It isn’t coincidence that some people consistently find shed antlers and others struggle. Success, in this case, lies in the details of how you go about preparing and concentrating your efforts while looking for sheds. We have outlined 6 Sins Of Shed Hunting that outdoorsman consistently make while afield and perhaps you made this spring while out looking for sheds.
You’re Standing Too Much: Change Your Perspective
It is amazing how changing your perspective can change how you see something. This is directly applicable to shed hunting. Too often shed hunters stay in a standing position and glass a food plot or bedding area looking for a glimmer of sunlight reflecting off an antler. We advise that you also get down on, antler level, and scan the ground from a new perspective. It is amazing how changing the angle you are looking at the ground changes what you see. If you simply go out, walk and stand around looking for antlers laying on the ground, we guarantee you are missing sheds.
Don’t Look Where They Are, Look Where They Were
The goal here should be to get on a lot of deer sign as soon as possible. If you are serious about finding sheds, you want to concentrate your efforts on areas where deer were located over the winter. This doesn’t necessarily mean that where you find fresh sign in March is where bucks spent the majority of the winter months. Using topo maps to find river bottoms, ditches, food sources, bedding areas, and travel corridors will concentrate your efforts. Deer herd up over the winter but larger bucks often spend the majority of time in their own bedding areas. Think back to where you found buck sign over the fall. Did you find buck beds in thick cover when you were scouting? These should be the first places to start.
You Took Your Cameras Down After Fall
From year to year, bucks will drop their antlers at slightly different times. Some years earlier or later than others depending on nutrition and weather. The key here is to identify when they have dropped and planning a time as close to that as possible to get out and start searching. By monitoring your cameras and looking as early as you can, or the weather will allow, you minimize the risk of scavenger animals destroying the antler and they are easier to find because they still have a “fresh” gleam. The sun reflects off a freshly dropped antler surprisingly well and will aid in you spotting them (even in the snow).
Stop Looking For Antlers
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make shed hunting. You shouldn’t be looking for an entire antler on the ground. Think of it like hunting. You aren’t glassing the woods looking for an entire outline of a deer. You’re looking for an ear, a tail flick, a slight movement in an otherwise still landscape. The same goes for shed hunting. Look for pieces of an antler rather than the entire half-rack.
Unrealistic Property Expectations
Being honest with yourself and coming to terms with what your buck population looks like on a given property or area will help you be more successful by adjusting your expectations. Consider what your property has for cover. Is there enough to hold deer? Do you have a sustainable food source? Is there a reason deer will stay on your property for an extended period of time, thus increasing the odds of deer dropping on your property? Just because someone on television found a matching set of B&C sheds doesn’t mean those are common. This comes back to cameras and knowing your hunting area.
You Are Moving Too Quickly
Shed hunting requires a tremendous amount of patience. Once you find an area where you know deer have spent a lot of time over the winter months, now is the time to go slow, dead slow. Depending on the location your tactics will need to change. If you are looking over an old food plot or agricultural field, we recommend a good pair of binoculars and getting to the highest vantage point you can find. Good glass will save you a lot of leg work and allow you to scan an entire field faster than going it alone on foot. Dense cover and bedding areas are another story. You have to go very slow through these areas and really concentrate on what you are seeing.
You can search the deepest, darkest primordial forest and never find a tool as versatile and capable as the 4-in-1 Woodsman™. Carry this one Zippo® product into camp and you have a bow saw that cuts oak up to 4” in diameter, a mallet, a stake puller, and a hatchet with a 5” blade, all in one tool. Call it a handy camp tool or a survival tool, no tool gives you more capability for the weight or the money.