Shed Hunting 101on Dec 27, 2012
As most hunting seasons across the country begin to wind down, bowhunters everywhere will soon be looking for a way to fill the “hunting void”. For many, there is no better way to accomplish this than to hunt for shed antlers.
The Need For Antlers
Why shed hunt? Shed hunting provides not only some cool antlers from the bucks you may have been chasing throughout the fall, but it can also provide valuable information in a multitude of arenas. For example, it can reveal what bucks successfully survived the hunting season. Ever have a buck disappear in the middle of the rut and think he’s gone forever and then find his shed after the close of season? Only shed hunting can provide that type of elation for many hunters. Often times shed antler hunters will come across the sheds of deer they didn’t even know existed, which is another exciting event.
Searching for antlers in the off-season has numerous benifits.
Aside from these two happenings, shed hunting allows you to venture into places that you normally wouldn’t go traipsing around during the hunting season. These include bedding areas and “sanctuaries” if your property contains one. And, with the colder temperatures and snow that much of the United States will experience in January, February and March, the deer will be pounding food sources during daylight hours; leaving the bedding area for you to find antler gold without pushing deer. Exploring these bedding areas may provide you with valuable information that can be put to good use the following fall.
Location, Location, Location
Where does one look for sheds? Well, deer are fairly simple creatures, especially when they aren’t being pressured. Thankfully, when the antlers start falling the deer have typically moved back into a feeding/bedding pattern. And unlike November, when a buck could be anywhere in a three mile radius, they will shrink their home area and spend the majority of their time either feeding or bedded down. For shed hunters, this pattern makes success easier to attain by narrowing down the search areas. These include: Bedding areas, food sources and the travel routes in between. Grass and CRP fields are also excellent places to find shed antlers from big deer as are winter food sources. Also, don’t forget that creek crossings and fence crossings are worth a look as sometimes the impact of landing will jar the antlers loose.
Without a doubt, elk sheds are easier to find than those of a whitetail.