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- Category Deer Hunting
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- Prostaff Member Steve Johnson
Searching for sheds is a great way to spend the dragging days of February and March after the season has ended. That being said, its not always easy, especially if you don't have fields to search. In recent years I’ve seen a few attempts to make “Antler Traps”, some good, some not so good.
I have one area that 4 or 5 decent bucks seem to be frequenting and I would really like to put my hands on their shed antlers. I decided the best way to do that would be to setup an Antler Trap. One major point to consider in these antler traps is not breaking the pedicel of the antler. So your “antler trap” must gently help the shedding process and not pull off antlers that aren't ready to come off. If you trap the antlers before they are ready, there is a chance you could break the pedicel of the antler and deformed or no antler growth is a very real possibility. One way to do this “gently” is to wait to setup any kind of Antler Trap until some antlers have already started to fall. Antlers usually turn very white before they fall off, this is a good indication the antlers are close. With the use of trail cameras and watching some fields where bucks are feeding in the evenings you can make an educated guess when would be a good time to setup the “Antler Trap”. I used this data along with talking to a few guys who had some good success find sheds over the weekend. Armed with this information I decided now was a good time.
This particular Antler Trap uses rubber bungee cords as a “helper” for the shedding process. I picked up 8, 4ft pieces of 3/8ths inch steel rebar, the kind used when pouring concrete. Then I used a handheld MPP torch (kind you can buy for $30ish) to heat the ends of the rebar until I was able to bend it into the shapes you see in the picture. I had to heat each piece twice to get both bends so the bungees would not slide down the rebar if a deer steps on it or pushes it down with their head or antlers.
It is VERY important to understand the steel will be extremely HOT for a long time after bending. The use of heavy duty heat resistant gloves is highly recommended!! As you can see here, my glove got a little too close, too soon! I was very lucky to pull away quickly enough to avoid getting badly burned! Use the right safety equipment and you’ll be sure you come out on the other end of this project unscathed!
Once I had my 8 pieces all bent as shown I took a large hammer, bag of corn (if legal), 8 heavy rubber bungee cords and headed for a woodlot I knew some bucks were frequenting. I took 4 pieces of the rebar and set them up roughly 18” apart in a line and hammered them into the ground until my bends were roughly 12” off the ground. After I had that done I stretched 2 bungee cords together to get the proper placement for the second piece of rebar. I then hammered the rebar in until my bend was 12” from the ground. After that I hooked two bungees together and stretched them to the bends in the rebar. This gave me a tight, flexible line that could gently tug on the antlers of bucks who visited the bait site.
After I had all 4 “rows” setup I spread the corn inside the area. This should attract the deer in the area and any bucks that are close to shedding their antlers should get a little nudge from the bungees and with any luck I will have a few nice sheds waiting for me within a week or so. I will be checking this setup later this week and writing “Part II” with pictures. I also have a trail camera setup on the “Antler Trap” so hopefully we will have some nice before and after pictures as well. Stay Tuned!
• (8) 4ft pieces of 3/8th inch Steel Rebar
• (8) Heavy Rubber Bungee Cords
• Hand-held torch (MPP is much hotter than propane and therefore faster, but either will work)
• Heavy duty heat resistant leather gloves
• Mini sledge hammer
• Bag of Corn (if legal)