Learning From Shed Antlers: Murphy’s Law on Whitetails

By Brodie SwisherMarch 30, 2022

While shed hunting can often be overrated as a means of taking inventory or scouting for fall hunting season, there is information to be gleaned from antlers found in the field. 

In the video below, Brian Murphy of HuntStand talks about the lessons we can learn from the shed antlers we pick up each year. 

Gathering Info from Shed Antlers

I.D. Shed Antlers with Trail Cam Images – When you find a shed antler, go back and see if you can identify the buck that dropped it through images on your trail camera. Some will be easier than others, particularly when they have antlers with character. 

Group Sheds by Age Class – You can quickly take inventory of the bucks you find on your property and get an idea for age class when you begin to sort them out. It’s a fun and informative way to see what you’re finding and where the different age class of deer seem to hang out in the late winter to early spring.   

Learning From Shed Antlers: Murphy's Law On Whitetails
Murphy says that antler sheds can tell you a lot more than you might think.

Any Pedicle Damage? – Does the shed antler exhibit any sign of pedicle damage? The result could be abnormal antler growth in the following season. Make note of these bucks and you’ll have clues when you see changes or unique antler growth the following season. 

Time the Buck Dropped the Antler – The timing of when a buck drops a shed antler can indicate its overall health. Early drops can indicate a buck that was stressed, be it nutritionally, or otherwise. Bucks holding antlers longer indicate a deer that’s receiving better nutrition, or a higher level of testosterone. 

Where Were the Antlers Found? – Tracking where you find antlers each year can give you clues to a deer’s winter/spring pattern. You can also begin to see travel and movement patterns when you cross reference winter/spring ranges with where you’re finding that buck during its summer/fall patterns.  

Learning From Shed Antlers: Murphy's Law On Whitetails

What do you think? Do you put much thought in the shed antlers you find each year? Should you?

Comment below and let us know your thoughts on the information gathered from shed antlers. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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