SHED HUNTING


A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS

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The Group From Last Week

April 27, 2009

Sorry I didn’t get these up sooner, but here are some pics of all the sheds I got last week. I was in the deer yards for two days. I got those two sheds off the same buck, and in the process of looking for the matches to them, found two more sheds on Wednesday. Thursday started out slow. It was well into the afternoon before I found a decent-sized 4-point side. I nearly stepped on my only other shed of the trip. I was within 5 feet of it, walked past it, turned around to come back, and from the other angle, I could see the little 3-point side lying under a cedar. That same scenario has happened to me several times this year. Can’t imagine how many times it happens and I never realize it! My schedule may free up for a couple more days of shed hunting this week. I’m hoping so! Here’s the stringer shot.

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Matched Set, Sort Of

April 24, 2009

Made a trip up to the deer yards on Wednesday and Thursday. I was supposed to be there today too, but something always comes up it seems and I had to cut my trip short. Managed to get 6 more sheds. Can you believe it’s late April and I was in snow past my knees a few times? The hightlight of the trip happened right off the bat. I was in a new spot. I wanted to go uphill, but kept going downhill. Good thing. Found a nice 5-point side lying right out in the open (but still in the woods.) It was bleached kind of white. I wandered about 15 yards away to and lo and behold, here’s an even bigger 5-point side! There is no way in the world this isn’t the same buck. The antlers are mirror images of each other, right down to the same curved, bladed brow tines. The thing is, and I’m almost positive about this, they are consecutive years from the same buck, so not a true match! The first antler is lighter (although it was in the open and the second antler, which is brown, was in the shade). 1st has no skin ring, 2nd does. 2nd has the exact same configuration and is a mirror image except it has more mass throughout and longer tines! So there are two more matches laying out there that are going to rot away! Bummer! I have heard of people finding sheds from the same buck pretty much in the same spot each year, but I’d never been lucky enough to find such a spot until the other day! Anyone else had similar success? I will post pics of all the sheds when I get a chance, but for now, here’s the matched set that really isn’t a matched set, but still kinda is. You follow? If you’re still shed hunting, kudos to you! dsc_0323
Joe

Mmm, Something Smells Good!

April 21, 2009

… I think it’s the smell of a boiling deer head! Yup, that’s right, I’m doing a European mount on my trophy spike from last deer season! So I’m not shed hunting today, just boilin’ away. I’ve done a few of these and I really like the way they look. Anybody else try the boiling method? Any success or horror stories? It works, but it’s long and tedious. I’d like to go the dermested beetle route one of these times. I think this spike is going to look awesome as a European mount. It’s antlers are only 2 inches long! No other way to do them justice. It’ll probably be a few days before I get all the bleaching done, but I’ll post a pic when I get it done. Planning to hit the woods tomorrow for some more sheds.

Joe


Halfway Across the Country for Sheds

April 18, 2009

The last few days I’ve been lucky to host one of the most devout hunters/shed hunters I’ve ever met. Bethe Gettle, who frequently posts on this blog, came all the way from Pennsylvania to shed hunt a few days with me. All she thinks about is hunting and shed hunting. She’s got the addiction pretty bad. And she’s a good shed hunter, too. She is one shed away from tripling her total from last year! We made it out for a couple hours on Wednesday after she got here and a few hours this morning before she left, but didn’t find anything. We fared much better on Thursday and Friday. I’ve been itching to get into some deer yards, but I saved my favorite shed hunting spot for her trip. There was still quite a bit of snow. Quite often we went over our knee-high rubber boots in snow. But we were not deterred. Bethe started things off right when she found a 5-point shed with a cool sticker coming out of the base less than an hour into the day.  This one was quite old and had moss growing on it. Normally I’m a bit disappointed when I find an old one, but not Bethe. She’d never found one with moss on it, and said she was glad to find one like that. We did pretty good on Thursday, ending up with 6 total, including a 1-point, two 3-points, two 4-points and a 5-point. Those of you who have watched my DVD will remember the old green shed I dug out of the ice. I found another one frozen into the ground, but this time it was REALLY frozen into the ground. (Bethe asked me if I peed on last year’s shed to get it out of the ground. NO, I DIDN’T.) This year’s shed fell behind a log and only two of the four points were above ground. (Do you think there’s much shed hunting pressure in this area?) It was frozen in solid and I was going to leave it for a month and get it when things thawed. We did leave it … for about 3 hours before we went back and dug it out of the frozen ground with a screwdriver. It was a decent 4-point side. On Friday we didn’t do as well. We only picked up three: A 2-point and two 5-points. One of the 5-points I know I had walked within 10 feet of last year and never saw it! So all told, we picked up 9 sheds. I was impressed with Bethe. She wanted to walk all day and I had to convince her that we should take a break or get a snack. You couldn’t get her out of the woods! And last night, she made it back to the truck before I did as it was getting dark. Let’s just say I got a little “turned around.” It was a great adventure and I was really impressed with how well she did. It’s amazing you can take the shed hunting techniques you learn and use what you know to find sheds in a totally new area. Thanks again Bethe and great job!

