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- Prostaff Member Steve Johnson
With the sun setting on the 2010/2011 hunting season, my thoughts of the bucks I chased all fall are as bright as ever. I am still running my trail cameras to monitor which bucks have made it and have a great chance of growing a year older.
Keeping the trail cameras in the woods even after the hunting season has ended allows me to monitor when the bucks on our farms begin to drop their antlers. Shed hunting is becoming a favorite pastime for me for many reasons. Finding a great set of sheds from a buck you’ve hunted all fall can be very rewarding. It can also tell you a lot of where the buck lives, where he feels safe and how he might use the land to his advantage.
This article isn't going to go into great depths about shed hunting or the effects it can have on seasons to come. What I am going to cover is how that shedding process is coming along, at least on our farms. One of the toughest things about shed hunting is waiting until the antlers have hit the ground!
Today I stopped by one of our farms to check some cameras. Arriving a little early I decided to go for a little walk to look for sheds. After about an hour of walking through some areas I knew bucks were traveling I came up empty handed. I knew it was a little early still, but the excitement of finding the first sheds of the season was too much for me. After I got to the cameras it was easy to see why I wasn't able to locate any sheds. Of the 245 pictures on my trail camera every buck still had a full set of headgear as of January 29th…
As of right now I believe most bucks in this area still have antlers attached to their heads. I will continue to use the cameras to monitor when the bucks begin to really shed their antlers. Last year we had quite a few pictures of bucks sporting both antlers in mid-February. We began to have good success finding sheds on a regular basis around the first week of March. I will use the cameras to best estimate when most of the antlers have hit the ground. When that happens, I plan on wearing out a good pair of shoes finding sheds and learning more about how the deer use the land I have access to hunt. If you make time to do the same, I’m sure you will learn a little more about the bucks in your area with every trip afield!