Deer rubs are created when a male deer rubs his forehead and antlers against the base of a tree. In late summer and early fall rubs are usually made by bucks rubbing the velvet off their newly acquired antlers. During the rut and late season, rubs can be made by aggressive bucks strengthening their neck muscles or bucks just marking out their home territory. A bucks forehead gland will leave a scent to let other deer know who made the rub. Bucks sometimes use the same tree to rub but, as often as not, rubs are made at random before and during the rut. It will be easy to tell a tree that has been visited and rubbed multiple times from a tree thats just been rubbed once. The trees can vary in size from just a little sapling to a mature tree 4″ to 8″ inches wide. Bucks usually prefer a soft tree such as a cedar or a pine. Most experienced hunters say that the bigger the rub the bigger the deer. A spike does not have the spread between his antlers that it would need to rub a tree that a mature deer can get his horns around. Now that does does not mean big bucks rub only big trees. Remember big bucks can also rub thick bushes to remove velvet from its antlers.
Rubs are fairly easy to spot in the woods. They are also a definite sign that a buck has been through the area. I look for a fresh rub line or a heavy concentration of fresh rubs when looking for stand placement. More often than not, you can pin point a bucks home territory by the rub lines that surround it. When scouting for rubs you should never touch them or spread to much human scent around the area. If you find several big fresh rubs with deep gouges and pieces of bark laying around it. Hang your stand or make a mental note of the area and get out. Chances are you have a wall-hanger frequenting the area.