Each late winter and early spring brings out the hunters of shed deer antlers. These deer antler hunting tips will help you in the quest for some of your own!
In late winter, it is time to start keeping your eyes on the ground when out in the wild (and even your own backyard), as deer will begin to shed their antlers after the rut season is over.
Whitetail deer, since they are most prominent, get the larger share of shed hunting attention, but elk antlers can be found as well, and actually earn quite a bit of money if sold to the right person.
Location, location, location
In different locations, the dates at which the deer will shed their antlers varies. Here in Ohio, whitetail deer begin to shed their antlers after December, and will continue to all the way into early May in some areas.
Where do you start looking? In essence, everywhere the bucks have been in the last month is a good start. If you hunted the area, did you place bait or scent lures out to attract them? What deer trails were extremely active? Where were their bedding areas when the cold winds of winter were whipping around? What ridge lines did the deer travel in search of food and to watch out for predators? Put yourself in the buck's place.
Shed hunting technique
How do you spot them? It does take practice but soon you will be able to see them pretty easily.
Look for anything out of place in the woods; more often than not the bleach white of bones can stand out in a grassy or brushy area. The glint of a wet antler in the sunlight is a give away, and so is a white-colored antler shed on the dark forest floor.
Binoculars are an immense help. Take your time and scan every inch you can.
Some deer shed hunters have employed man's best friend to help them in their search for antlers. Some dogs pick this up quickly, but some do not. I have yet to use a dog, but many swear by them and if you already have a dog that brings home bones, you are ahead of the game.
Deer will drop their antlers next to each other, or miles apart. It's hit or miss. Finding two from the same deer is akin to finding two needles in a haystack. Okay, maybe not that difficult, but you get the idea. It's rare, but it can happen.
When you find one, make slow circles around that area to see if you can find the second matching one.
Reap the rewards
What do you do with them after you find them? You can sell them, use them in craft ideas or set them around the home for some rustic decoration. Another good use is a rattling antler set. Calling in bucks next season with the real thing is a great way to use a mimicked sound to increase your chances of hunting success.
Get out there now and start hunting for those deer shed antlers before some one else finds them or the mice and squirrels eat them for the calcium content. It is great exercise and great fun!