How to Be Successful Finding Deer Sheds
Shed hunting is a popular side activity for many hunters outside regular seasons. You can find deer antlers in the winter lying in various spots around the woods. Successful shed hunting involves knowing the movements of deer in the area you’re searching and using a methodical approach to investigating the terrain you’ve chosen to look. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when setting out to find sheds and where you’re most likely to be successful in your hunt.
1. Find where the deer are feeding.
Search for the areas with enough vegetation to sustain a group of deer through the winter months. In the woods this involves looking around clear cut areas and hard mast like acorns and nuts. Around farming areas this might mean looking around tall crops like soybean and corn. Windblown hilltops where the snow isn’t as deep and the vegetation is poking through are also good areas to look.
2. Find where the deer are bedding.
This involves looking around for areas that offer thermal protection from the elements and security cover from predators. South-facing slopes get more sunlight and the snow melts quicker, exposing the vegetation underneath the snow earlier in the year and providing an ideal environment for deer. Bedding areas tend to be around a quarter mile from the food source in thick, hard to reach brush.
3. Search the travel paths.
Once you know roughly where the bedding spots are, along with the likely location of the feeding spots, look in the area in-between the two locations where the deer frequently travel. After the feeding and bedding spots, this area is one of the places the deer spend a lot of time and your chances of finding sheds improves.
4. Look around the jump and bumps.
The “jump and bumps” are areas where a buck is forced to jump or where he may stumble while walking or running. These are places where the loose antlers may become dislodged and fall to the ground. Fences, steep ditches, creeks and various rocky areas are good locations to find sheds.
5. Look for the Bits and Pieces.
Don’t look for a full antler all the time. Often it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for just the tip of the tine or the curve of a main beam in the grass or leaves. If you’re on the lookout for full antlers, you’re likely to miss a lot of potential finds which are more hidden.
6. Change your perspective.
Gain a perspective above ground by standing on a large rock or downed tree and scan the ground from a higher vantage point. You can also crouch down and search the ground around a feeding or bedding area instead of just standing and looking around the ground at eye level. These different perspectives can help you notice sheds that might otherwise escape your notice.
7. Use Optics.
Using optics can help you find more sheds. It’s quicker and more effective to cover large patches of open ground using a good set of binoculars. Make sure you bring a high quality pair with you to help you focus on the areas where you think you see a shed from afar-especially if its in a hard to reach area. It can save you the time and trouble of navigating the terrain only to find that what you thought was a shed was a branch poking out of the leaves.
8. Plan your path.
Check the places that are easily accessible first. These include roads, fields and other open areas where people are more likely to pick up the sheds. Afterwards, check the woods, thick cover and high grass. This is where the best antlers are usually found.
It takes time to find sheds. Expect to walk for miles and use a good portion of a day if you want to increase your chance of success. But when you’ve found that prize shed, the feeling you get makes it worth the effort. Once you’ve found your new trophy, you can take a picture of it and send in the photograph to us. We’ll make you a custom deer decal
you can put on your truck to show off while you drive to your next hunt.
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