SHED HUNTING


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January 14, 2014

My biggest December shed ever!Hi shed hunting faithful!

I toyed with the idea of not doing my blog this year. Always so much going on. I’m trying to get a Facebook page going in addition to this blog. Please stop by and like my Facebook page “Goshedhunting.” Please feel free to share your stories on there as well! Shed season is in full swing here already. I’d gotten a question last week whether this Polar Vortex will affect when bucks shed their antlers. I don’t have a real solid answer for that. Stress is a major factor in when a buck sheds. Mature bucks will be worn down from the rut already. When you throw in cold temperatures, which require a deer to spend more time feeding to stay warm, combined with deep snow, which makes it harder to find food, you do have a recipe for added stress. In my area, I have been surprised at the number of large bucks that shed in December and early January. In addition, over that period, I cannot ever remember a winter being this brutally cold. The weatherman was pulling up all these statistics going back for decades over how cold our average temperature was and how much snow we had. In our area, I think it was the coldest December on record and the third-highest snow total. It was downright nasty and we wouldn’t get above 0 degrees F for days at a time. (It was -8 degrees when I got my first shed of the season, but we’ll get to that!) So yes, there was a recipe for stress and possible early shedding. Last year we had a mild December and early January, but from late January all the way to May, we got snow every few days and it was a super-late spring. It’s critical that things start to green up so these winter weary deer can find food. So it started like a lamb and finished like a lion last year. Even so, I saw lots of bucks carrying antlers well into March, including one that had a broken leg! So in a nutshell, I’m not sure what impact this weather has had. It could seem like some bucks are shedding early, but yesterday I saw a nice buck with full headgear. It kind of comes down to the individual deer. On a different subject, I’m on the board this year. I’ve actually got a few sheds to report, but I’ll start with my first fresh one of the season. Every year, I hear of people finding sheds in December. I never had. I kind of toyed with the idea of trying it this year, just to say I did. I went out one day around Christmas and came up empty. On Dec. 31, I thought I’d give it another try. I blanked at the first spot. I headed to another spot, but when I saw people in the area, I decided to go to a different place. I don’t think they were shed hunting, but I didn’t want to advertise what I was doing. I knew I’d either love that decision or regret it. With time running out, I went to an old standby. There was only about an hour of daylight left. It didn’t take too long before I spotted that magic that we all crave. Even though it was downright tiny, I knew what it was. It was justĀ a little 2-point side, but I was pretty stoked! My first December shed, fresh as a daisy. Now I just need sheds in July and October. I’m going to see how many months I can string together here. Good luck out there folks. Even if you can’t get out shed hunting right now, try to identify where bucks are spending the winter so you can get their antlers later.

Joe


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