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Scouting on Sunday as I usually do I came acrossed some very fresh good sized rubs. Not the early ones where he's trying to get the velvet off, but ones you would usually see closer to the rut. Quite a few as well. I usually associate that kind of rubbing with territory marking and we usually call the area his "bedroom". It was just kind of odd yet interesting to see that this early.

The property I am on is very large with a mix of thick mountainous ground, almost swampy bottoms with numerous creeks in, old growth bottoms, ag fields, and orchards. All intersected by a few roads. The deer are very hard if not impossible to patten, because off all the available food sources.

Any way, we usually stay up on the mountain, but this was down in the "moist" bottom with older trees and not much undergrowth like we are use to. In the summer months we have out numerous trail cams around the property to get an idea of what's around. It just so happens that two of the biggest bucks we have on camera were not more than 200 yards away from these rubs.

A theory that we came up with was that the dominant buck probably an older one is staking out his claim early. There are other sizeable bucks in the area and he knows it. I would estimate that there are at least 10 different bucks that we have pictures of in the 100-120" range and 2 pushing 130". I know for a fact that deer move through the out the property frequently crossing hard roads so especially later in the year they could be anywhere. Even though we don't usually hunt down there, we are considering trying it after seeing those rubs. Something that would make it hard though is there isn't any defined trails like we are used to seeing and hunting. Because the woods is more open it seems as if they just wander.

What's your opinion of seeing rubs like that this early in the year? Do you agree with our theory, or is it something else?
 

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Once their antlers are hard territories are established...


Rubbing is part of that...


Most buck beds I find have rubs within a couple feet of the bed.

I've found several fresh rubs way after the season...shavings on top of the snow..


It all means something to the deer...marking territory..leaving scent..


Some of the biggest rubs are known as sign post rubs..I've literally seen telephone poles used..every buck that passes by usually rubs it..but you'd think only a monster buck can rub a telephone pole..



Size of a rub generally tells me nothing..I've watched giant bucks work tiny trees...and I've watched 1.5yo bucks rub trees their little rack didn't fit around...

Rub HEIGHT on the other hand does have some merit IMO but a lot of unknowns come into play...so even that is hard to judge..


Fresh rubs tell you one thing for sure...a BUCK was there...

Always good to find fresh buck sign!!
 

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My Ohio buck I killed last Friday was making fresh territorial rubs in the oaks where I killed him, his way of saying this is my spot. These early season rubs when fresh are a great place to hunt when they are around a food source like apples or acorns.
 

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Two things I have noticed over the years with rubs and the timing of them. Years with good mast crops produce more rubs, and earlier rubs. Only makes sense as this tells you they are spending time there. Unlike years with no mast, they spend more time in fields and rubs are just not as noticeable.

Also when you have a few mature bucks in an area, rubs seem to pop up everywhere. As if they know there's competition and want to advertise to the other bucks.

I had a situation like this years ago where 3 mature bucks were running. They had already established rub lines and this was a week or so before the season in PA, real early. When I found this sign befor the Season I hung a stand on a inside corner, and stayed out till the first day, and arrowed a 130in. 9 point on the first day.

So my guess is you have a few good bucks there, so play your cards right, while the sign is there.
 
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