Shed Hunting… When and Where…?

Steve Johnson

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  • Category Deer Hunting
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  • Prostaff Member Steve Johnson

The hunting season is over for most of us and if that leaves a sick feeling in your stomach then “shed hunting season” might be just what the doctor ordered. Shed hunting is an important part of year round scouting that any serious hunter should employ. And who doesn't love antlers, especially big ones! Every antler you’ve seen this year is out there (or soon will be) just lying in the leaves waiting to be found!

Finding shed antlers gives you a great jumpstart on next years hunting season. It will give you confirmation of which bucks survived the hunting season which is always good. It will also give you some insight into how many mature bucks might be living on your farm and how many you might have next year.

Searching for sheds also gives great insight into where these mature bucks go when hunting pressure hits the woods and where the late season food sources might be. This information can help you make educated late season moves that might fill your tag long after the rut is over.

Shed antlers aren't always easy to find but there are a couple ways to increase your odds. Use your trail cameras to figure out when the antlers are dropping. If a buck is still carrying around his rack, then you won't be able to find it lying on the ground, simple enough. All bucks don't lose their antlers the same week, but by monitoring trail cameras you can get a feel for when the bucks start to drop their antlers. When you start to see bucks with half of a rack or no rack at all, it's time to put on your hiking boots.

Start with the food sources. Fields where deer are feeding can be a quick and easy place to find sheds. Look often, as I said all bucks don't shed the same day so you might find nothing one day and a matching set of a monster the next. Another great place to find sheds is bedding areas. This time of year, bucks are feeding and sleeping and not much else. So there is a good chance they have dropped their antlers at one place or the other. We have had quite a bit of snow this year so south facing hillsides could also yield some great results as bucks will be using those areas to stay warm and out of deeper snow. Keep in mind, bucks like to bed in blown down trees. This isn't the easiest place to look, but if you’re in a bedding area it might be worth a good look around a big blow down, you never know what you might find.

Keep looking! I can't tell you how many times I’ve gone out and not found a single shed, then the next time I find three or four. Some days are better then others and some areas are better then others, it's just like hunting. Stick with it and you’ll surely find what you’re looking for...

Posted by Steve Johnson under Deer Hunting on February 2, 10 09:38 AM | Permalink

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