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Shed Hunting


Over the past few years – perhaps longer than I remember. The casual opportunity of finding a deer antler shed has grown into a national obsession. Some states have actual seasons where the land is closed for shed hunting until a certain date and people line up days ahead of time to get into the land where antlers dot the ground.

In other cases, trained dogs are now used to find antlers for hunters. Dogs can cover a lot more ground and cover it better than and one human can. Competitions have emerged for ‘shed dogs’. In my day, a ‘shed dog’ was one you rarely fed, and left out near the shed to protect from predators, or to fend for himself. Today tens of thousands are spent on training dogs to find cast off antlers.

I tend to find most of my sheds during turkey season. In our area, it is rare to find any at all. Whether it is the deer density or the thick habitat finding a shed antler is something to be celebrated.

Shed hunting does three things. It gets us out into the deer woods after season for some post season scouting and helps us to identify where the bucks spent the last few days of the season and lastly, it confirms that some of the bucks did indeed make it past the season.

Typically in the Carolina’s with our long seasons, the big bucks have been in hiding for some time. Finding the thickest, nastiest places to wait out the seasons. These are the best places to look for sheds.

Bedding areas and feeding areas are great places to look. As the temperature drops, deer need to eat, and they need to eat a lot. Putting on calories and fat for the winter months. Food plots are where a lot of shed antlers are found in the early season of shed hunting.

As mentioned above, the use of dogs, or other people also makes for a fun day afield and is sort of a competition. By lining up and spreading out about every thirty feet, a group can walk through an area and cover it very well in shed hunting. It always amazes me how difficult some of these are to find and then how some are just lying there in the fields. But it is easy to walk within ten feet of a shed and not see it.

Use the opportunity now to do some post season scouting and while you are at it, pick up a treasure or two along the way.