SHED HUNTING


A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS

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Email responses

March 31, 2009

Hey Gang,

Just wanted to say sorry if I don’t get back to you right away with pics that you send. I’m on dial-up right now and haven’t had the time to open large files. Windy and rainy today in southern WI and snowing in the north. Great shed weather. I can’t believe it’s almost April!

Joe


Back from NASHC show

March 29, 2009

The North American Shed Hunters Club show is over and it was a fun event. Some very impressive sheds down there. It was great to meet some of you down there and talk sheds. Thanks to all the folks who stopped by to chat. After being cooped up inside all weekend, I’m itching to get out and pick up some bone! Hopefully Monday, and if not then, Tuesday for sure! Trying to get caught up on some emails for now. I also wanted to make a clarification. Todd e-mailed me and asked about my comment on my last post about deer not wintering where there are squirrels. I didn’t mean to confuse anyone by this. Deer certainly spend the winter where there are squirrels (as anyone who’s ever picked up a gnawed-on antler can attest). What I meant was in my shed hunting grounds of northern WI and MN, deer often winter in areas where there are few squirrels. Deer are often found in aspens, which don’t have too many squirrels, and oak forests - which are real squirrel areas - are few and far between in my neck of the woods. It’s not that deer refuse to hang out where there are squirrels because they certainly do. Just incidental that there aren’t a lot of squirrels where I shed hunt, that’s all. (And yes, I know how lucky I am!) Hope that clears things up a bit. Good luck out there!

Joe


It’s been a while…

March 26, 2009

Sorry folks, I know it’s been a while, but man, it’s been busy! I was in Dubuque, Iowa last weekend for the Circle M Antler Auction. Some amazing antlers there! Of course, I was stuck inside running my booth and doing shed hunting seminars while it was 60 degrees and beautiful out! I returned home to freezing rain. There was a quarter-inch of ice on everything! Got out shed hunting that day just because and ended up falling through a frozen ditch up to my waist! Tuesday I accompanied a wildlife biologist to some deer yards to assess winter severity in our area. We didn’t find any dead deer, which is a good thing, but we didn’t find any sheds either, which is a bad thing! Ha! Today I stopped in to visit my old co-workers at Deer & Deer Hunting magazine. Good seeing them. And be sure to check out the June issue of D&DH, which is just coming out, because there is a shed hunting article in it by yours truly. After leaving the D&DH office, I ventured out into one of my old shed hunting honey holes. This is the place where I picked up the shed on the cover of the DVD from last year. I only had a couple hours to look, but man, am I glad I stopped! First I found a shed from a buck that must have been a fighter. The buck broke his antler off just above the brow tine, so my shed is only about 5 inches long. I think it would have been a fairly good-sized buck. It was getting dark and I had a lot of ground to cover. I really lucked out and came across a nice matched set from a good-sized 8-pointer! They were about 10 feet apart, but the match was in the grass. In fact, I think I went right past it (without seeing it) as I went to pick up the first one. No pics tonight because I’m on dial-up at my folks’ house! Thrilled to pick up some bone again. Friday thru Sunday I’ll be at the North American Shed Hunters’ Club show in Wisconsin Dells, WI. If you’re in the area, definitely stop in. Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be doing any shed hunting for the next three days! Good luck!


Too Busy to Shed Hunt!

March 17, 2009

Hey, I’m Irish, but no luck for me on St. Patty’s Day! Didn’t have time to get out today. Things are going to be pretty busy for me the next couple weeks, and that’s disappointing because this is my prime shed hunting time! The snow has really melted here in the last couple days. South slopes are bare, north slopes are snowy. I wish we’d get dumped on with a foot of snow to keep those antlers hidden for a few days while I’m gone! Yesterday I met up with Dave Carlson, who hosts a TV show called Northland Adventures. We filmed a segment on shed hunting for his show. I took him to the area where Hooks hangs out, but we didn’t see the legendary buck (ok, he’s not that legendary). Had a great time and it was great to meet Dave. The show will air the weekend of March 28-29. Check out his website www.northlandadventures.com to learn more about the show. This weekend I’m heading to Dubuque, Iowa for the 2009 Whitetail Classic Sport Show and Antler Auction. There are going to be some huge sheds auctioned off! I will be giving a seminar on shed hunting every day of the show (Friday thru Sunday). I’ll also have a booth down there. If you’re in the area, stop in! I’m from Wisconsin but this will only be my third trip ever to Iowa! I’m hoping to get down there a day early and do some shed hunting, but things are filling up this week. So unfortunately, I won’t be able to spend much time out for sheds in the coming days, nor will I be able to update the blog much, I’m guessing. Good luck to everyone this week. Spring is in the air and the sheds are on the ground. Go get ‘em!

