Dropping Antlers

With the majority of the 2012 whitetail season in the history books, there is a new kind of hunting for whitetail that begins and requires a little bit of a different skill; no rifles or bows, no camouflage, no early morning waking up or late nights. You don’t need grunt calls, rattle bags, camo face paint, a tree stand or ground blind, or trail cameras. The number one piece of equipment you need for this kind of hunting is your binoculars. It’s time to go hunting for antler sheds ya’ll!


Every deer is different and can shed their antlers from the end of December through April & after you have hunted your area for a while you will learn the best time to look for antler sheds. Trying to find the prime time is important to find full sheds that are intact because waiting too long after the sheds have dropped can leave them open for damage. The antlers can easily be bleached by the sun which can not only change the color and unique variations of each one, but can diminish the mass of the antler as well. There is also the possibility of damage from rats and squirrels gnawing on the antler changing the shape and structure.


The best spot to start searching for antler sheds is in and around the deer’s bedding area and near scrapes and rubs. Although these are the prime spots to search, deer can lose their antlers at any time and this is where your binoculars and feet come into play. Stand atop a hill or near an opening and start glassing the area for sheds. Searching midday with the sun out is best if possible in your hunting area because many times the sun will reflect off the shed providing an easier find. Walking paths and fence lines are good too especially late in the ‘shed season’ because coyotes and predators can drag them to fence lines where they can get hung up; unfortunately these sheds could be damaged but are still fun to find.


Hunting for sheds is a good tool for completing an inventory of the bucks in your area that are still around and weren’t harvested the past season, as well as providing an insight into any bucks you may not have seen or caught on camera. You can use your finds as a foreshadowing tool for your upcoming season as well. You can even indentify the bucks that had been fighting if you find any sheds that are broken off.


Finding antler sheds has many more advantages than just learning about the deer in your area. This is an activity that can be shared with the entire family, it’s free, and it’s great exercise. Bringing the family out for a day at the ranch or any public land can lead to great adventure for the kids and another opportunity to experience the outdoors for free all while walking and hiking beautiful land. You might also be surprised at other things you could find like beautiful turkey feathers (if you have turkey in your area) that in my opinion are gorgeous with their markings and colors.


If you are lucky enough to find sheds you can use them for many different things. Many people collect sheds to use for their own personal ‘rattling horns’ (its best to cut off the brow tines to keep from pinching your fingers), or you can use antlers to decorate your home on walls, wreaths, or even used as functional pieces such as a candle holders or cabinet handles. Others use antlers to hand craft tools such as knife handles or even in jewelry. For example I have a cross necklace that was cut from a deer antler. Turkey feathers can also be used to decorate and I was blessed to have a turkey harvested at the venue for my husband and I’s wedding and the feathers were cleaned and used in the bouquets, boutonnieres, and even on the wedding cakes. The best part of these pieces is that each one is unique and if you found it yourself there will always be a story for the family to enjoy.


I love shed hunting and I love finding them even when I am not looking; in fact I consider them lucky charms. On a recent walk to my ground blind in December I saw the small bumpy white base of an antler shed buried in the ground. I knew exactly what it was and I had to dig it up. I knew I had to make quick work of the situation because I needed to get in my blind soon so I found a rock and started digging the dirt around the shed. It ended up being more work than expected but I kept digging. The G2 was buried deep so I kept digging and finally I was able to pull it out of the dirt. This shed had been buried for a long time and I had walked down this path so many times it was unbelievable how it had been missed. I guess it had been buried pretty deep and all of our walking over it, rain, and natural erosion finally removed enough dirt for a piece of it to peak through. I was ecstatic to have made this find. What you don’t know is that two days later I shot my “Bittersweet Buck” out of that ground blind and I like to think that shed was a little piece of luck that helped me.


So even though deer season might be over, it’s about to be a great time to get back out there and start scouting for antler sheds. Although I have only had the opportunity for searching for whitetail sheds, I am sure there is plenty of adventure in your area and other animal sheds that can be exciting to find.

Jan 12, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 6


6 comments on “Dropping Antlers

  1. Vicki

    Very nice article, Candace. Makes me want to hurry up to the ranch and start scouting! Gotta beat the coyotes.

  2. Brian Heffner Temple,Texas

    That was great Candace! You touched all the bases with nothing unmentioned. A creative mind can think of all kinds of uses for deer antlers, the American Indians sure did. As you said, it also gives others who may not hunt, a chance to explore the beauty of nature and it’s many wonders without a gun. I found a perfect arrowhead while hunting sheds one year and that has led to yet another hobby. Boredom does not exist in the great outdoors and the clean fresh air is a great way to clear your mind for Monday.

    • Candace

      you are right! you will never know what you will find out there; we have found arrow heads at our place too which is awesome. I just want everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy the outdoors and it might change your perspective and want to hunting 🙂

  3. Nena

    Antler sheds can be fun to look for and decorate with! I liked that blog! I bet your four legged friend would like to go look for some sheds with you! All my dogs like chewing on them. I have to keep the nice sheds up high so they can’t get to them.

  4. just reading the blog, lots of valuable info. for the first time hunters. I will be sure to use that info when my son an I make it back out in Gods country to see what we cant find. Nothing like being in the Great Outdoors. Hopefully we will have some luck.
    Really enjoyed the article,

    Thanks and have a wonderful day.

    • Candace

      Thanks Michael. I am glad you can use these little tips to help out. If I can help anyone out with the small amount of knowledge I have gained I am happy. Let me know if you have any luck hunting sheds! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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