Chapter 1: What is Shed Antler Hunting

Shed antler hunting is the activity of searching for antlers that are cast off by bucks on a yearly basis.

Each year as the spring season comes around, bucks shed their antlers from the year before in preparation for regrowth.

These antlers are left laying in woodlots, agricultural fields, or various areas of deer habitat at the point where they were shed.

This presents a fantastic opportunity for outdoorsmen and women.

Countless numbers of die-hard deer hunting enthusiasts take to the woods every year to conduct an intensive search for shed antlers.

Even though difficult at times, shed antler hunting can be extremely rewarding and drive hunters to return time and time again.

Chapter 2: Why Go Shed Hunting?

The list of benefits to shed antler hunting is so numerous and it has become a yearly tradition for a multitude of hunters across the nation and beyond.

The following are some of the top benefits associated with shed antler hunting:

  • Excellent Source of Exercise: A significant amount of walking is often conducted while shed hunting. This makes shed hunting a wonderful heart-healthy activity.
  • Take Inventory of Bucks: With deer season ending before deer begin to shed their antlers in many states, shed hunting is an excellent way to determine which familiar bucks have made it through the season.
  • Scout as You Go: A hunter/ huntress is able to learn many things about local deer movement and how deer utilize their habitat based on the location of sheds that are found.
  • Antlers Can be Sold: Antlers that are found while shed hunting can be sold for a profit. Some larger ones can fetch a hefty price.
  • Fun for Everyone: Shed antler hunting has a reputation for being extremely enjoyable. It provides the opportunity to spend time with your friends and family, while also proving your woodsmanship.

Chapter 3: When Is Shed Hunting Season?

Shed antler hunting is generally conducted from late winter through early spring.

States generally do not have set season dates as they do for deer hunting season itself. Instead, the time period during which shed antler hunting is conducted, is dictated by the deer themselves.

The increase in daylight hours, or photoperiod, during the spring of the year trigger chemical changes in wild deer. These changes cause a substantial decrease in a buck’s testosterone levels. This drop ultimately leads to the loosening and shedding of a buck’s antlers.

Bucks in the majority of areas will typically shed their antlers between late December through early March. Some deer do occasionally shed earlier or later than this, however, most shedding will occur within this general time window.

Although shed antlers can be found anytime during the year, the late winter and early spring months are preferred by the majority.

Why is that?

  • This is because antlers have been freshly shed and are still in relative abundance at this time of the year.
  • Additionally, sheds that are found after a prolonged period commonly have been damaged by squirrels and other chewing rodents.

It is important to understand and identify the laws that apply to shed antler hunting in your area. What might be completely legal on private land, could potentially land you in hot water on government-owned property.

Chapter 4: Where to Go Shed Hunting?

Shed hunting usually requires a substantial amount of ground to be covered in order to experience regular success.

So the question is: “where to look when shed hunting?”

In this section, you’ll know where are high impact areas to maximize your efficiency.

But first...

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