Another Kind of Hunting…

I am addicted to hunting, simply put. But then again, I think that most of us here have an addiction to hunting. I get a heavy heart when the last day of archery season comes and then goes here in Missouri, it is similar to a birthday coming and going. Four months seems like a long time to hunt, but it is over almost as soon as it began. But with the end of Missouri’s archery season comes another season that I look forward to, a season that requires no guns, bows, ammo, or permits for that matter. After the last day of archery season I hit the ground and begin my search for the trophies that begin to fall.
Though I was unable to harvest a white-tailed buck this season, I can still chase them in another fashion. Looking for their shed antlers is a great way to get me outside, staying healthy and understanding the landscape that the deer call home. I am still able to put my hands onto the antlers that belong to the bucks I had been chasing all season, and its an addiction of mine that I cannot control. I began looking for deer sheds five years ago, and during that first year I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I read through online forums, scrolling trough webpage after webpage and yet I only found four or five that first year. I knew that I was missing so many more, but how?!
I read through books, online articles and magazine articles about shed hunting and took that information to apply it to my own adventures in the woods. The second year I doubled, and I have made it a goal to find at least one more shed than the year before. This year I am already up to 9 sheds and one small spike dead head. Each is a treasure, no matter the size. Looking for deer sheds is a great way to get outside in the cold winter months, spend time with family and introduce children to the great outdoors. Getting children involved is a fun activity for them to stay active and not sit in front of a television set.
I will share with you a few tips that I have found to be helpful in looking for deer sheds. South facing slopes, hillsides and bedding areas are excellent places to look. These areas tend to get more sun, which in turn allows the deer to stay warmer. Looking in their bedding areas is another great place to look. These are easy to locate, especially when there is snow on the ground. Depressions in grass, leaves or snow are indicators of a deer bedding area. Many times a buck will lose one or both antlers while bedded. Walk along deer trails and the edges of fields, this has been a very good method for me in finding shed antlers, as the deer tend to travel edges. Creek crossings, fence crossings or any other area that forces a buck to jump and jolt loose his antlers is another great place to look. And never forget food plots and fields with standing silage.
Another good tip that I must remind myself when I start a new shed season is to walk with the sun at my back. Overcast days are best, as you do not have the glaring sun making it difficult to see. With the sun at your back, this allows also, for the shed antler to gleam in the light. After a light rain is another good time to look for antlers. While walking, too, never look directly down at your feet. Glance all around, as many times a shed can be just off a trail and be hiding in tall grass. If you do any prescribed burns on your property then I advise you to get out there after the burn and start a search, you will be amazed at what you can find!  When I find my first shed of the season I always toss it over my back and allowing it to fall again, then I turn around and allow myself to get used to seeing that bone in the grass, re-training my eyes to the image.
And lastly, take pictures. Everyone loves to see pictures and I always take pictures of a shed before I pick them up. I keep a shed hunting log, much like I keep a journal of my hunting adventures during season. But my shed hunting log has the time I began my walk, the time that I ended my walk, miles walked, location of my shed hunting trip and how many sheds and/or dead heads found. I then label each shed and dead head with a small tag with the date and its number within my season on it being found. I hope that this helps you all in your quest for finding those sheds. Remember that no shed is too small to be found, I have find spikes and I have found large 6 point sides! Get outside, get involved and help the younger generations get more involved with the outdoors!

 


Feb 24, 2015 | Category: Blog, Meagan's Corner | Comments: none

 

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