A huge part of finding deer shed antlers and scouting is simply covering ground. Once you have a plan for the locations you want to search, just lace up your boots, grab your backpack, map, compass or GPS, and start hiking.
After you’ve found a good bedding area and a good food source in your area, focus on those spots. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Stick to those areas, and try to eliminate less-productive places.
For example, don’t walk a cornfield row by row when most of the feeding activity is in an adjacent alfalfa field. Let the deer tell you where they’ve been and where they haven’t. Watch for browsing, concentrations of beds and droppings. Search where you find abundant sign, and motor on through where you don’t. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised by the places deer use and don’t use.
In time you’ll get a feel for not only how deer use your specific property, but how deer relate to their habitat overall. Most of all, eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. Remember, you only have a finite amount of time so hit the best spots first. The presence of snow or even good mud tells you where deer have been but also — and more importantly — where they haven’t been. Keep that in mind as you narrow your area to the most likely shed hunting spots.
By skipping over less desirable food sources, marginal bedding areas and other places that might hold some attraction for deer, you will certainly miss some deer shed antlers. But you’re going to miss some no matter where you look, so maximize your time in the best places, and go back to secondary areas only if time permits.
Shed hunting is a fun pastime that lets you extend your deer season for several months. It’s a great way to learn about the bucks that survive on your hunting land, and picking up a fresh bone is always exciting.
Finding some deer shed antlers, like shooting a trophy buck, is not easy. Do your homework to find out where deer bed and feed and where they don’t. If you can identify the most productive food sources and bedding sites and eliminate those less- desirable areas, you will be well on your way to finding more sheds this season.
- Biology of the shedding process
- Where and when to look for antlers
- How to find productive shed hunting areas
- Shed hunting tips and techniques
- How to train a dog to find antlers
Other topics include how to match up a set of antlers, dealing with competition from other shed hunters and how to enter your sheds into the record book.