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KANSAN

Shed hunting tips .....

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thats a lot of great advice, one more tip is not to remove your cameras directly after the season. I have pics of deer with full rack and a half rack the next day. it really narrows down the search. I am from south ms. and the deer are shedding already imagine that. good luck

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First there's plenty I still don't know,but I'll go by my own personal observations and experiences.

I start my shedding season early Jan. more as a scouting trip and the fact I can't hold back anymore.My early trips I'm checking my areas out and looking for missed sheds from the year before.No matter how good you think you are there's always missed sheds.

In alot of my areas there's competition from other shed hunters so getting out early and finding missed sheds and some early drops helps beat the competition.I've found my earliest fresh shed Jan 3rd.You'll hear of buck that already dropped in Dec. and hear of buck still carrying in late April.

I've found the majority drop late Feb. into the first of March.

When you start your shed season early you have to watch you don't pressure the deer and have them leave your area.In my early season locations it isn't a problem.I shed hunt alot of suburbia areas where there's alot of small patches of woods and deer are somewhat limited to where they can go.You can pressure the deer and never see them again,but most these deer are used to people and only go so far.I've found sheds laying in people's yards.

If there's snow on the ground early season it's a great way to see exactly what the deer are doing.I scout the deer then just as I would if I was hunting the animal itself.I look for feeding areas or a good food source that the deer are using and where they are bedding.

My first dozen trips early in the season I'm trying to get head counts and scouting more then anything.

When I get a good idea what areas the deer are using and start to see more buck dropping I start making a plan of attack.

I focus on areas I know there's competition first.I hit those areas early and as often as I can.If I can find the sheds before the competition it could discourage them or have them believing there's no sheds in that area.It works too.

If I saw a monster earlier in a area or already found a nice shed I like to search that area.You hear the big ones that drop one side usually drop the other side not too far away and soon after too.I'm still not too sure of that one.

I do think the odds of finding the other half are pretty good that if you do find it,it will be within 300yds. of the first half.On the other hand it could be a mile away.

I also like to hit known hot spots from previous years early too.I found you'll find sheds in the same general area from year to year.I've also noticed some areas the buck will drop earlier then other areas from year to year.

I have one buck that I've found 3 yrs. of matching sets off of.The first set was found completely away from the other sets.The last 2 sets all 4 antlers were found within 200yds. of each other and all were found early in the season.

The key to finding sheds is looking in areas with lots of sheds.The majority of my sheds come from suburbia deer.There's hunting in some of my areas,but most is archery only and there's a fair amount of poaching going on.

My suburbia deer areas stretch out into the country as well.There's many horse farms where no hunting is allowed and the deer grow big.

It's hard to say how many different areas I have to look.Some are big 500 acre farms and others are small woodlots behind Walmarts.

When I look for areas to shed hunt I look for areas as though I were hunting the deer itself. ]Late Winter early Spring most if not all the breeding is done.The main concern for deer at this time is survival(food and cover)not bred ding.I look for thickets and bedding areas and food sources.If I find the two close together I've found a hot spot.

Last year one of my hot spots over the years showed very little promise in my early scouting trips.It was late Feb. and we had a foot of snow laying.

I took a ride and found where the deer were crossing a country road.I backtracked the trails from the road to a thicket that had tracks and trails everywhere.I got permission off the farmer that owned the land and came back after the snow had melted.The farmer thought it was great that I might save him a tractor tire from a shed.I found over 2 dozen sheds on that farm last season.I found 4 sheds driving down the farm lane from the truck.

While looking for places to shed hunt places where you saw the deer earlier in the Fall or during hunting season could be void of deer now.You have to hunt sheds where the deer are at during late Winter/Early Spring.

OK,Once I've located a possible area to search for sheds I break it down further.I start off looking for fresh sign trying to locate where the deer are spending the majority of their time.I look for tracks or heavily used trails,if there's snow the tracks tell all.I check creek crossings for trails cut into the muddy banks.

While searching for fresh sign I'm trying to locate the feeding and bedding areas.

