For some outdoorsmen and women, March can be a time of idleness and longing for the next deer season. Shed hunting is one way to get a deer hunting fix while you prepare for the next season – and it may be able to give you an edge over other hunters.
Well-known deer manager and writer, Bob Zaiglin of Houston, Texas, a certified wildlife biologist, has overseen numerous Texas ranches through the years. According to Zaiglin, hunting sheds helps you learn where deer are concentrated on any particular piece of property. The area where you find the most sheds will be the regions where you will discover the most deer. Also sportsmen can pinpoint the corridors deer are using to enter agricultural fields to feed, water and bed and the places where the deer are hiding from hunting pressure.
Shed hunters also may find one of the most discouraging sights in all of nature – two bucks with antlers locked in combat, and both deer dead. When a hunter discovers two locked racks, the first thing he knows is that the sex ratio of the deer herd is probably approximately one buck for each doe, because bucks fight more and therefore lock horns more often when there are fewer does. Finding two bucks locked in combat was thought to be very uncommon in past years. However, one time, the ranch I managed had 15 bucks radio-collared. Out of those 15 bucks on the 100,000-acre ranch, one of those radio-collared bucks locked up with another deer. One year we found two sets or four bucks that locked antlers – one pair in December and the other in February. These bucks were a tremendous size. Two of these deer had racks that scored close to 170 points on Boone and Crockett. When you’re out hunting sheds, you may discover bucks with locked antlers.
Read more from Bob Zaiglin on using shed antlers to study deer by clicking here. To read the final part of this series on shed hunting with Bob Zaiglin, click here.