Shed-Hunting Know-How

If you haven't been out looking for shed antlers you are missing out on one of the best springtime activities, bar none! Why? First of all, the reward is a nice addition to your trophy collection especially if you happen across a nice antler or even a matched pair. Finding shed antlers gives you insight on where bucks winter and what a particular buck scores, plus if you find successive years off the same buck you can track antler growth and maturity patterns. While you're tromping through the woods, especially before the major spring green-up, look for beaten-down paths, rub lines and scrape lines. These pathways often glow without foliage to camouflage them.

Bbz1Here are some tips. First, bring along a binocular and glass for sheds. Look across fields and through woodlands for antler tips, curving objects and shiny surfaces. I spot more than 25 percent of my antlers by glassing. Next, get up high. I'll often get on a bluff or on top of my truck to look across fields for antlers. My favorite way to look for sheds is on horseback. The high vantage point allows me to peer into grass from more than six feet up in the air. You can't do that on a four-wheeler. My horse also saves me wear and tear on my feet and weaves in and out of brushy tight spots four-wheelers can't access either.

Bbz2 Finally, make your trip a family event. Since my kids were babies I've toted them in backpacks, on my shoulders and horseback through the woods looking for sheds, scouting for deer and checking out turkey hotspots. Cole, my 10-year-old son and I just returned from next door in Montana where we hunted sheds while scouting for whitetail and mule deer. The trip included an overnight campout and a variety of competitions including first antler found, most antlers found, largest single shed and largest matched pair. The scouting was valuable and the memories are priceless. Now get out there!

—Mark Kayser