Bedding areas are usually the thickest cover or sheltered areas out of the weather.Thickets or brushy over grown fields as are south facing slopes or small hollows are all worth checking out.I've also found deer like to bed on points or flats on hillsides or benches where they can watch for danger.No different then bumping that deer on the top of the ridge and he jumps down over the other side.Any area that offers some protection from the elements is a good bet.

One year I was in an area that had produced good for me over the years.In my earlier scouting I saw the buck were using this area once again.There was a deep snow that year and after the snow melted I hit this area.I searched this area a couple of times and couldn't find any sheds.I knew my competition didn't beat me to the sheds so I started thinking.There was one area across a creek I avoided each time due to crossing the creek.It was in the corner of a field on a south facing slope bordering a small ravine thick with mountain laurel.

I no sooner started searching this area when I started finding sheds.I found 10 sheds all within 100yds. of each other with a couple of them being matching sets.During the deep snow the deer holed up in this small area and many dropped there.

Normally I find deer avoid the open fields during heavy snow unless there's a good food source there.The deer in this case liked that corner of the field for the warm sun hitting it most the day.I've had hay fields that have produced well for me until there's a deep snow.

One thing about snow.Depending when it snows or how much it could be your best friend or your worst enemy as a shed hunter.If the snow falls early and stays around before most the buck start dropping it could be a good thing.The deer for the most part will either hole up or use the same trails already cut into the snow.A great time to find sheds laying on top of the snow right in trails.If a crust of ice gathers on top of the snow it keeps the antlers from burying in the snow if the deer leave the trails.It also concentrates the sheds in a smaller area.

If a deep snow comes after the deer start to drop the snows could bury sheds til after the snow melts and sheds could be scattered all over the place.

Feeding areas are just that,where the deer are feeding.It could be a crop field to a oak flat or the shrubs in somebody's backyard.I've found my share of sheds in my suburbia areas laying in back yards. ]If you find a feeding area and the bedding areas,make sure to check the trails in between.I always check the trails for the obvious sheds then check the entire area between the two.The deer don't always stick to the trails,I've probably found more sheds off trails then on trails.

One obvious food source that I like to avoid til late season is the corn fields.I'll search the area around the field and trails coming into it,but will wait to search the field itself til last.Searching corn fields are time consuming so I wait til I'm sure all the buck have dropped before searching them.

When I search the field I take a couple rows on both sides of me and walk with the rows.Depending how thick the ground cover is in the field dictates how many rows I search on a pass.When I get to the end of the field I move over in the rows then make another pass til the whole field is searched.The corn stalks and leaves will give your eyesight a workout.You'll get more look a like sheds in a cut corn field then any where else.

A couple of tips to keep in mind while searching.

While looking for sheds look small and look close.No matter how open you think your area is,sheds will blend in great.I've found sheds 100yds. away,but most my finds are within 20yds. of me before I spot them.There's too many things that can hide a shed.Brush and leaves,a small depression in the landscape,the angle you look can hide them.Look for parts of the antler not the whole antler,some call it the 3" rule.Look for the curve of an antler,tines or the tips.Sometimes it's the off color of the antler that stands out.If you have an old antler take it out in the woods/fields and give it a toss.You'll be amazed how hard they are to spot.

Old sheds from prior years that are faded are much easier to spot then fresh ones.If the sheds last from the previous year most likely it will have chews on it from the local rodents.I've found old sheds with out chews and fresh sheds with chews.It all depends on how many rodents in the area and just where they get dropped.They tend to last longer in the open compared to being dropped in the woods.

Looking on over cast days or with a light rain make it easier to look and spot antlers.The antlers stand out better and the leaves lay down better exposing the antlers better.The same is true after a rain or snow melt.

Anywhere a buck has to exert energy like jumping a fence, a log,or climbing a steep bank could cause a antler to drop.Antlers could be dropped at any time so any sudden or fast movement could be enough to drop an antler.I've found sheds where a buck tried going under a fence already too.

