Shed Antler Hunting 101: Tips & Tricks to Shed Hunting Domination
Welcome to shed antler hunting 101! Allow this article to serve as your ‘beginners guide’ to locating antler scraps, and soon enough you’ll be on your way to total shed hunting domination!
Shed hunting has several benefits. First off, it can provide important insight and information about the deer on your property, unknown trails and hunting spots, sheds of unseen deer, and even great places to chase turkeys come spring time.
Without taking up too much of your time, let’s dive right into it:
Slow down and look. Search for sheds with the same approach as you would with a faint blood trail. Take it slow and scan the ground for heavily used trails and other recent deer sign. Too often we get in a rush and miss a lot that is right in front of us. That’s true for many aspects in life, but especially shed hunting.
Ease Into It
Begin walking the edges of fields. Bucks have survived the winter and will be looking for food to bulk up for their next antler growth. Bucks may be cruising field edges, so walk the perimeter looking for sheds. Sheds will be easier to spot in the open fields than in the woods.
Check places where deer often cross fences. When bucks jump a fence, the landing may cause a loose antler to fall. If a buck attempts to slide under a fence, the slightest tug could pull an antler off.
Normally we avoid stepping into a buck’s bedroom, but easing through after the season could prove beneficial, informative, and productive. Stay conscious to cause the least disturbance as possible. Enter when the deer are least likely to be there. A bedding area can be a treasure chest of shed antlers and information.
Look to the Hills
In the cold of winter and early spring, deer like to rest on southern facing hillsides to soak up the sun. They are as likely to shed their antlers while basking in the warmth as any other time.
Hunt in the Shade
While it may seem sunny days would help you spot fallen sheds better, that’s actually not always the case. Late evenings, early mornings, and overcast skies tend to be best, as they provide plenty of contrast – for you photographers out there, think ideal conditions for taking photos. The same lighting conditions make for the best shed antler hunting too. If the sun is shining, a shed may glimmer as well, but the ground it’s resting on may also shine too – especially if laying in some snow. This makes finding sheds on sunny day particularly tough, as the landscape looks like a lot like an overexposed photo. Overcast skies amplify the contrast instead of washing out colors.
Bucks will shed their antlers in the most random of places. Checking and allocating your shed hunting time to the places they spend the majority of their time will improve your odds. Make it easier on yourself. Spend your time where you are most likely to find a shed instead of walking aimlessly through the woods.
No day spent in the woods is a bad one, so get out there and cover some ground for sheds!
Where have you found the most success hunting sheds?