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6 Hot Spots For Finding Shed Antlers

6 Hot Spots For Finding Shed Antlers

Shed hunting is all the rage now-days. People train their dogs specifically to find sheds, there are clubs and organizations devoted to the sport and shed hunting has become so popular that guided week-long “shed hunts” in prime areas can cost you $2,500 or more with food and lodging included. Fear not, sheds can be found in your own hunting area or on public land…for free. Here are the best spots to search;

1)  Winter Food Sources

During this time of the year whitetails aren’t moving much unless they have to. They spend most of their time in their bedding area and in whatever their major food source is at that time. If there are brassicas or corn in the area, these would be the best places to begin, but any major food source is a good bet for sheds.

2)  Deer Yards – Conifer Swamps with ample Browse Nearby

Whitetails spend most of their day during the winter in their “bedroom.” Most of the locations mentioned below would qualify as their bedroom, or what some would call their “core area,” “secure area,” or many other names – it’s basically the spot where they’re spending the greater part of the day. These spots will usually have protection from the wind, thermal cover and ample browse nearby.

3)  Thick Stands Of conifers Or Other Thermal cover

When driving a snow-machine or ATV during this time of year you can definitely feel when you’ve crossed into an area with warmer temperatures, often caused by conifer trees absorbing and holding the heat from the sun. Even on a cloudy day, the dark canopy is gathering and holding radiant heat sent via infrared and ultraviolet energy from the sun. The heat transmission process includes the mechanics of thermal radiation and convection. The sun heats the conifer trees and the air current moves the heat around.

4)  South And Southwest Facing Slopes Or Benches

Here again, we’re talking about your herd taking advantage of the sun’s energy. Because of the more direct angle to the sun on these southern exposures, besides the radiant energy, these spots likely have better, thicker cover and more browse due to increased stem density.

5)  Freshly Logged Areas

In newly logged areas we have the warmth of the sun making it to the ground and obviously newly accessible browse. Even though browse is poor nutrition and difficult to digest when compared to food plot crops, whitetails for some reason must have it. This is especially so during the winter months.

6)  Fence Crossings And Narrow Gully Or Creek Crossings

These features are Mother Nature’s “shed shakers.” Follow freshly used trails and look for places where a buck may have to jump or otherwise jar his antlers lose.

[Read more…]

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A Deer Antlers Growth & Shed Hunting! By Gary Howey

   I think we are all ready for spring, something we have been waiting on for a long time, with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the warmer weather.

  As it gets closer to spring, this is when I am in the woods, pre-season turkey scouting. While I am out there in the woods, scouting for turkey sign, I am also keeping an eye out for deer sheds, Shed Hunting.

  For those of you that have not hunted sheds, it is a great thing to do this time of the year. Sheds are the buck’s antlers from the previous year shed or dropped after the rut.

  Bucks shed their headgear/rack/antlers annually and if you can beat the rodents and other critters out there that chew on them to obtain a source of calcium, you will have the opportunity to find a shed or two.

  A buck’s antler/rack is a lot different from cattle horns, which are hollow, as a deer’s rack consists of honey combed solid bone.

  Pedicles, are a knobby nub protruding from the buck’s skull, this is where the new antler/rack grows and what supports the buck’s rack.

  When bucks start to grow their new racks/antlers, they are no more than bony growths covered with skin and hair known as velvet.  They grow incredibly fast in 3 to 4 months, making them the fastest growing living tissue there is.

  These pedicles are a permanent part of the buck’s forehead, the point where the antler comes off when shed.

  Shed hunting in the spring is also an excellent way to determine if the big buck you hunted last season made it through the winter

  If you find his sheds, he is still around, unless the winter did him in and once you have found his shed, you can start putting together your hunting plan for next season.

  Once the rut is over, bucks no longer need their racks. They needed their rack during the used to attract and impress the does and most importantly to fight off other bucks trying to draw the females away from his harem.

  It is a known fact that not all of the bucks will drop their racks at the same time.  Some will begin to lose them following the rut, when their hormone levels begin to drop. Generally, deer in the upper Midwest will shed their antlers in February and March.

  The amount of daylight in a day, the fluctuations in the deer’s hormones, their diet and stress will have a lot to do as to when a buck will shed. [Read more…]

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Shed Hunting! One of Mother Nature’s Most Beautiful Art Forms By Gary Howey

I think we’re all ready for spring, something we have been waiting on for a long time, with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the warmer weather.

As it gets closer to spring, this is when I head to the woods, to do my pre-season turkey scouting.

While I’m out there sneaking through the woods looking for turkey sign, I’m also keeping an eye out for deer sheds, Shed Hunting.

For those of you that haven’t hunted sheds, it’s a great thing to do this time of the year. Sheds are the buck’s antlers from the previous year shed or dropped after the rut.

Bucks shed their headgear/rack/antlers annually and if you can beat the rodents and other critters out there that chew on them to obtain a source of calcium, you’ll have the opportunity to find a shed or two.

A buck’s antler/rack is a lot different from cattle horns, which are hollow, as a deer’s rack consists of honey combed solid bone.

Pedicles, are a knobby nub protruding from the buck’s skull, this is where the new antler/rack grows and what supports the buck’s rack.

When bucks start to grow their new racks/antlers, they’re no more than bony growths covered with skin and hair known as velvet.  They grow incredibly fast in 3 to 4 months, making them the fastest growing living tissue there is.

These pedicles are a permanent part of the buck’s forehead, the point where the antler comes off when shed.

Shed hunting in the spring is also an excellent way to determine if the big buck you hunted last season made it through the winter

If you find his sheds, he’s still around, unless the winter did him in and once you’ve found his shed, you can start putting together your hunting plan for next season.

Once the rut is over, bucks no longer need their racks. They needed their rack during the used to attract and impress the does and most importantly to fight off other bucks trying to draw the females away from his harem.

It’s a known fact that not all of the bucks will drop their racks at the same time. Some will begin to lose them following the rut, when their hormone levels begin to drop.

Generally, deer in the upper Midwest will shed their antlers in February and March.

The amount of daylight in a day, the fluctuations in the deer’s hormones, their diet and stress will have a lot to do as to when a buck will shed.

There are several reasons deer shed their antlers, one allowing the buck regeneration, or re-grow a new set of antlers.

Others believe they shed, making it easier for them to make it through the winter, as winter, with its harsh conditions and less food make it tough for a deer coming out of the rut to survive.

When the buck sheds its antlers: it helps them to conserve energy while eliminating excess weight.

The entire shedding process will take two to three weeks to complete, while the re-growth will take the entire summer.

The first to drop their antlers are more likely to be those bucks, which chased hard during the rut, those that have become fatigued from fighting and breeding during the rut.

If you don’t have an area where you’ve found sheds in prior years, a good place to start looking for sheds would be to drive through the country, looking for those well-used deer trails crossing the roads.

I’ve found heavily traveled trails; those leading from heavily wooded areas, crossing a road heading into the deer are feeding areas to be a good starting point.

A good trail to start looking for sheds would be those resembling a hard packed cattle trail. [Read more…]