One time I was driving down a country road and spotted a shed laying in the middle of the road.After a little more checking I found the other side laying on the bank.I then did a little search off the road and about 75yds.away. I found a dead deer.It was a dead buck that had just lost his antlers.The deer tried crossing the road and was hit by a car.The impact sent both his antlers flying.

Sometimes I'll find both antlers off the same buck laying together other times they could be a mile apart.I think the bigger the antlers the better the chance they"ll be dropped closer together.In general I think when a bigger buck drops one side he can feel the difference of weight on his head when that one antler drops,the smaller buck it may not be so obvious.

]I've seen two wild deer drop antlers.The first it was only one antler and when it dropped he was gone in a flash.The second deer I got to watch for awhile after one antler dropped.It was a small 6 pointer late March early April.He was jumping some logs when the first antler went flying.I watched him run down though some open woods and he was shaking his head like he had a swarm of bees flying around his head.After the second antler went flying he quit shaking his head.That buck had to realize the one antler was gone and was trying to get rid of the second.

You'll hear the bigger mature bucks usually drop first before the smaller younger buck do.As a general rule I think that is true with the elk upstate Pa.,but I've never seen that with the whitetails in my areas.I've seen small buck running around after shed dding one side then big 8 and 10 pointers the next day still carrying both sides.

I think I find more sheds over all in wooded areas or brushy fields.I find alot along side crop fields just inside the woods.Staging areas where the deer hang out waiting on darkness before entering the fields.

In all my areas I search,I search them a couple times each season.Not all the deer drop them at the same time.I may find a few sheds one day then go back 2 weeks later and find more.If I see deer still carrying while I'm looking or know there's mates still out there I keep looking.Late in the season towards the end I give all my areas a good grid pattern search.I break the area down in sections then make passes back and forth covering everything.Depending how thick the cover is dictates how wide my passes are.If I'm looking for a special antler earlier in the season I'll do the same.

Sometimes no matter how many times or what direction you search your areas you won't find all the sheds.Back in 99 I found a monster shed that scored 108".When I saw that thing laying at first I thought it was a bush.I did a dozen or so grid pattern searches in the area.I expanded my search out in all possible directions that deer could have gone and never did find the mate to that shed.

On days that I don't find sheds I always experience something new.I find my share of crippled or dead deer.One year I found a dead 8 pointer with some heavy cable attached to his rack and wrapped around his body.I find turtle shells and skulls off deer and other smaller animals.I've yet to find my first set of locked antlers.

I see all kinds of wildlife and have learned so much more about the deer and the world they live in while shedding.

So I'd say the best tip I could give you is to take a camera along,you'll want those "as they lay" shots of your finds.

A good pair of binoculars will save some foot work on those want'a be sheds too.You'll do enough walking as it is.

Did I forget to mention the walking part?Walk,walk and walk some more.

Hope this helps,Good Luck!!

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A lot of great posts on this subject. One thing I would like to add. Also remember not all sheds will be found on the ground. Remember to also look in Bushes and low hanging tree limbs. I have found a lot on the side of trials in bushes and low branches of trees. They are a lot harder to find tangled in them but that were most of mine have been found.

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Shed hunting tips .....

Some might call it cheating, but I'm not one of them! Take a cattle panel or similar and drive two posts so you can have the panel sitting upright. Now pour corn right next to the bottom o the panel. When the deer try and get to the corn, their antlers hit the panel and there I a good chance of finding numerous sheds that face fallen off here.

I have not tried it yet, but plan in givin it a try next year. I have heard a few guys say it works well.

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LDB - great insights. Great post. Personally, I have never found a shed in my life... been out looking a few times, for hours once several years ago. I would love to come across even a moderate 6 point.

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Last November I was looking for a deer my little brother shot at. I was looking for blood and ended up finding a 4 point shed. It was all chewed up but it is the only shed I've ever found. I'm gonna go out and try this month.

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Hello, friends! was in Russia on hunting. Used the Agency POWERINHUNT. No any problem! I brought home a bear! Tell me, did someone address them?
 

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