22. February 2011 16:57
Now that we're well into February, reports of folks hitting the shed antler jackpot have been popping up left and right. Up until this past weekend's snow storm, conditions were absolutely perfect for sheds across most of the midwest. But now with a bit of a snow problem at hand, we all have a chance to stay inside for awhile and rethink our shed hunting strategy for the rest of the season. So if you've yet to strike it rich in antler gold this year, fear not. There is plenty of time and tons of bone yet to be found. For those looking for an extra edge in your search for sheds, I've listed a few simple tools that can without a doubt help you increase your shed count in 2011. Read on for more about how trailcams, supplemental feeds and "shed knocking devices" can help you bring home more bone this spring!
1. Trail Cameras: Using trail cameras is a key to success for most deer hunters, but this time of year, it can be especially important to your shed hunting success. Trail cameras are the ultimate tool for determining the timing of antler casting in your area and this tiny bit of information can be crucial to your eventual shed count. By monitoring the antler status of your bucks, you can wait to start shed hunting until the majority of bucks have shed. This way you won't be wasting time searching before antler's are cast and you'll avoid spooking bucks off your property before they have the chance to drop their antlers in your area! I think in most cases it is a better idea to wait longer before shed hunting an area, than to go in too early and spook bucks out of the area that are still packing.
2. Attractants/Supplemental Feeds: A whitetail buck's life revolves around food during the winter and any time you can narrow down where a buck is feeding, you'll have a better chance of finding his sheds, By providing a consistent attractant and/or supplemental food source for deer (if legal in your state), you'll encourage deer to spend more time in the immediate area, which will then hopefully lead to more sheds being left near by! An attractant or supplement, such as Big & J's BB2 or a Trophy Rock , works great in combination with trail cameras to bring buck's into camera range too!
3. Shed Knocking Devices: There are many different and creative ways to create a "shed knocking device", but the basic premise is the same. This "device" must somehow hit or ensnare an antler, to knock off soon to be shed antlers. This should then help you collect antlers in a common location, rather than having them scattered around the timber or larger food sources. One easy to build contraption I've heard of involves arranging 4 hay bales in the form of an X, with only their corners touching. This formation of bales should leave a square in the middle, in which you can then pour corn or a similar attractant. Hopefully when a buck puts his head down into the inner square or anywhere near a hay bale to eat the corn, he'll knock off a loose antler! There are plenty of other contraptions out there, so do some searching on Google or just be creative and put something together on your own!
Good luck in your hunt for sheds these next few months and if you have any other recommended tools, let us know in the comments!
31. January 2011 01:10
The first days of February often signal the dawn of shed hunting season for whitetail freaks across the country, so if you haven't already, let me be the first to ring in the new shed hunting season! Over the next two months thousands of shed heads will be hitting the crop fields, river bottoms and ridge tops of whitetail country in search of ivory white gold and I'll be right there along with them. Although my shed hunting success rate has been less than impressive in the past, as evidenced by the monster shed pictured above, I've been lucky enough to pick up a handful of great tips from some of the best in the business. So before you head out the door to find that fallen bone, consider a few of the shed hunting tips below and if you're the generous type, feel free to send a few of your finds my way!
- Be a strategic shed hunter. Rather than spending your shed hunting hours walking every inch of your property, focus on surveying only a few core areas and search them with a fine toothed comb. The high priority spots should be the sections of a primary food source that are getting hit the hardest, known buck bedding areas and main trails leading between the two.
- Scout before shed hunting! Before you go shed hunting, do some work to determine those primary food sources right now. If you can pinpoint what corner of a food source is getting the most action this time of year, you can significantly narrow down your search and you'll also know what bedding areas to search the hardest.
- When searching trails, pay special attention to any land feature that could possibly knock a buck's antler off. For example, creek or fence crossings, low hanging branches and thick brushy areas. Although I personally haven't seen it, I know many folks that have actually found sheds hanging in a tangle of branches or brush along trails.
- Always bring binoculars. When beginning the search of a field, survey the surrounding area with a binocular scan. If you ever spot something that has even a slight possibility of being an antler, get closer and have a better look. A wise shed hunter once wrote, "when in doubt, check it out."
- Consider training your dog to shed hunt! More and more folks are training their dogs to find antlers and I've been told that a well trained shed hunting dog should more than double your antler count. If you have a puppy you want to train, step #1 is to start getting your pup obsessed with antlers. Find a small shed and make it his new favorite toy. Once he gets hooked, he'll be just as big a shed head as you!
Hopefully with these tips and a little good luck you'll be filling your truck with plenty of bone this year. So good luck shed hunting this spring and if you have any other great shed hunting tips, feel free to share them in the comments!