Finding deer antler sheds has become a very popular hobby for hunters and non-hunters alike.
White-tailed bucks shed their antlers every year. There’s a window of time between February and March where you can find antlers lying on the forest floor and in the fields where deer feed. “Shed hunting” can be a challenging and rewarding past-time. It is great fun and an easy way to get kids into the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help be more successful.
Scout: Just like deer hunting, scouting is essential to shed hunting. In winter, deer often shift from the areas they frequented in the fall to take advantage of changing food availability and winter cover. Look for deer sightings or tracks to get you in the right place.
Buck Areas: Bucks typically shed their antlers within a mile of their home range. Bucks separate from does and fawns in winter. Bucks might reform old bachelor groups from the previous summer so when you find one shed, you will often find sheds from other bucks in the same area.
Beds: Deer spend a large amount of time in their beds to conserve energy in winter. Look for dense cover that blocks the wind.
Southern Exposures: Deer soak up the winter sun. so check the south face of a hill or south edge of the woods where they are travelling.
Where Deer Jump: While bucks are jumping or running they can knock an antler loose. Check deer trails where they cross fences, ditches or thick heavy trails.
Don’t forget to walk slowly and keep your eyes on the ground. Always remember to be safe, have fun and be patient.
Have you ever wondered what happens to those sheds that are never found on the forest floor?
Well let me tell you that loose antlers are often taken care of by squirrels. These big-toothed rodents scour the forest floor for bone treats, which they quickly nibble away. Antlers are actually a good source for mineral salts and help to keep teeth worn down, so they are highly prized by many rodent species. In fact, squirrels have to fight off mice, porcupines, and other antler-lovers for these crunchy treats.
This means that if you don’t find that big shed, it will more then likely get eaten by rodents. So take a child and go walking in the woods!
And let us know what you find..
Check out this video of a squirrel eating sheds!