Which type of shed hunter are you?
Now that we're about halfway through February, we're starting to feel the itch to go out and hike for some dropped deer antlers. Shed hunting is a terrific way to spend time in the outdoors in the late winter months between.
Over the years, we've noticed some distinct shed hunting personalities out there, and have classified some of them here. Which one are you? Maybe you represent more than one. We're sure your hunting buddies represent one or several of the others!
The Luckless Searcher
Don't worry, even some of the best shed hunters in the world start off in this category. I know I did!
This person is often a novice who is new to shed hunting. Why can't they find any antlers? Well, that depends. Often it's just because the person is making little mistakes. They might be walking their hunting area too fast, trying to cover too much ground in one hike or they simply aren't looking in the right place.
What makes things more frustrating is that sometimes this person is doing everything right. They spend hours in their grid searching thick cover and feeding areas. They hunt sheds during cloudy or rainy days when conditions are prime to spot them. Despite all this, they still have no luck spotting even a single tine.
They've read every article with shed hunting tips and they've watched every video on the subject. They may have even begged a successful shed hunting friend to take them out and show them what they're doing wrong. But the luckless searcher either finds very little or they get consistently skunked.
Unfortunately, many would-be shed hunters never get out of this stage. They may spend a whole spring antler hunting, find nothing and then give up completely. It's a shame.
Shed hunting does have a high learning curve in most instances, but at the very least you're getting some great exercise while you're out there trying.
This one is the exact opposite of the luckless searcher. He or she can be a frustrating case for others to observe.
Often, a veteran antler hunter takes this person on their first shed hunting trip. They chuckle and expect some trials and tribulations as they show them the ropes of finding sheds.
Then, on the first food potential spot, they go: "Is that a shed?" Does it sound like something you've witnessed?
To make things more frustrating, it's often a matched set or a gigantic single side from a mature buck. This person may end up with the nickname "Eagle Eye" because he or she spots every single antler in the woods, both large and incredibly small. Some of those smaller finds leave folks dumbfounded. How did he spot that 3-inch spike in the leaf litter?!?
This soon becomes a running theme as the natural manages to out do any veterans every single time. For each single antler you find, he or she picks up three.
The natural seems to have the most ridiculous luck, too. He or she will find antlers by stepping on them, or they'll jump a big whitetail buck only to watch both sides fall as it runs off. You can't believe their luck and ask yourself constantly: "Why did I introduce this person to shed hunting again?"
The Deadhead Finder
To be honest, we feel sad for this guy or gal. This person loves deer hunting. They're often a die-hard bowhunter who spends all season patterning those big bucks. They have pet names for all the deer: "Tank," "Goliath," or "Mr. Big."
As much as this person loves hunting the animals themselves, he or she lives for shed season. Every year they are out hitting the south-facing slopes and other hotspots. They may even be a decent shed hunter. But they also find an inordinate amount of bucks left for dead, having succumbed to any number of causes.
Every time you see this person, they've got a new deadhead to show you. You can feel the heartbreak when you receive a text saying: "I found Mr. Big."
The Deadhead Finder just wants to find big sheds like everyone else, but every time they find an antler it's still attached to the skull.
This person's bad luck is simply unbelievable. They're the most likely to find the two biggest bucks in the woods dead and locked together. While that may be a cool find to some, it's another disappointment for the Deadhead Finder. Someone get this shed hunter a lucky rabbit's foot!
The Accidental Finder
This person often finds a ton of huge antlers every shed hunting season while putting in a minimal amount of effort. That's usually because most of their finds are totally by accident.
They'll be out during turkey season and sit on a matched set, or they'll be checking a trail camera and find one on the way out.
Whenever the Accidental Finder dedicates time to shed hunting, they get skunked. But any other time? They're racking them up!
They also tend to find antlers in weird locations like backyards, golf courses or wooded strips behind shopping malls.
This shed hunter is often a farmer, road worker, surveyor or other person that works outdoors a lot. That only increases their number of finds. This person is also the type most likely to spot one in a field while driving down a highway. It leaves you wondering how this person can be so lucky?
The Grid Searcher
Slow, steady and deliberate. This person has hunting success with both the animals themselves and the antlers they leave behind every spring.
It doesn't matter if it's public land or private land, the Grid Searcher goes over every inch of ground in a careful pattern. They examine every inch of ground. They leave no spot unchecked and no stone unturned in their search for antlers.
The Grid Searcher often goes through a pair of hiking boots nearly every season as they cover a hundred miles or more each year checking multiple trails, bedding areas and food sources. Every spring restarts their obsessive search for shed antlers.
Speaking of obsession, they meticulously record notes and details of every find. They save them in a database to compare with past years.
This person's dedication, patience and persistence is off the charts and it's what makes them such a great antler hunter. I don't know about you, but I wish I was this good!
The Chalk Tosser
This type of shed hunter occurs more often in the western U.S. and Canada than anywhere else. The Chalk Tosser has unbelievable access to some of the best big game hunting spots on the planet. Every year, they find hundreds of elk and mule deer sheds simply because there's such an abundance of these animals.
They finds so many antlers that they don't even keep them all!
Unless they find a very large one, the Chalk Tosser is likely to leave old, weathered and sun-bleached deer and elk sheds behind in the field. For some, it's a superstition for good luck.
The Chalk Tosser isn't always into shed hunting for the fun of it. This person is often seeking sheds to sell for the crafts/medicine/pet market. They don't attach as much sentimental value as someone like the grid searcher, which is why it's easier for them to leave old, chalky antlers behind. They're often after brown, fresh sheds, which will bring the most profit.
The ATV Rider
Shed hunting is supposed to be a light, fun activity that gets you outside and active. Finding a big set of antlers is great motivation, but this person hardly ever walks to find their antlers. Instead, the ATV Rider goes over every food plot and trail wide enough with his or her ATV or snowmobile.
This person is often the first one to find the obvious antlers that have dropped out in the open each year. It can be a little frustrating to go to your favorite spot only to see a grid pattern of tracks over every inch. Yep, the ATV Rider has been here.
Well, it's their loss on the exercise we suppose. The good news for the rest of us is that while this shed hunter does find antlers, their haste sometimes causes them to miss others, leaving us with antlers they were moving too fast to see.
The Set Matcher
Some people are happy just to find a single antler this time of year. Sure, finding the other side would be nice, but we're not going to lose any sleep over it. The Set Matcher is just the opposite, they DO lose sleep over it!
The Set Matcher is certified trail camera addict. He or she relentlessly patterns each buck in the late winter. They may even miss school or work to go out and glass deer for hours on end.
Watching and waiting for a specific target animal to drop that set can get exhausting, but they don't care. The second that target buck has dropped, everything else gets put on hold because they have to beat the competition to those antlers!
This shed hunting personality is often the last to give up each spring. They're usually out there looking well into May and sometimes even June if there's one side they just can't seem to match up.
Whenever the Set Matcher finds a single antler, he or she simply must find the other! They won't stop until they find it!
You may think they're obsessed, but like most of us, they just love the thrill of the hunt.