Some years ago Michigan biologist John Ozoga wrote a great book entitled, Whitetail Country. In it John points out that the first good-sized rubs–on trees 2 to 4 inches in diameter–that you find this September were made by bucks 3½ years or older to mark their home ranges and “to proclaim their control over a given area.”
Other bucks and does will see the fresh blazes, and they might come over and lick or rub their heads on them. Those deer will get a whiff of the rub maker’s fore-head and salivary scent, and they’ll know who’s living there large and in charge.
Finding clusters of rubs like that in September is a key strategy for your entire season. From late September through December, most of the bucks that blazed those rubs will spend 90 percent of their time on the same ridges and in the same bottoms where you find the sign.
So this fall, find the early rubs; scout out from them a couple hundred yards for the best food sources, trails, funnels and bedding thickets; and hang some tree stands on those strategic points. Hunt those stands smartly all season, without putting too much pressure on any one stand, and you’ll see bucks.