Joe

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A Couple Brothers and a Couple Sheds

April 14, 2009

This is my second post today. Be sure to check out my earlier post, which is a followup to last Wednesday’s shed with pics. Yesterday I started heading home after visiting my family for Easter. Of course, being a shed hunter during shed season, I had to make a little detour. I stopped in at one of my favorite spots. This one had been shown to me by a friend, and another mutual friend actually showed HIM this spot. But I’m the only one that makes it back there with any regularity now. I try to hit it once a year if I can. Half hour out of the truck, and bam, I find a 2-point side. This thing is bleached white on the top side, and it was practically glowing in the pine plantation. I thought for sure it was a year old, but when I flipped it over it had great color. No skin ring. I’m sure now it’s this year’s shed, but it must have dropped early. It’s got a good-sized squirrel bite out of one spot. I found it only 20 yards from a pretty busy road. My friend found one in just about the same spot several years ago. I called my brother, who lives in town, to rub it in that’s I’d found one only a few miles from his place. My brother Jack is sort of a workaholic. He doesn’t have much time to shed hunt. He has found a handful of sheds, but he always likes to remind me that he’d found a shed before I ever had. Jack had about an hour to kill before going to a meeting, so he met me in the woods. By the time he got there, I’d scoured most of the areas in that particular spot, although there was a lot more ground to cover. I was showing him some of my favorite areas, informing him that I’d already been through them, when he noticed a grunt tube lying on the ground. I’d completely missed it, even though I’d walked right through there. If I could miss that … hmm… We moved to another small section of planted pines. I was busy telling him that he should really work the south edge of said pines when Jack called out, “I see it, I call it!” and he began hustling away from the pines and out into an open area adjacent to some brush (so much for my south edge of the pines theory! That’s where the deer are SUPPOSED to shed anyway.) As soon as I came around the corner of the thick brush, the shed was unmistakeable, glowing like a beacon out in the open.  It was a nice 4-point side. This is the first one Jack has found in a few years. I never thought he’d snatch one right out from under my nose! Haha! It was cool to get it. This one, too, is pretty white and has no skin ring, but I think it’s an early drop from this year. Not bad work for a couple brothers with an hour to kill, but for the record, anyone can see the bigger ones … it takes a real expert to see the smaller ones, right Jack?

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Follow-up on last Wednesday’s shed

Well, it’s been 6 days, and I finally went back to collect the shed I found last Wednesday. I figured this thing has been out there a few years, what’s another few days? I WISH I’d have found this thing fresh. It would have been a dandy back in its glory days. When I found it, all I could see were a few chewed-on white tips sticking up through the grass., and I thought it was a 4-point side The shed fell off right in a deer trail. When I pulled it out of the grass and leaves, I found that it had at least 6 points. The main beam is broken off at the end. I tried to find it buried in the ground but couldn’t. The brow tine is HUGE. There’s also a cool 3-inch sticker near the base. I wish I could have seen this thing fresh. Here are the before and after pics.

