Shed Season Success: Tips to Find More Sheds
For me, shed hunting is time to get in the woods and enjoy nature when it is not hunting season. It can be frustrating---the countless hours in the woods and the miles put on hunting for that "White Gold". But when I finally do find one, it is very rewarding.
The desire to find shed antlers from deer has created a passion for any deer hunter. After seeing bucks while deer hunting or in trail cam pictures, there is a goal to find the antlers from the buck(s) seen. I love to shed hunt, not only to try to find the antlers of the buck(s) I have seen but to see them up close and just know that next year that buck will be bigger. This year, I started taking my St. Bernard pup with me. Although he really doesn't find the sheds, he likes to carry them around and play with them once they've been found. And it's always fun to shed hunt with someone else as well, too. I have the opportunity to shed hunt on private land, so I am not competing with other hunters, just squirrels and mice. I found one this year that was already starting to be chewed on by a squirrel, but it's still a nice find.
Everyone has their own way and areas to look for sheds, below are my tips:
Where to Look
There are several areas that I like to check for antlers. I start my shed hunt on well-traveled trails. Look under pine trees, around fallen trees, bedding areas, fences, and ditches where the deer have to jump to cross, near the creeks, and in the food plots and open fields. Check areas where trees have rubs and also the southern hillsides. It's also a good idea to check thick brushy areas where deer have to duck to get through.
Keep Your Eyes Opened
Walk slow and keep your eyes to the ground. I always carry a pair of binoculars with me. When I see something that I may think is an antler in the distance, I check it with my binos. It usually ends up being what I call a "phantom antler", something like a cornstalk or light colored twig.
If you see something that *might* be a shed, check it out. You won't always see the entire antler laying on the ground. It may be tines down in the mud, buried under leaves, or even in the water.
When to Shed Hunt I generally do not start shed hunting until March, unless I get a trail camera picture of a buck missing one or both of his antlers. Shed hunting after the rain has been successful for me; the rain helps pat down leaves or vegetation to help the antlers stand out. Cloudy days are great too because you avoid the reflection from the sunlight.
Depending on where you live or shed hunt, there may be specific regulations for shed hunting, such as closed areas due to winter grounds or shed hunting season opening dates. Be sure to check regulations for your area before you head out.
What tips do you have to help you find more sheds?
Cara Thompson is an avid outdoorswoman from Wisconsin who loves all things hunting and fishing. Follow her on Instagram at @cara_wi_huntress.