If you didn’t get any antlers during deer season this year—don’t worry. You get another chance over the next few months with a different kind of hunting. As the breeding season comes to a close, the bucks will start dropping their antlers, or “sheds.” The trick is finding them before someone else, or before the squirrels turn them into a chew stick.
If you haven’t had much luck in the past, don’t give up. Here are three tips that will make you a better shed hunter.
1) Go Public.
A lot of people hit up their hunting spots for shed hunting because that’s what they know best. But the public spaces that don’t get hunted can grow some bruiser bucks, so try your local state or even city parks where you’ve seen deer. Just remember to check local laws.
2) Remember This: Eat, Sleep, Drink.
Wandering into the woods isn’t enough for shed hunting. You need to be strategic. Focus on places where deer eat, sleep and drink. If you know where they bed down, follow those trails and keep your eyes peeled. Deer trails that cross streams can be a good spot to check for sheds because when the deer jump the water, the impact of their landing can help shake loose an antler.
3) When You Find One, Stop Everything.
If you find a shed—and especially if it’s a large one—stop everything and look around. There is a good chance you’ll find the other antler close by. Would you like walking around with one boot on, one off? No, it’d feel lopsided. The same goes for bucks. The big fella probably knocked it loose shortly after the first one.
The tips and approaches to shed hunting go on and on. If you’ve never gone or even if you’re a seasoned pro, searching through content on hunting authority websites like Wide Open Spaces can offer quick-hit tips, or industry old timers like Field & Stream still offer deep dives into tactics such as shed hunting with dogs. And of course, be sure to utilize a resource your Grandpappy didn’t have access to—YouTube. You’ll find hundreds of videos from seasoned shed hunters.
There are a lot of other tactics and things to keep in mind for shed hunting, but with those resources and our three tips, you’ll be doing alright. Grab some buddies, and head out for a great day.