Anyone that knows me knows I’m a whitetail freak. I’m in love with hunting whitetail deer and everything that goes with it. However, as much as I love to hunt the actual deer, I am just as crazed about hunting their sheds after season is over. Picking up a shed antler gives me just as big of a rush as sitting in my stand and hearing a deer walking around on the fallen leaves in the timber.
This past shed season, my husband and I found over 200 shed antlers and 3 dead heads. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it has been. We were able to spend so much quality time together doing what we love, got in some serious leg workouts, and we even introduced our little girl to the sport. She came along on every shed outing and will have an eye for them before we know it.
In this article, I will be discussing benefits, tips, and ideas for what to do with your sheds.
There are so many benefits involving shed hunting. First and foremost, it’s a wonderful way to get in some quality time with family and friends. Finding shed antlers to an outdoor enthusiast is the equivalent to a child’s Easter egg hunt: extremely exciting, full of fun and the amount of pride that fills your soul when you pick one up. I’ll add, also, that it’s an excellent way to get in some serious exercise. Successful shed hunting requires a lot of walking, though some are lucky enough to have terrain accessible enough for four wheelers and/or horseback riding– both of which are effective ways to be successful. However, for those that don’t have land that is ATV accessible, get walking. Walk your food plots. Walk your trails. Walk your fence lines. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. Getting outside and walking your property for sheds gives you other advantages, like getting to know your deer herd’s travel patterns, and also what deer made it through the season. Plus, it’s just flat out fun.
Like I stated previously, walking and/or driving/riding your property is key. You have to put in the time to be successful. Think like a deer, just as you would when considering what location to hang a tree stand or trail camera. Go places the deer go. Find their bedding areas and their feeding areas and you will be golden. Places where you know bucks will have to make hard landings, like jumping over fences or ditches are excellent places to look. Just because the rut has come and gone, doesn’t mean bucks don’t spar. With that being said, walk your food plots. Walk the open areas where deer congregate.
Something I also understand is that not everyone has their own land to go look on, which brings me to my next tip. Just ask. You would be surprised at how many people just don’t care for sheds, or better yet, want them off of their property: farmers especially. This past season, about 90 percent of the property I shed hunted on was from people that I had never met a day in my life, most of them being farmers. Sheds pose a threat to tractor tires and most farmers hate them. Almost every response we got when we asked for permission from farmers was, “find them all and take them all,” and most of them even gave us names and numbers of other farmers.
What to do with your sheds:
The fun doesn’t stop after you’ve picked up a load of bone. There are countless ideas to explore with your antlers. Decorating is my favorite thing to do, as I have sheds laying everywhere around the house. Nowadays, with websites like Pinterest, the creative opportunities are endless. I’ve seen everything from jewelry holders and fall decorations, to chandeliers and doorway entries. Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of money potential in your shed antlers if you’re willing to sell them. This year, while out, there were a couple of guys from Colorado in the area where we were hunting that were searching for sheds as well, and were willing to pay $16 dollars per pound. Crazy, right? I, for one, like to keep the ones I find.
With all that being said– get out there this upcoming shed season. It’s very rewarding and an experience that will develop into an obsession.
By Cajun Bradley
Cajun Bradley is a lifelong lover of hunting and the outdoors, especially waterfowl hunting. She is a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.