If you’re an Outdoor Life subscriber, chances are you read the March 2008 cover story, “Secrets of the Shed Masters,” about the Lemke family from Iowa and how they’ve amassed more than 1,000 whitetail sheds in the past few years.
And, if you’re a regular visitor to the Outdoor Life Web site, it’s likely you also caught my pal Bob Butz’s great piece about how to train your dog to become an antler-finding machine.
So, just in case you haven’t had your fill of shed antler stories, the ol' Outdoor Newshound has a special treat for you.
Meet Jim Phillips: The Antler Man.
The Three Forks, Mont. native’s phenominal shed antler collection comprises some 14,500 sheds displayed from floor to ceiling—and everywhere in between—inside a 30 x 64-foot building he constructed specifically for its display.
And, yes, he personally found every one.
Phillips, 59, has been hunting shed antlers in the Gallatin National Forest and on other Montana public lands for the past 50 years. An employee of the Montana Talcum Company, he spends most of his free time hunting—mule deer, whitetail, or their headgear—depending on the time of year.
Until recently, Phillips and his antlers were relatively unknown outside of Three Forks (population 1,735), where local folks know they’re always welcomed to bring visitors to view the impressive collection.
But today, thanks to the Internet, Phillips is becoming a cult hero among the growing legion of shed collectors who have recently discovered his new Web site, along with his virtual tour, descriptions and stories about his elk and deer racks.
Not only does his vast array of antlers provide a visual feast to the viewer, but each shed also has its own individual story--thanks to The Antler Man’s meticulous record keeping. Yes, Phillips has kept a detailed diary of every shed-hunting trip he has taken since 1969!
Does he ever get tired of looking at his antlers?
“I go out into the horn shed a couple of times every week,” Phillips said, “and each time I always see something new.”
The next time you’re out Montana way, may we suggest a side trip to the little town at the headwaters of the Missouri River? Tell Jim the Newshound sent you!