in the yard to show that is his territory. These start to pop up everywhere during pre-rut as the buck defines what is his. Scent will be left behind on these rubs by glands in the deers head. Many times during the rut a buck will also make a scrape at the same tree or very close by.

Dominance rubs are a little different but unless you see the buck make it you really wont know if its a territorial rub or a dominance rub. These are rubs that a buck will make to intimidate another buck that he can see. He really does not want to fight the other buck, but does not want him around either so he will start kicking a trees a** to show dominance over the other buck in hopes that the other buck will leave. If you see a rub well past peak rut its usually a buck just trying to visually intimidate another buck. In a way its a territorial rub but he is really not marking his territory, he is just trying to tell the other buck he needs to leave or he will kick his a**. I actually saw this happen 3 days ago and our peak rut is usually around October 20th. There was no does around to fight over and no need to mark his territory. He just wanted the other buck to leave by showing an act of aggression towards him by beating up a tree.

Re: DEER RUBS [Re: JCB] #8485269 12/24/21 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by JCB
I put rubs into 2 categories:
-Velvet rubs
-Territorial/Dominance rubs.

Velvet rubs are the first ones you see. They are simply made to rub the velvet off their antlers. Those are the ones you start to see late summer.

Territorial rubs are basically the same as a dog hiking his leg on every tree in the yard to show that is his territory. These start to pop up everywhere during pre-rut as the buck defines what is his. Scent will be left behind on these rubs by glands in the deers head. Many times during the rut a buck will also make a scrape at the same tree or very close by.

Dominance rubs are a little different but unless you see the buck make it you really wont know if its a territorial rub or a dominance rub. These are rubs that a buck will make to intimidate another buck that he can see. He really does not want to fight the other buck, but does not want him around either so he will start kicking a trees a** to show dominance over the other buck in hopes that the other buck will leave. If you see a rub well past peak rut its usually a buck just trying to visually intimidate another buck. In a way its a territorial rub but he is really not marking his territory, he is just trying to tell the other buck he needs to leave or he will kick his a**. I actually saw this happen 3 days ago and our peak rut is usually around October 20th. There was no does around to fight over and no need to mark his territory. He just wanted the other buck to leave by showing an act of aggression towards him by beating up a tree.



Like a couple of 10 year old kids on the school ground? Daniel





Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8485270 12/24/21 12:05 AM
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Seems like they also make them to mark trails.

Re: DEER RUBS [Re: huntincoach] #8485346 12/24/21 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by huntincoach
Seems like they also make them to mark trails.

Yes they do and I call these sign post rubs. You can follow the buck from his bedding area then across a pasture by his rubs. The side of the tree that the rub is on, is the direction he is traveling from...the rub tells you were he is going. I have seen huge rubs and put a trail camera on one way back in the early 90's. I thought for sure it would be a very large buck from the size of the tree(8" diameter) that was rubbed. There was 11 different bucks that rubbed that tree over a week long period. The oldest one was a 4 yr old looking buck. He might have scored in the 130's. There were 160" bucks in that area, but not one of them used the rub. Rubs this late in the season in many areas are for a secondary rut or doe fawns starting to come into heat.
Here are some rubs I have taken pics of over the years.
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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: stxranchman] #8485425 12/24/21 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by huntincoach
Seems like they also make them to mark trails.

Yes they do and I call these sign post rubs. You can follow the buck from his bedding area then across a pasture by his rubs. The side of the tree that the rub is on, is the direction he is traveling from...the rub tells you were he is going.


I would certainly agree with this in general and IF you have a 'rub line' to demonstrate the same. Not necessarily true on any single tree/bush. I've seen bucks rubbing the back of their antlers on trees as well. But yes...a line of rubs primarily on one side does indicate direction of travel. Sometimes a buck will use a secluded area and travel the same trail both directions and rub both sides of a tree also.


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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8485580 12/24/21 01:46 PM
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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: flintknapper] #8485659 12/24/21 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by flintknapper
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by huntincoach
Seems like they also make them to mark trails.

Yes they do and I call these sign post rubs. You can follow the buck from his bedding area then across a pasture by his rubs. The side of the tree that the rub is on, is the direction he is traveling from...the rub tells you were he is going.


I would certainly agree with this in general and IF you have a 'rub line' to demonstrate the same. Not necessarily true on any single tree/bush. I've seen bucks rubbing the back of their antlers on trees as well. But yes...a line of rubs primarily on one side does indicate direction of travel. Sometimes a buck will use a secluded area and travel the same trail both directions and rub both sides of a tree also.

Key word in post was follow. One single rub is not going to allow anyone to follow. I have also watched bucks rub with every part of their bases and beams on trees...front to back. No one buck will do the same IME. I have followed rub lines across a pasture from bedding to feed/water and back to bedding. Bumelia and Shinnery Oak trees in the Hill Country are their favorites...in the rising or setting sun they shine with an orangish tint. Very easy for me or a buck to see as you follow the line. Many of those had separate trails out of and then back into the bedding cover. A few had just one trail in and out.
IME Bucks really like or prefer a springy tree limb that is horizontal with the ground to rub on. I have cut many a cedar down and some larger oaks limbs that bucks will start to rub on and push them all over the place. I think they like the springy limbs or the resistance of the trunks moving for building up neck/shoulder muscles. I have taken a cedar limb and wired/screwed into the fork of another tree at a deer blind to make a rub site.


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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8487849 12/27/21 04:03 PM
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I've heard it said that deer are just one big scent gland from head to toe... Rubs and scrapes are ways to communicate for the deer but just what they reveal is mostly speculation and guesswork to all of us nose-blind humans.. I've seen many animals stop and take a whiff at a buck scrape and sometimes leave their own scent there.. dogs and hogs show the most interest ..

See for yourself..







Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8488135 12/27/21 09:55 PM
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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8490355 12/30/21 03:44 AM
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Relatively speaking, both big and smaller bucks will rub small trees, while only big bucks rub big trees. Larger cedars are preferred trees for bigger bucks. It's believed bigger bucks prefer the increased resistance from larger trees that aids in strengthening and enlarging their swollen neck muscles.

You can also gauge the size of the buck by the height of the rub.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 12/30/21 03:49 AM.

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Re: DEER RUBS [Re: DLALLDER] #8490363 12/30/21 03:51 AM
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I have put trail cams on larger rubs and had way more young to middle-age bucks rubbing those larger trees than mature bucks. Bigger bucks in the Hill Country will rub Bumelia trees first then cedars second. Any of the other species of oaks would be 3rd. South Texas it is black brush, granjeno, huisache or mesquites from what I have seen. I can't say they prefer one more than another. It varies from ranch to ranch.


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