Joe


Five Reasons for Hope!

March 15, 2009

Wow, what a gorgeous day! Three days ago it was below zero, this afternoon I was walking topless for a while because I was getting too warm in my sweatshirt! I love March weather! Let me back up a minute by saying that yesterday’s radio interview went well. I wasn’t nervous - my biggest fear was that my cell phone would conk out right during the show. It tends to be moody sometimes, even when I have good reception, but I made it through ok and it was a fun time. I got out yesterday afternoon for a while (it was another beautiful day) but came up empty, despite being quite optimistic. Today I went to a place right near where I’d been yesterday, but I’d never set foot in this area. The deer sign wasn’t too abundant for the most part, and I was starting to think I was wasting my time, but as I returned toward the truck, I got into some better sign. As I was walking along through a mostly snowy woods, the sun filtering down through the aspens illuminated one of my favorite sights — that of white antler tines jutting skyward! The shed was lying right at the base of a tree. I found one just like that last year and got it on video (it’s also on youtube. don’t know if this link will work or not, so you’ll have to copy and paste because I’m not computer savvy enough!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLQbMucYPVk Anyway, this 5-point shed is a year old. So many days I get so frustrated from seeing all these people tracks in the woods and I think it’s a wonder that I ever find any sheds. Then you find one that’s been out there for a year, and it doesn’t seem possible. Best of all, I was in the aspens, which means no squirrels. Not a single chew mark on it. Pic below. Sorry for not getting a nice pretty pic  in the woods!

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2nd Antler off Same Buck?

March 13, 2009

Before I say anything, be sure to read my other post from earlier today about my radio interview tomorrow (see below). It promises to be interesting. Hope I don’t say anything embarrassing! I snuck outside for a couple hours this afternoon. I sort of had to. It was so nice out after being bitterly cold again the last couple days. We ended up with about 3 inches of snow the other day - not the foot that the weatherman was predicting. Still, it was bad enough. Only 5 or 10 minutes out of the truck, I was ready to give up. It was just too snowy (it’s supposed to melt soon anyway) and truthfully my heart wasn’t into it today. But I decided to stick it out for a little bit and at least try a spot that’s been productive in the past. This area gets its share of shed hunting pressure and I always see a lot of deer here. Besides, I needed to see some new ground. I have been in the area looking for Hooks’ shed(s) four times in the last week and I’m getting burned out. I haven’t seen him since Monday, so I don’t know if he has dropped his second antler yet or not. Anyway, not a half hour into today’s hike I reached a spot I like on a hillside. I was amazingly close before I saw these tines poking up! Snow or no snow, I should have seen this from a mile away, but I didn’t. Wonder how many I walked past, being this unobservant. It’s a 4-point left side. Interestingly, I found a 4-point right side within 20 yards of today’s find last year on March 10. I think there’s a strong possibility this is the same buck, although I only come in here to shed hunt and have never seen the buck or bucks carrying antlers. Today’s shed is very curvy, and last year’s smaller one even has a decent amount of curve for a small antler. The bases look awfully similar too. Both have good skin rings. Maybe there’s a way I could peel it off and do a DNA test! Either way, I didn’t deserve this shed. There have been days when I try so hard and come up empty. Today I was ready to quit before I hardly even got started. I guess that’s Friday the 13th for you! Here’s a comparison of last year’s shed with this year’s.

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Radio Interview Saturday

Well we lucked out for the most part here. We didn’t get nearly as much snow as predicted … only about 3 inches. Not ideal, but I can deal with it. I was out yesterday for a bit but came up empty. I will be doing a radio interview tomorrow, March 14 with Scott Huschle on his Down River Outdoors radio show, based out of Mattoon, IL. If you’re in the area, you can tune in at 101.3 FM. You can also listen to it over the internet at www.downriveroutdoors.net. I believe it will also be available online after the broadcast … which means you won’t have to be listening live at 7 a.m. tomorrow! Should be interesting. Hoping to get out for some sheds this afternoon. So many errands though! This month has gotten very busy, at a time when I’d much rather be in the woods! Good luck out there!

