The antler didn’t stand out at the time I picked it up on a steep, South Dakota hillside. I do recall the unique, curving brow tine that split for a double-brow appearance. Other than that the antler disappeared in my bin alongside thousands of other antlers I’ve picked up over the years.
Two years later I was back on the same property, but this time I was armed with my Mathews bow and trying to connect with a giant, bottomland buck. Finding a prospective buck wasn’t an issue. Having one of several trophies pass within range of my Mathews was causing me some concern, especially since I was teamed with a video photographer to capture the hunt for TV.
After moving treestands several times the gamble paid off. A wide, tall-tined buck slipped out of the heavy cover heading my way. He paused at a trail junction and with a sigh of relief from me, headed my way. The buck walked below me at less than a Nikon-confirmed 20 yards and I had to take a walking shot. The shot was true and I watched my biggest bowkill to date tip over in full view. What a rush as we filmed the recovery and excitement of an incredible experience!
The next spring a local from the area called me up wondering if I wanted to swap some of my shed whitetail antlers from the shed antlers off of the televised buck. I wasn’t certain he actually had the sheds, but when he arrived at my door my jaw dropped. It was definitely the buck defined by the unique brow times. I traded him some antlers for chandelier construction in return for the sheds from my buck.
That got me to thinking. Did I have other shed antlers from this same buck? Digging frantically through my bins I finally came up with the small shed from the first year he was likely identifiable with the curving brows.
I had the buck officially aged by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. When I arrowed him he was a 4 ½-year-old. He gross scored 173 inches. The traded shed antlers were from him as a 3 ½-year-old and scored in the 150s. The single side I found from him prior was him as a 2 ½-year-old and he would have scored in the 120s.
I was grateful to have the opportunity to hunt such a great animal, but having all of his sheds in my collection made the experience even more of a lifetime memory.
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.