Great Northern Productions

Shed Hunting Tips



Why should you shed hunt

Shed hunting has become quite a craze lately. If you're not shed hunting where you hunt then you ought to be. You can gather a ton of knowledge from shed hunting. You can determine the size of the bucks in your area from the sheds that you find. It's quite a thrill to find a big shed from a deer that has made it through the season and is still alive to hunt. Most world class deer aren't shot by hunters, they die of natural causes or are killed by vehicles. There are sheds that out-score the word record typical and non-typical. The number one and number two non-typical were found dead. Each year there's a new crop of sheds just waiting to be pick up.


The early bird gets the shed

You should get an early start before other shed hunters pick up your prize. Mice, squirrels, opossums and other members of the rodent family crave fresh antlers and can chew a shed to the burr in no time. Try to time when the deer are shedding in your area. Antler shedding will vary in different regions. Shedding will peak at different times each year especially in northern climates.


Let's explore why deer drop their antlers.

First we know that deer start growing their antlers in the spring when daylight increases. When the days get shorter in the fall, antlers harden. This is when the buck's testosterone is at its peak. December 21 the winter solstice the shortest day of the year will trigger the annual shedding. A buck's testosterone levels drop and will remain low during winter months causing the antlers to separate from the skulls. Stress will determine how long a buck will keep his rack. Keep in mind, when trying to time shedding in your location. A Lot of stress on deer will cause shedding to occur early and mild amounts of stress will prolong shedding. Stress can include deep snow, lack of food, injuries, and cold - weather. Older mature bucks that are worn out from the rut will be the first to shed. Get out early because sheds are easier to find before the woods green up.


Where to look for sheds

A good place to search is in a buck's bedding area. About 70% of the sheds are found in bedding areas. Bucks tend to bed alone or with other bucks. Does and fawns usually occupy the best habitat close to food sources. Bucks share the same food, but not the same bedding location. Bucks bed in some of nastiest places where they feel the safest. These buck only core areas aren't hard to find. I'll give you a hot tip. Follow rub lines and they will lead you to these buck hideouts, find them and you find their sheds. Bring your binoculars and use them to investigate anything that looks like an antler. Look on trails that go to winter food sources, and look in the food source.


Shed Hunting in Northern Climates

Northern climates that get harsh winters can force the deer to yard-up. Deeryards can be a great place for a shed hunter to look. In this situation, bucks and does will share the same ground. I know a shed hunter who found over 60 antlers in one deeryard. Some deer may have lost their antlers before they got to the yards, so you will have to do your homework to find out where they lost them.


Bring your Kids

Most importantly take a kid out with you. Kids not old enough to hunt can still go shed hunting. Shed hunting is a great way to learn more about whitetails and a good way to scout out that trophy for next fall.


Tom Blais with a 85 inch shed he found while scouting for big bucks.
Tom Blais with a 85" shed he found while scouting for big bucks.

Sheds chewed by rodents.
Sheds chewed by rodents.

A fresh shed covered by new snow.
A fresh shed covered by new snow.

Erik Dailey picking up a matched set.
Erik Dailey picking up a matched set.
A fresh pair of sheds exposed after spring rains.
A fresh pair of sheds exposed after spring rains.
Deven Blais displays sheds found in April 2000 in New Hampshire.
Deven Blais displays sheds found in April 2000 in New Hampshire.


Erik with a days find.
Erik with a days find.
Tom Blais found this non-typical shed pair.
Tom Blais found this non-typical shed pair.


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