Shed hunting for antlers left behind by winter bucks is great, if you’re doing it right.
Contrary to a common misconception by those unfamiliar with hunting, deer naturally shed antlers. They have many uses, both in interior decorating or as a means of attracting deer during hunting season with antler rattling. The trick, of course, is locating a pair of naturally shed antlers first.
As hard as deer are to track, their antlers can be even harder. Deer tend to keep to remote, hard-to-reach areas, especially in the winter months. Additionally, there’s no guarantee the antlers will be easy to find even if you stumble on the right area. The odds are good that the antlers could be lost under debris or swept away in the nearest body of water. Moreover, the antlers are rich sources of calcium. Many animals, particularly squirrels, may beat you to them.
READ MORE: How To Shed Hunt
Nonetheless, the hunt can continue even if you’re not allowed to use your rifle or bow. Take these tips seriously if you want to have success shed hunting.
Start looking early
Most deer drop their antlers around mid-March, but some start as early as January. The sooner you start searching, the more likely you’ll beat other animals for the antlers.
Find feeding and bedding areas
The areas a deer frequents are likely to be the best places to look for antlers. If you walk between these areas, you’re likely to find your prize.
Fences are a great place to look for antlers. They can snag if a buck tries to go through, or jolt off if one tries to jump over.
Keep looking up
Antlers can snag in branches or bushes. Don’t look so intently at the ground that you miss what could be right at eye level.
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Be prepared to walk
Finding antlers is going to require a lot of legwork and time outdoors. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes, pack water, and pay close attention to wherever you do find antlers. Odds are this could be an excellent hunting spot next season.