Training Shed Antler Dogs: What You Need to Know & Things to Avoid


Shed hunting is not everybody’s cup of tea. In fact, its nearly fail-proof at drawing strange looks from folks who ask ‘what do you like to do on the weekends?’ Shed hunting is a lot like any other new activity you just picked up – it requires time, patience and practice to really get the hang of. Sure, the fact that you’re quite literally searching for a needle in a haystack can be a bit overwhelming, but this is where shed antler dogs come into play.

Shed hunting can be a great way to get some light exercise after a long winter, and scout for spring turkey season! But, after hours of searching for a shed with no success, it can be tempting to give up and go home..

But with a shed antler dog by your side, that can become a thing of the past. And you can easily teach your dog to do it!

In the video below, Jeff Fuller from Sporting Dog Adventures walks through some simple, yet effective tips for introducing your gun dog to sheds:

As Jeff says, it’s important to take the time necessary to master this introduction step. Otherwise, your dog may find sheds in thick cover and not bring them back to you. And if you’re in thick cover, you may not even realize your dog is actually doing the job you taught it!

Here are the main takeaways from the video you can bring with you the field next time you work on shed hunting with your dog:

  1. If the dog gets bored, that’s a wrap for the day. Come back tomorrow and try again, but if the dog still isn’t into it, go back and work on some simple obedience training – this can pay huge dividends later on in the dog’s life!
  2. Apply some deer scent to the shed you practice with to get your dog used to the smell.
  3. Be careful of the points on shed antlers. This goes back to the dog’s initial introduction to antlers as a puppy, because the LAST thing you want for your dog is to have a negative experience with something you want him to hunt and bring back to you.

One last thing to consider; your dog won’t become a master at sniffing out shed antlers after just one training session. Be prepared to take this one tiny step at a time. Chances are you’re also hoping your dog can be profound at retrieving green heads, and flushing a rooster from time to time, so don’t throw too much at them too fast! Go slow, be patient, and before you know it your gun dog will be bringing you shed antlers you likely never would have found otherwise.

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