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Print

Don’t look so hard for sheds

March 09, 2010 at 08:36 PM

SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

I have never been able to find antler sheds when I was looking for them. I have stepped on them. My Dad and I pulled a big one out of a tractor tire once. I’ve banged my head on those stuck in low hanging tree branches. But, on all my trips afield when I go looking for sheds, I have come up empty.

Stories frequently surface about hunters who see a buck progress through several stages of antler development by finding the sheds from the same deer year after year. They bide their time, hope no one shoots him and sometimes eventually harvest a buck that meets their trophy standards. I tend to trip over the deformed sheds of bucks that nobody really wants in the gene pool.

Every year, I see potential trophy bucks in January that survived all the sabot slugs and broad head arrows we threw at them during hunting season. I follow the shed hunting experts’ advice. I wait until the snow melts, and look before the grass gets too tall in the spring. I go out prepared to spend half a day and cover a lot of ground. I search along timber trails. I examine all the places where deer jump fences, and go across the crik. I look carefully along the sunny hillsides where deer lay up during the day. I check out the winter-feeding areas and places where there is open water. I even look in the spots where farmers put out hay bales for their livestock. I look everywhere I see deer in the winter.

I come up empty more often than a tin cup with a hole in it. Sometimes I think I’d have better luck climbing up in an old deer stand, with the hope that a buck would walk by and drop an antler while I was sitting there.

Even with my stunning lack of success, my shed hunting isn’t without its rewards. I’m starting to learn what the deer in my area do when no one is chasing them. I’ve found some escape trails I didn’t know existed, and I’ve jumped up some bald headed bucks in small patches of tight cover that I wouldn’t have looked at twice during deer season. This is information to file away for one of those deer hunting days when the season is getting short and the deer don’t seem to be moving.

More than anything, shed hunting is a good excuse to get out and take a look around the wild country when there’s not much else to do. The guys I know who routinely find antler sheds tell me I can’t find them because I don’t expect to. That might be so. Just to stir the pot, I tell them they can’t be sure that I haven’t already found the sheds of the Loch Ness buck. I leave them wondering if I’m keeping that information under my hat until it’s time to go out find him wearing bigger antlers next fall.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Maybe you would find more sheds if you looked in the standing corn.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 02:53 AM

true the corn is always a problem when its standing

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 03:39 PM

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