Shed Hunting 101
Every year, members of the Cervidae family, deer, elk, and moose, shed their antlers, which has created the ultimate outdoor activity during the off-season. Shed hunting is a great activity for those itching to get outside.
With spring fast approaching and the snow melting, it's the perfect time to go out and find those sheds. It’s also a great way to scout those new private lands you just got permission on or those public lands you found on ihunter. Use this time as an opportunity to better your chances of success during hunting season.
If you find the animals' sheds, it can teach you a lot about their patterns and habits. However, with limited success, it can be disheartening. Set yourself up for success with the following tips. Don’t forget to get your outdoor gear and safety equipment from one of Lloydminster’s top-rated hunting stores.
The Perfect Location
Finding the perfect location to start is crucial to narrowing down the best places to shed hunt. Some prime locations to check include winter food sources. Throughout the winter, deer will stick close to high carbohydrate food sources and thus potentially shed their antlers in those areas.
Fields around here to start with would be corn fields, oat fields, and green feed fields. Once you’ve found a good food source, another thing to look for is water sources. If a deer, elk, or moose doesn’t have to eat snow for water, they will not. Check around streams and creeks or dugouts for cows, as they will sometimes have drilled holes in them.
Also, be conscious of snow levels. A winter with lots of snow will limit the deer's range of travel. Follow game trails and look for bedding areas as potential shed sites.
South-facing hills are going to be a prime location for finding sheds. The sun will create warmth for the deer, giving them comfort to bed in these areas, and the snow will melt faster from the sunshine.
Scan The Ground
Be patient, and don’t overlook any spots. Antlers can be covered by debris, bushes, and tree branches, making it harder to locate them. Typically, it is less likely for sheds to be lying in plain sight. Once you have found one side of a set, nine times out of ten, the other is close by.
Big bucks especially will feel lopsided after dropping one and will put in an effort to try to get the other side to drop. Finally, don’t forget to bring binoculars to hone in on objects playing tricks on your eyes off in the distance.
“Make miles to get piles.” is our saying around here.
If you're not out looking, you're not going to find anything. Ground coverage is the best way to find sheds. Don’t forget; you're not only competing against other shed hunters to find them first but also squirrels and mice. They will chew on them to help get minerals and vitamins.
What About The Perfect Timing?
Now is the perfect time to go shed hunting. Most antlers drop during the month of February. Stressful, harsh winter conditions can cause sheds to drop even earlier. Younger bucks will hold onto their antlers for a longer period of time. Antlers are more difficult to spot on snowy ground, so if you can, wait until some of it melts off and exposes some of the ground.
Prioritize food source areas first, then bedding areas, and then explore south-facing hills. If you have a field with more than one of these places included in it, this is considered a prime location.
Like all forms of hunting, shed hunting can result in successes and disappointments. Thus, you won’t always succeed, but just remember, the ground covered is better than not getting out and looking. The time you invest will pay off: the more time you spend with your boots on the ground, the more likely you will find some sheds.
The time you spend outside is a great way to simultaneously do some scouting - rewards you will reap during hunting season. Our staff at Wildside Outdoors is always interested to see your shed finds. Drop a photo on our Facebook page or stop by the store and show us in person.
About Wildside Outdoors
From specialized fishing and hunting equipment to regular outdoor accessories, our online hunting and fishing store caters to all types of outdoor needs. Whether you are a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a newbie, we have some good gear coupled with excellent advice for you. Learn more about Wildside Outdoors.
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