Signpost Rub Research | Setting Trail Cameras Over Signpost Rubs

Large Signpost Rub on Black Ash Tree
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I’ve done a lot of research with my trail cameras to figure out mature bucks, but I haven’t done a lot of signpost rub research. Deer act a little different in the big woods than they do in more populated areas. For this reason, I’m curious when bucks use signposts rubs.

Will they check them all year long? Do they use them during a particular part of the rut? Do they forget about them after the pre-rut? Or do they continue to use them during all periods of the rut?

Signposts and Big Buck Habits

As I’ve learned more about whitetails, it’s become apparent how habitual they are, especially mature bucks. They seem more set in their ways because they’ve found what keeps them alive so they replay that habitat loop year after year.

Of course, there are some exceptions because nature will throw curveballs. For example, food sources may change so which will cause the deer to alter their movements from year to year. But on years with similar conditions, it is more than likely bucks will be doing the same thing at the same time of the year.

This is powerful information because this means game camera information from previous years can be used to get the upper hand on a mature buck. I’ve seen this time and time again on my tens of thousands of trail camera photos.

A Signpost Rub That A Buck Brought Me to While Tracking Him In Snow
A Signpost Rub That A Buck Brought Me To While Tracking Him In Snow

Signpost Rubs – Game Camera Research

I have a lot of questions about signpost rubs and I’m excited to get them answered this year. I will be placing a couple of trail cameras in a small area with many signpost rubs and a few scrapes. If I can determine when bucks use signposts the most, then I can figure out how to maximize my time in the big woods.

This can be especially useful information for big woods bowhunters and during the early rifle season when there may be no snow for tracking.

Gathering Intel Using My Game Cameras

UPDATE: Here is The Information From My Trail Camera Research:

When Do Bucks Use Signpost Rubs? | 4-Month Trail Camera Study

I plan to leave a couple of cameras out over the signposts rubs and let them soak for the entire season, I won’t even check them once until the season is over. I will be hunting this area, which is the only thing that could potentially have a negative effect on my intel as bucks might not frequent the area as much if it has human scent.

However, the big woods is a little different in that deer are usually not coming to an area frequently because the woods are so vast, so my scent will likely appear old to them. For big woods bucks, I don’t believe infrequent instances of human scent have much of an impact on their behavior because they are not as pressured as deer found in more populated areas.

Future Signpost Rub Research

I have one location in mind where I will be setting a few cameras, I would like to place more cameras out over different signpost rubs so I can compare results. But for this year, I’m just going to place them in this one area.

Based on my previous experience, it is likely that the timing and behavior that is found in this area will likely have the same results as other areas. In the following years, I plan to have more cameras on more signpost rubs to confirm the results I find this year. Hopefully, I will be able to nail down a timeframe that shows when bucks visit signposts rubs.


I’m excited to figure out if there is some information that can be gained from tail camera information over signpost rubs. Based on the habitual behavior of whitetails from year-to-year I believe there is going to be some useful information – stay tuned for an updated post after the hunting season.

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Article Written By: Jason Tome

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