Joe


Hooks is a Halfrack!

March 10, 2009

We are supposed to get up to a foot of snow between today and tomorrow, so yesterday I blew off everything I was supposed to do and went shed hunting! I started out in a new area, but wasn’t seeing deer sign like I’d hoped, so I went back to my usual spot. The dilemma of urban shed hunting is there are so many shed hunters here, you have to be the first one to come across the shed, which means you have to constantly cover the same ground. It really gets old. I have spots where I go to once a year and no one is in there and the sheds are waiting for me after the snow melts. That’s how I prefer it, but in these urban areas, I have the benefit of watching these deer and seeing the same deer on many occasions. I was just going to cover some of the out-of-the-way spots in this area, but I’d hardly left the truck when I saw “Hooks” the big 6-pointer, and he was missing his right antler! His bare pedicle was bloody and he must have shed that antler very recently. I texted my friend Aaron, and he and his new puppy came out to help with the search. He couldn’t stay long, but I figured between the two of us, we ought to be able to find it! No such luck! “Unfortunately,” all I found was a big 4-point side! Would have been a nice 5, but apparently the brow busted off in velvet. Any other day I’d have been thrilled to find it, but today I had one specific antler on my mind. The 4-point side is this year’s shed and I’d walked within about 20 yards of it many times. It was buried in the brush. I go to this spot about 3 times a week and I’ve never seen the buck who carried this antler! All told, I searched for Hooks’ shed for about 7 hours and couldn’t find it. Usually it takes me 3 hours to cover this area, so I was really checking it over. I did see another guy out today who was obviously a shed hunter. Maybe he’s got it! Maybe I should have asked him. Disappointing day. I thought for sure I was going to get that shed. No giving up, but this snow is going to make things complicated. Keep your eyes on the ground.

Joe

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Rolled the Dice…

March 8, 2009

Thanks to everyone who has been posting on the site lately. It sounds like people are finding sheds and that’s nice to hear. Well, today is March 8. Last year I picked up my first shed of the year on the 8th. Usually I find very few sheds prior to March. But when March rolls around, I get serious. Today I didn’t want to find a shed … I NEEDED to find a shed! I’ve been gone a lot lately and haven’t had the time to put in that I want. Oh, and then there’s the weather … they’re predicting a foot of snow for Tuesday, and that’s not exactly a good thing! So make hay while the sun shines, right? I knew I was going to get one today, but I took a gamble and tried a brand new area I’ve never set foot in before. I have been working over the same areas so much and I just wanted to find some new ground, and hopefully not any footprints! I did find footprints, and after a couple hours, I was starting to doubt this new spot. I just wasn’t seeing as much deer sign as I had thought I would. But my patience was rewarded and I lucked out and scored a pretty nice 4-point shed. It was in a textbook area - right on the south edge of a pine forest. I needed to find it so badly. It’s been such a stressful week. Finding it was just what I needed. The picture is not “as it lay” but you can see it better this way. It’s got a little sticker out of the side of the brow tine in the same place as the one I found Feb. 15, but this shed was in a completely different area. Given the weather forecast, I plan to hit it pretty hard tomorrow before the snow comes! Good luck out there!

Joe

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Solon Mercantile Talks Today

March 7, 2009

Just wanted to thank everyone who came to my shed hunting talks today in Solon Springs. It was a nice turnout, especially considering the beautiful weather we had! It is a totally different world in the woods right now compared to earlier in the week. A lot of the snow has melted. I love this time of year! March has always been my favorite month, even before my shed hunting days. I love winter, but I really love that “springy” feeling like I had today! I would have loved to have been in the woods all day today, but duty calls! I did manage to get out for a couple hours tonight, but due to limited time, I stuck to some low-percentage areas around home and came up empty. I am very optimistic for tomorrow. I plan to hit it hard tomorrow, which means I better not hit it too hard tonight!

Joe


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