Sheds, Bows, Cow Pies and Deer Trails

April_14_06 Get out there and do one more good round of shedding this weekend (well, take Easter morning off, but an afternoon hike to burn off the ham might work). As I pointed out in a post a couple of weeks ago, a lot of bucks from Canada to Iowa to Arkansas seem to be carrying their 2005 antlers well into 06.

Still are in places. Joe, a Zoner from New Jersey, reports that on the drive home from work last Friday he spotted a big 8-pointer in his neighbor’s backyard. April 7 is late, but not unheard of in the East, where most racks drop January through March. What’s the latest you’ve ever seen a buck with one or both horns still up?

When you’re out there, here are 2 new tricks to try.

My buddy Luke Strommen is a shed-hunting super freak. He starts scouring the shores of the Milk River (MT) in December (some bucks drop early out there) and he’s still going strong. Last week, Luke and his cousin Dave went out with their longbows and some wooden arrows.

“We bring our bows and do a little stump shooting to get some practice in,” Luke wrote in his field journal over at Hunting Net. “But that day we didn’t shoot at stumps because there were a lot of old cow pies around. A cow pie makes a great target. When you hit one with a rubber blunt or judo point, the prairie muffin explodes, confirming a direct hit.”

I got to thinking that back East where there are zillions of people somebody might hassle you or even call the cops if they see you wandering around with your Hoyt or Mathews in April, but to hell with them. Shoot all the stumps and cow dung you want, so long as you're safe.

Dave hollered for Luke come and check out a nice set of antlers. The bad news, they were attached to a skull and carcass. Shedders across the country are finding a lot of dead bucks. Sad, but that’s how Ma Nature works.

April_14_06_2 Another friend, Don Kisky, uses his March/April shed hunts to do one thing: learn every main and secondary deer trail on his property; where those paths come and go; where they crisscross; how and where they turn... That helps the Iowa boy kill giants.

One day Kisky was walking along and spotted this monster boring straight at him. He scanned the area and knew exactly which trail the buck was on, and where it curved. Old Don ducked behind a tree, drew his bow and killed the 177-incher when it was broadside in the bend.

So get your butt back out there, you can never shoot your bow or learn too much.