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!