Jonesing for Sheds

Just inside the front door at my sons' elementary school is graphic indication of the type of winter we're enduring.

It's a 9-foot length of red construction paper, starting at the floor and climbing the wall, hatched with black magic marker to indicate both inches and feet. Near the top, pointing to the 8-foot, 1-inch mark, is a big arrow, and near the bottom, at the 30-inch mark, is a smaller arrow arrow. Off to the side is a note that makes sense of this graph.

"Will Glasgow receive 100 inches of snow?"

Not yet. We're at a bit over 97 inches (our normal snowfall is indicated by the lower arrow) but I'm betting the graph will top out before this brutal month of March is over.

I'm willing winter to end for lots of reasons, not the least of which is because it's totally screwed up my shed-hunting schedule. Normally by this time of year I have stacked up a couple dozen whitetail sheds and at least a handful of mule deer sheds. But this year the only antlers I've found are those dropped near our hay yard, where hard-pressed deer have been finding the only calories they can.

I'm not the only guy jonesing for shed hunting. Across the Northern Plains and Midwest, shed antlers are buried under feet of snow, waiting for turkey season before we can liberate them from the deep freeze.

If you can't get out to find your own sheds, the next best thing is checking out a remarkable collection of antlers accumulated by the North American Shed Hunters Club. Visit their site to download your own scoring sheets and to find out where you can see their traveling exhibit of sloughed-off bone.

And if you're anywhere near the Wisconsin Dells this weekend, you can see the shed collection as part of the remarkable Wisconsin Big Buck Classic where even the most winter-weary deer hunter can find off-season rejuvenation.