Shed Hunting: How to Find More Bone

April 1, 2015



As winter descends on deer and elk hunters, hunting opportunities dwindle, then peter out altogether. If you are among the antler stricken hordes, there is still a way to feed your antler addiction. Antlers are falling as we speak and laying on the ground waiting to be found. Shed hunting is a great way to get outdoors in the off-season. If you are good enough, it can also earn you some extra cash. Here are some ways to maximize your time afield shed hunting and find some serious bone.

Look South
Bucks and bulls will soak up the sun on south facing slopes in the winter. Check these areas first and find the sheds that your buddies miss.

Bedding/Feeding Areas
In the winter, deer and elk spend most of their time feeding or resting. Smart shed hunters scour places where animals spend the most time.

Find the preferred food source in the area and you are well on your way to shed hunting success. Sheds can be found in the food source, on trails leading to it, or in the beds on the other end of those trails. Deer and elk keep predictable patterns in the winter so trails are heavily worn and visible. Knowledge gained during shed hunting expeditions will improve your odds of harvesting a buck or bull next season.

Key In On Crossings
If there is a fence or stream on your hunting property, these are key places to look for shed antlers. A loose antler will often fall off when an animal jumps over an obstruction. Focus on high traffic crossings and you’ll be sure to find more bone this season.

Through the Looking Glass
Shed antlers are often hard to detect with the naked eye. A high quality pair of binoculars, or even a spotting scope, can help identify antlers from long range and save time and legwork.

Before entering a field or food plot, glass it from a distance. Seeing sheds through your optics could save you miles of walking.

Look Down
This one seems obvious, but it is easy to get distracted and miss a shed. Young hunters are often reminded that they’ll never kill an animal off the top of their boots, but this is exactly the direction you need to be looking if it’s sheds you’re after. Sheds are often partially concealed under leaves or snow, so keep your eyes peeled for pieces of antler instead of looking for the whole thing.

Buddy Up
Four eyes (or six or eight) are better than two when it comes to finding sheds. Grab some friends before hitting the woods and up your odds of success. Shed hunting is a good way to get kids involved in the outdoors. You don’t have to be quiet or sit still and if your little friend is lucky enough to find a shed, they will be hooked for life.

Sell Out
Most shed hunters want to keep the antlers they’ve worked so hard to find. However, if you are looking to make some extra cash or have run out of room to display and store your shed collection, selling them is an option.

A number of companies will buy shed antlers for use in dog chews, furniture, artwork, and supplements. If you find a really big set of antlers, collectors will pay as much as $10,000 for them.

If you haven’t tried shed hunting, you’re missing out on one of late winter’s most enjoyable activities. Get out and give it a try today.






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