15 Feb Shed Hunting
No, we are not looking for a new place to store gear! Shed hunting refers to the search for male deer antlers that have fallen off or that the deer has shed.
Bucks grow new antlers each spring and therefore lose their antlers in late winter or early spring. It can be exciting to find a lost antler or even a pair. There are a few techniques to help in finding these treasures.
First, think about where the bucks may be spending most of their time. This may be a different location than where they were over the summer. Bucks tend to separate from does and fawns during the winter and may regroup with a small herd of other bucks.
Think like a buck
Where is the food that you would prefer? Where would you find shelter? Bucks will be grazing on leftover acorns or woody shrubs, maybe in an agricultural field. Is there an area that provides these food sources?
In addition, they will be looking for a good place to bed down or to be sheltered from the wind. Evergreens provide a good wind break and dense thickets allow for a sheltered spot to nap and sleep. Southern exposed hills or fence lines offer places for warm naps.
These are all good places to look for shed antlers.
Consider your competition
If you are searching in an area that possibly contains mice or squirrels, these little creatures will be your competitors. Both animals will feed on shed antlers to provide them with an excellent source of calcium. Antler sheds can be consumed in a week by them.
If there are a lot of mice or squirrels in your area, you may want to search more often in order to beat these little consumers to the prize.
A few final tips
Make sure you take along a pair of binoculars. Scanning an area can in a small field of vision can sometimes help reveal an antler.
Some people have actually spent time training their dog to find antlers!
A cloudy day may provide the best opportunity for sighting antlers. The glare of full sun can make it difficult or provide glare for false alarms.
What better way to spend a day when we are all experiencing a little cabin fever? Shed hunting is just around the corner! And so is Spring!!