My mind wanders as I shed antler hunt. That leads to my hiking boots wandering as well. Don’t be a wanderer. You’ll find more shed antlers if you grid a property and search it like a CSI team hunting for clues at a murder scene. Focus your Nikon and boot effort for maximum return.
My wandering mindset arises from my brain working overtime on locating shed antlers. I’ll be walking along and see a patch of brush that looks good and just take off in that direction. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but I may have left a section of woods behind that could be holding an antler.
Whether you review how search and rescue personnel look for a lost hiker, or how detectives scour a crime scene for clues, you’ll see they all grid the area and search each grid plot with resolve. As a shed antler hunter you need a fresh roll of photodegradable or biodegradable fluorescent tape, your smartphone or GPS, and some woodland savviness. These products will keep you focused.
On your smartphone use a hunting app like ScoutLook Hunting. Many hunting apps allow you to make notes on maps to plot your course. This is also ideal when marking rub lines and other sign you may come across during your hike. My Garmin Oregon GPS also plots my track so I can look at the screen and see my grid.
If you go old school with tape you can hang a small piece at each corner of your grid. Walk north to south and hang a strip. Move over just far enough where you can easily see your last track and mark that location. Head back south and repeat. It’s that simple.
I’m not a big fan of hanging tape, even though it degrades over time, so I look for natural markers. I pick up skulls, bones, rusty buckets and whatever I can find to hang on a branch to note where I’ve been and how far I need to slide over for my next pass.
In bone-rich areas my grid system looks like Skull Island when I’m finished with my hike. That’s OK because I’m usually toting the best bone in my backpack.
Veteran shed hunter Joe Shead takes you on a journey through the late-winter and spring forests. With this great Shed Hunting Collection, learn what to look for and then go with Shead looking for white-tailed deer antlers along with a trip out west in search of elk and mule deer sheds.