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Deer Shed Hunting Tips

Updated on July 27, 2018
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Tawnya is an Ohio native that loves the outdoors and wildlife. She loves finding whitetail sheds with her husband and daughter.

Best Tips for Finding Antler Sheds

If you aren't a hunter or married to a hunter, you may not know what shed hunting is. Thankfully, I am going to explain this practice and tell you how to do it.

First and foremost, it is important to realize that we are talking about antler shed hunting. Still confused? Well, every year, male deer shed their antlers and grow new ones. Being the mysterious creatures that they are, deer drop their sheds wherever they fall and leave them there. For hunters, crafters, and some lucky hikers, these antlers are fun to find during the antler shedding season.

Soybean fields
Soybean fields

Shed Hunters should Hunt Often

Today, more and more people are hunting for sheds. You will likely have a great deal of competition when you begin your shed hunting. In addition to other people, you have to remember that you are also competing against many different four-legged competitors as well. Squirrels, porcupines, and even mice love to snack on deer antlers, so you will have to be aggressive and shed hunt often during the shedding season, if you are going to find the antler sheds that you want.

When Do Deer Shed Their Antlers?

Most Whitetail deer will have shed their antlers by the beginning of March. For this reason, it is important to begin your search in late February and early March. In some areas, you may be able to find antler sheds as late as early April.

Keep your Eyes on the Ground

Whether you are a rookie shed hunter or have been doing this for several years, the most important tip for any shed hunter is to keep your eyes on the ground. When walking in the woods, it is easy to get distracted by a licking branch or rubs on a tree, but you have to keep your focus on the ground. After all, this is where you are going to likely find the antlers you are looking for.

"I don't have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields."

— Queen Latifah

Check Hunted and Non-Hunted Areas

Many people shed hunt for different reasons. Hunters hunt their property for sheds because they want to find out what type of bucks survived hunting season. Other shed hunters simply want the antlers and have no interest in what type of deer are in the area. If you are a shed hunter from the second group, your best bet is to hunt for sheds in non-hunted areas. Areas that aren’t heavily hunted will likely have big sheds for antler enthusiasts to find.

Find Antler Sheds near Deer Beds

One of the best places to look for antler sheds is near deer bedding areas. During winter months, deer spend a great deal of time conserving their energy and bedding down. Since bucks are spending a great deal of time in this area, it makes perfect sense that there will be great sheds to find. Bucks tend to stick together during the winter months. For this reason, when you find one antler in a particular area chances are you will likely find another very close.

Areas with Southern Exposure are Popular Shed Hunting Grounds

Have you ever seen your cat laying in the sun, even in the middle of winter? Well, deer do the same thing. In fact, deer love to soak in the sun on sunny, winter days. If you are shed hunting, you can manipulate this deer habit to help you find great sheds by checking areas with southern exposure for deer antler sheds.

Deer Shake Antlers Loose

Antlers become loose and eventually fall off as new antlers begin to grow. During this time, a good shake or jump can knock an antler to the ground. For this reason, you want to make sure you check popular deer trails for antler sheds. The best places to begin your search are near any areas where a deer would have to jump. For instance, if you have a creek, ditch, or fence located on your deer trail, you will likely find deer antler sheds around these areas.

How to Shed Hunt for Deer Antlers

Hunting for sheds is much like hunting for deer, you have to be willing to put in the time to scout if you are going to find the sheds you are looking for. It’s important to realize that deer often change their patterns during winter months. Deer will usually travel to areas where there is more food available. If you are going to have any luck finding sheds, you need to check for tracks in the snow to find out where the deer are roaming and eating.

Do you Hunt Deer Sheds?

What do you do with the shed antlers you find?

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© 2014 Tawnya


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