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Got one Wednesday

April 9, 2009

Well the monkey is off my back. There’s this place that always looks good and there’s tons of deer sign in it, but I had never found a shed in it until yesterday. I was out for less than an hour when I saw those magical tines poking up out of the grass. Thing is, there wasn’t much for tines poking up … that’s because this thing is basically buried in the ground! It has been there for multiple years. It’s got some chewing on the antler tips. I will definitely get an as it lay pic of this thing posted, but it’s gonna have to wait until next week. Big-time computer issues. Sob. Hoping to have a big week sheds-wise next week. Got a big shed hunting adventure planned. Weather has been great lately, let’s hope it doesn’t snow! Keep picking them up!

Joe


Bonus on a Nice Day!

April 5, 2009

First time out shed hunting today on my home turf in quite a while. It’s April, and I know for many of you, the season is winding down, but I’m just hitting my stride. April has traditionally been my best month, and I hope to keep it that way this year … unless I can find a bunch in May. Anyway, I got out in a spot I’ve only been to a couple times. It’s a really nice looking area. This is the first time I’ve been in there this year, and the snow is mostly gone, which means I can’t see all the deer tracks and beds from this winter. In other words, I have to start from scratch. That’s fine. There are no clearcut food sources here: no farm fields or anything like that. Deer in my area get by on browse. I had just gotten out for about a half hour when I found human footprints in the remaining snow, which we got about a week ago, so I know the tracks are from within the last week. My heart sank a bit when I saw the tracks, but I kept up hope, because about 20 yards off the tracks, I could see a fallen aspen tree, which is one of the few defined “food sources” you’ll see around here. The fallen aspen was sort of like a neon sign saying “look here!” So I did, and lo and behold, there was a 5-point shed lying there, apparently dropped while the buck browsed. The footprints never veered from the deer trail. Too bad, because this shed had lain on the ground for a while. It’s from this year and still has a skin ring, but it has some staining and is bleached a bit on one side. The weather was so nice today that I knew I needed to get outside for some fresh air, even though it was still a bit on the cool side. I decided I didn’t care if I didn’t find anything today … but that shed is a nice bonus! Hoping for more bones in the days ahead!

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Some pics

April 2, 2009

Well, I’m home and my computer is back up and running on most cylinders. Wanted to post a couple pics of my recent sheds. I’ll post pics of the two I got yesterday (sorry for the in-house shots once again).  Still don’t have a pic of that broken shed from last week, and right now it’s still buried many layers deep in my truck! I’m gonna have to dig it out soon! Anyway, the first shed is a pretty standard looking 3-pointer. The second shed is also a small 3-pointer, but I think he is part moose! He’s very palmated. It would be awesome to see what this deer looks like in future years. These are the first small sheds I’ve gotten in quite a while. Usually most of the sheds I find each year are from yearling bucks. This year I’ve been finding some larger sheds, which is great, but it makes me think I’m probably walking past a lot of little ones, since there are always more young bucks in a given deer herd.

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Need More Time!

Well, it’s April, and I’m still going strong. Don’t know how green it’s getting in some areas, but things are still brown here. The sad thing is I just haven’t had as much time to shed hunt as I’d like. Too busy going to shows and whatnot! The North American Shed Hunters show ended on Sunday, and I finally made it “home” this afternoon! Yesterday I returned to the area where I found that nice matched set last week. Half hour out of the truck and I had another shed in hand! An hour later, I picked up one of my most unique sheds yet! It’s a three-point side from a yearling buck, but it’s super palmated! Can’t wait to post some pics, but it’s gonna have to wait a day or two. Sorry! So I ended up getting 5 out of that spot, and as I suspected, when I got into one of the remnant patches of snow, I saw boot tracks! People always shed hunt this spot, but I’ve done very well there over the years! Just goes to show you that if you take your time and be thorough, you never know what you’ll find, even with other shed hunters in there! I spent a total of about 5 hours in there in two days and picked up 5 sheds. Pretty good average for me! And still I didn’t finish checking all the spots I wanted to. Plus there were a couple other areas nearby where I’m sure I could have found a shed or two. Just need more time! April is going to be a crazy busy month, and it’s usually the month I find the most sheds! Again, I need more time. Anyone got a time machine? I’m hoping to go to Alaska for the summer and perhaps pick up some moose or caribou sheds while I’m there! And if I have to stop a day or two in Saskatchewan on the way up, that would be ok too! I’ll try to get those shed pics up soon! Thanks all!

Joe


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