9 Tips and Places for Shed Hunting
Although it is still deer season, and we still are in the midst of the best time of year, soon the 2018 season will come to a close. Even though we do not want to process the thought that winter is closer than we would like to think, it is coming, and that is inevitable. Nevertheless, just because bow and gun season is over doesn’t mean the chase for whitetail’s has to be. Many of us have deer on the mind year round and that is why shed hunting is becoming so popular. Off season doesn’t just include scouting anymore, but now introduces the concept of searching for that elusive whitetail shed.
“Shed hunting” simply means that a hunter is searching for deer antlers that have naturally fallen off of the deer. Shedding season happens in late winter after the rut, which typically will take place in February or March in most of the United States. Shed hunting has become extremely popular for the hunter who wants to continue their season year-long and has also been known to help hunters take “inventory” on bucks that have made it through the hunting.
With that said, we have developed 9 different tips and places to help you master your shed hunting, and enhance your search for whitetails.
Tip #1: Keep Your Eyes on Quality, not Quantity.
Your eyes will get tired after searching acres of property. Try to hone in on some small areas that are very likely to hold bedded bucks. Thoroughly searching a small, yet high potential area can yield a far higher return than meandering throughout dozens of acres.
Tip#2: Travel to the Thick Brush of the Woods.
Deer feel safe in the thick brush of the woods. This also so happens to be where the antlers are more likely to get knocked off. Don’t be afraid to dive deep into the woods.
Tip #3: Look High and Look Low.
During the majority of the year bucks bed on the high ground, particularly on points or ridges. These locations can be a great spot to find shed from a whitetail. When the weather beings to get rough, and the wind starts picking up, bucks will seek shelter, which sends them between ridges or in creek bottoms.
Tip #4: Locate Whitetail Crossings.
Look anywhere a deer would have to jump or duck. A creek, a fence, a downed tree, or even a tree suspended over a major whitetail highway. All of these locations make for great spots to have a pair of shed jarred off.
Tip #5: Seek Whitetail Shelter
Half of the time, when hunters are looking for sheds they should actually be looking for the lone cedar or pine. Whitetail love these, as they offer additional shelter from snow and wind. Try to make a point to look under every pine tree and all of the cedar, as these are not uncommon areas for a whitetail to take shelter.
Tip #6: Look on the South Side.
The south side of a ridge tend to receive the most sun. Which means that deer will often bed in these locations, especially on a sunny day in the midst of winter.
Tip #7: Don’t Be Afraid to Meander Closer to Suburban Neighborhoods.
Whitetail are just like any other animal, hungry, leaving them to search for whatever it takes to find food. Therefore, if you have the chance, don’t be too shy and check-out your neighborhood wooded area. I mean after all, a whitetail doesn’t mind robbing your birdfeeder.
Tip #8: Hunt for Shed on a Sunny Day with No Snow
Antlers are generally a light brown to off white and can very easily blend into their snowy environment. This can make shedding somewhat difficult. Therefore, if you have the chance, always optimize your time on bright days with minimal snow. The contrast between the antlers and the matted down leaves make them far easier to find.
Tip #9: Mark Where You Find Your Shed on HuntWise.
Bucks will generally bed in the same general areas every winter. This means that your sheds you collected this year are most likely to be a hot spot for the next year as well. Mark them on the HuntWise app, just like you would a tree stand, and get ready for another awesome year.
Overall, we want to see you succeed year round. Whether that during gun season, scouting season, or practicing archery during the summer, we want you prepared. Therefore, take the time to locate your favorite hunting spots shedding areas to take inventory, and prepare for the next season.