If you’ve had difficulty finding sheds in previous seasons, or if this is your first time going shed hunting, you may learn more about some of the methods and tips that expert hunters use by visiting this page: shed hunting strategies. Some of the suggestions are not well known, but they can make a significant difference, so take the time to go through this article if you have the opportunity.
What is shed hunting?
When antler-bearing species, such as deer, elk, caribou, and moose shed their antlers naturally, shed hunting is the activity of going out into the woods and seeking for them. Because no two antlers are ever same, people choose to use them as ornaments rather than for hunting.
There are a variety of reasons why people go shed hunting. Some people simply enjoy the activity and the satisfaction that comes from viewing and displaying a freshly shed antler in their home, without any ulterior motives. Some hunters even go out hunting in order to sell their antlers to collectors, furniture artisans, craftspeople, and health professionals.
The majority of shed hunters, on the other hand, are deer and large game hunters who use the locations of shed antlers to acquire crucial information about the behavior of their prey. Using the information collected from shed antlers, it is possible to put up a solid hunting strategy for the upcoming hunting season.
Regardless of your motivation for going shed hunting, we will provide you with all of the methods and suggestions that you will need to keep in mind if you want to bring a fresh antler home with you on your next expedition in the sections below.
Best time to look for deer sheds
Deer and the majority of other antler-bearing mammals will normally begin to shed their antlers between the middle of January and the middle of March. The amount of time required varies significantly depending on factors such as the deer’s geographic range, age, and environmental circumstances.
When it comes to antler-bearing mammals in a certain geographic range, the majority of them will normally shed their antlers within the same time period each year. A harsh winter might stress the deer, causing the bucks to give birth earlier than usual.
Nonetheless, with only a few notable exceptions, most antler-bearing mammals should have shed their antlers by early April, with only a few notable exceptions. As a result, the months of March and April are the optimum months to arrange a shed hunting trip.
In order to avoid pushing the bucks out of their refuge and having them shed their antlers on private property where you will not have permission to trek, it is preferable to start a little later rather than too early in the morning or evening. Ensure that you are aware of the rules and regulations in your state to determine when it is legal to collect sheds.
Where to find shed antlers
There are three main regions where shed antlers can be found: bedding areas, feeding locations, and travel corridors. Bedding areas are the most common location for shed antlers. You should begin your search around feeding areas because, during the winter months, bucks are more likely to seek out concentrated sources of food sources. Food plots, orchards, agricultural fields, and oak ridges are examples of what is meant by this.
These are the places where animals spend the majority of their time hiding from predators and relaxing during the course of their daily lives. Because they have a thick cover, they are easy to distinguish from others. Depressions, the heads of ravines, borders with depressions, and low regions shielded from the wind near feeding locations are all good places to seek for sheds, and they can be found in a variety of places.
Tall grasses, densely forested pockets of timber, and brushy thickets are also good places to look for bedding opportunities. During the winter, antler-bearing animals tend to prefer south-facing slopes so that they can get more exposure to the sun than they would otherwise.
Deer are always on the move, and travel corridors are the pathways that take them away from their bedding regions and to feeding and watering areas further away. Due to the fact that antlers are more likely to come loose during the jump and landing of fence crossings, more caution should be exercised when crossing fences.
Time your search
In the absence of a landownership or management arrangement, you will be vying with other hunters for sheds. You’ll also have to contend with mice, squirrels, and other creatures that prey on sheds for their calcium content, so plan accordingly. When hunting on public lands, you should make many trips to ensure that you are always one step ahead of other hunters in your area.
You can put off your search for squirrels until April if you are on private property where there aren’t many of them. However, if you are on private property and there are a lot of squirrels, you should go out of your house frequently. Although it may seem strange, a single squirrel can consume an entire shed in less than a week, which is rather remarkable.
Train your eyes
You will find it quite difficult to locate antlers on the ground if you are a newbie since antlers have a strong tendency to blend in with their environment. As a result, it is extremely vital to keep your eyes in good health. There are two options for accomplishing this. In the woods, you can carry an antler with you and then throw it over your shoulder as you begin your search for the animal.
It may seem strange, but it is effective, and it is one of the most effective ways to train your eyes if you are not naturally gifted at identifying shed antlers. Another option is to join a message board or online group, since most hunters are eager to share their discoveries in the same condition as they were discovered in the field.
When you look at photographs of antlers taken in a variety of terrains, settings, and weather conditions, you may train your eyes to recognize them more easily the next time you go antler hunting.
Don’t stop looking
In the spring, it is true that there are many vermin who will beat you to the prize and devour the antlers, but this is not always the case. In fact, it is more common in the summer. Even extremely ancient antlers can be found on the ground, and there will always be a plentiful supply of new antlers to be discovered.
As a result, even during the off-season, you should keep your eyes peeled for antlers on the ground since you never know when you might come upon one. Maintaining your ability to scan the trails on a summer trek or early-season scouting in the fall will help you maintain your eye-training year after year, and you may even come across antlers in unexpected areas.
Take it slow
While some hunters prefer to use ATVs to cover more land, this can result in a significant loss of antlers, not to mention the fact that it will startle the wildlife, and vehicles are not authorized on all hunting grounds in the United States.
Finding antlers is most successful when done carefully, and your attention should not be on how much ground you can cover but rather on how well you can scrutinize each inch of the ground you are covering. If you are not meticulous, it is very simple to miss antlers that are only a few feet away from you. It may take longer, but the outcomes will be more satisfying.
You should also attempt to keep your eyes on the ground because many first-time shed hunters have a tendency to stare a little too high while looking at rubs and branches, making it easier to overlook antlers.
A full day of shed hunting may be required due to the fact that the more ground you are able to cover, the greater the likelihood that you will come across antlers. Because of this, it’s critical to dress in the appropriate boots for the event. In order to be comfortable, waterproof, and breathable while trekking in early spring weather, you need invest in a pair of hiking boots.
Because you do not want to end a long day of hunting with blisters on your feet, it is also important to remember the value of wearing appropriate socks.
If you don’t want to waste time looking for feeding and bedding regions in far-off open spaces, you can also consider investing in a good pair of hunting binoculars.
Choose a cloudy or rainy day
Because of the glare from the sun, it might be difficult to distinguish between antlers and other objects under bright sunlight. You should try to plan your search on cloudy days if at all possible because they give more contrast, which makes it easier to identify the antlers.
Rainy days are preferred by many hunters because the rain helps to mat down the plants and leaves, allowing antlers to show out more clearly against the background. Another advantage of rain is that a wet antler emits a sheen that makes it very easy to distinguish it from others.
Take the family with you
Shed hunting is not a risky hobby, and as a result, you may bring your entire family, including children, along with you on your quest. Not only will your children have a good time, but their keen eyes and seemingly limitless amount of energy may be exactly what you need to clean up a messes around the house.
Children appreciate a good treasure hunt, and as long as you remember to pack enough of water and food, you can accomplish two goals in one day. Have a great time with your entire family and come home with a hefty load of antlers.