Shed Hunting: An Enjoyable Early Season Activity

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FEB 25, 2022

Shed Antler - The Inside Spread
Category: Big Game

Shed hunting season is upon us, so get your boots on, and let’s hit the woods looking for antlers. Over the last few years, shed hunting has become an enjoyable offseason habit for many hunters. Usually, they spend time with their families or hunting buddies looking for a weekend of fun. It can also be paired with early season scouting, especially for deer, because it gives an inside look at where bucks are coming and going, providing a starting point to tracking down that big buck in the fall.

What Are Good Areas to Shed Hunt?

Shed hunting is done anywhere that you think deer or elk might be hanging out, so you might need to spend some time looking at a map of an area. You could also go to where you hunt and take a look around. However, the people really into shed hunting typically spend time on public land.

Look for good quality food areas this time of year, as many places have lingering snow or are even a few feet deep. It is best to concentrate on the spots where deer would be eating right now. You should also check areas that have fresh water and around bedding areas. Wherever you decide to start shed hunting, it is important that you have fun. Keep your eyes on the lookout, you might find the biggest buck or bull antlers you have ever seen.

Many hunters also use trail cam evidence for when to begin the shed hunting season, so if you have a few cams upstart looking for bucks that may have shed an antler. This is a sign that it is almost time for you to get out of the house and get looking.

What Makes Shed Hunting So Fun?

Shed hunting is fun because it combines several activities into one. Many people become more addicted to finding sheds than putting down a big buck. Getting your kids and family involved can change a hike into a fun backwoods game. It also keeps you attentive in the woods. When you have a target and hone in that target, you begin to look for signs of deer hanging around the area.

Spending your time shed hunting can also greatly benefit early-season scouting. There is no guarantee that what you find in the early spring will lead to a kill in the fall, but it gets you in the mode of looking for vital habitat that may hold those animals come opening day.

What to Look Out for While Shed Hunting?

One of the most complex parts of shed hunting is that many sheds can look like twigs and small branches. You probably have walked by sheds before without even noticing them. Shed antlers themselves look a lot like the antlers on the deer, especially immediately after they all off, so they are typically white and brown.

Taking your time to scan an area slowly is how you will find those antlers. If you are on a brisk hike, forget about it. It helps if you look around an area about 20-30 yards all around you. This is not a race to find the antlers. Otherwise, you might come home empty.

If you find an area that holds some bucks, but you don’t see any sheds. Try coming back in a week or two because deer and elk alike don’t drop their antlers all at once.

Are There Regulations for Shed Hunting?

Some places do have shed hunting regulations, so check in with your local game & fish to make sure it is okay for you to shed hunt. Additionally, some states don’t allow you to take sheds home, so again, check with your state wildlife to make sure you are following the rules. Other states highly encourage you to shed hunt, but they still want you to tread lightly and responsibly so that you are not putting a ton of stress on animals in the offseason.

For most, shed hunting can be a fun and enjoyable activity for all participating. As a hunter, it can make a family, community, or scouting event that will create great memories for you and the people around you. Happy hunting!

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