© By Othmar Vohringer
However, wandering around willy-nilly hoping to stumble across a set of shed antlers will lead to noting much other than frustration.
Here are some tips on how to find shed antlers.
Scouting is to shed hunting success as important as it is to deer hunting. Study the land and the available food sources that are available to the deer in winter. Look for thick cover where bucks hide away during the harsh winter months.
In the winter and after the rut bucks form bachelor groups again, tired and nutritionally worn down form the rigors of the rut they retreat to wintering areas where they can find food and cover within close proximity. Find these hideouts and learn to identify what food sources are still available to the deer and you’re likely to find sheds from several bucks in that area.
In the winter bucks have two things on their mind. Eat and sleep. Bucks sleep, or rest, all day long to conserve energy, only getting up for short periods to feed. Bedding areas are usually found in dense cover where the bucks are somewhat sheltered from the cold winds and falling snow. During the day bucks soak up the warm rays of the winter sun on south facing hillsides and the south facing edge of forests.
While some bucks shed their antlers by trashing bush and low hanging branches, most lose their antlers through sudden movement like running and jumping, check places where deer trails cross fences, shallow creeks, ditches and other obstacles that deer have to jump over or crawl underneath.
She hunting is a slow and systematic process. Just walking around will not yield much success in finding sheds. Walk slowly and examine the ground near the features mentioned above closely, often only part of an antler will be exposed while the rest is buried under grass and forest debris.
If you want to learn more about antler shed hunting I recommend a well written book titled “A Guide To Finding White-Tailed Deer Antlers” by Joe Shead, an avid shed antler hunter for many years.