Mid-winter is a good time to get outdoors with the family for some fresh air and exercise and go hunting for shed deer antlers.
If you’re in the Midwest or Northeast where frigid temps and
Deer have begun to shed their antlers for re-growth purposes. Nebraska law allows a person to pick up, possess, buy, sell, or barter antlers or horns that have been dropped or shed by antelope, deer or elk. Other states may have regulations about permits or possession, so check before going out to search for antlers.
Greg Wagner, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission public information officer, says there are several reasons to hunt for shed antlers.
“Shed antler hunting is a wonderful way to get an idea of what bucks most likely survived the hunting seasons and are frequenting your hunting area,” he said. “Shed antlers can be used to make many crafts, such as knife handles, lamps or picture frames, and some people just like to collect them.”
Wagner said found deer antlers also can be officially scored by the North American Shed Hunters Club.
Any place where the antlers of a deer can fall off, be jolted off or intentionally knocked off can be a location to search for shed antlers. Wagner has the following suggestions:
— Look for main deer trails in woods leading from feeding to bedding areas, especially where there are lower-hanging branches.
— Do not overlook deer bedding areas, especially bedding areas along south-facing slopes with conifer trees or plum thickets nearby.
— Fence crossings for deer are also excellent spots to look for antlers, as are creek crossings.
“Remember to obtain permission from landowners before hunting sheds,” Wagner said. “Go with a partner, walk slowly so as not to miss them and take a plastic bucket along to carry the antlers.”
That’s good advice about getting permission. If you’re hunting on public land be sure to check state or federal regulations about permits, possession and where it’s legal to hunt sheds. If you’re on private land check with the landowner, and if you lease your hunting property also check with the landowner.
Shed Hunting Guide Packed with Great Information
Shed Hunting: A Guide to Finding White-Tailed Deer Antlers is the first book devoted entirely to shed antler hunting.
This 160-page, fully illustrated book is an educational tool that teaches readers how to find shed white-tailed deer antlers. The book’s eight chapters discuss:
- Biology of the shedding process
- Where and when to look for antlers
- How to find productive shed hunting areas
- Shed hunting tips and techniques
- and even 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.