Proof of How Shed Hunting Can Help Your Deer Hunting

Mark Kayser with his largest bowkill, 173 inches gross, which was aided by shed hunting and discovery of the buck's antlers. (PHOTO: Copyright Mark Kayser)

Mark Kayser with his largest bowkill, 173 inches gross, which was aided by shed hunting and discovery of the buck’s antlers. (PHOTO: Copyright Mark Kayser)

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.

Mark Kayser with shed antlers off of a giant buck he later killed with his Mathews bow. (PHOTO: Copyright Mark Kayser)

Mark Kayser with shed antlers off of a giant buck he later killed with his Mathews bow. (PHOTO: Copyright Mark Kayser)

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!

Grid your antler search and you'll come up with more bone.

Grid your antler search and you’ll come up with more bone.

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.

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Find More Shed Antlers!

Joe Shead Shed Hunting DVD and Book

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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.

Get yours today and start finding sheds!