Shed Traps

February 7, 2011

I’m posting this topic in response to a question Todd Blettner wrote on my last post. I think it’s a good topic. There is a lot of talk about shed traps. I have not personally used them. For one thing, I don’t have a good place to set one out, and two, I think personally I like the challenge of finding them on my own. I am a little leery of them, just for the sake of the animals. Shed traps vary from homemade contraptions to professionally made products. Some use chicken wire, rubber bungee cords or other materials that are designed to help knock an antler loose as the deer feeds on bait. The whole baiting and feeding issue is a big can of worms in my home¬† state of Wisconsin, where chronic wasting disease has been found in some areas of the state in our wild deer. Because it is thought CWD is transmitted through saliva from one animal to another, it is illegal in some areas to feed deer. I know a lot of people enjoy feeding and watching deer.¬† I guess I’m kind of neutral on the issue. My concern is always for the deer. The composition of the shed trap is also important. The last thing you want is for a deer to become entangled in the trap. If an antler isn’t very close to shedding on its own, it simply will not come loose. The shedding process happens so fast, you could literally drag a buck by its antlers one day and they will fall off from their own weight the next. So avoid chicken wire or plastic snow fencing. The bungees may be a better option, particularly if they are allowed to break away. One thing I’ve heard of but haven’t tried is the stake method where you drive several wooden stakes in the ground and dump the bait around it. The stakes provide resistance that could potentially knock loose an antler, with no chance of ensnaring the deer. That’s my 2 cents, but like I said, I have never used a shed trap. Anyone have opinions/experiences with them, either homemade or commercial? I’d be interested to hear about it.



  1. I’ve never tried anything myself, but I read of one guy staking out a low fence around his bait so the deer would have to jump over it to get to the bait. This seems like a safe way to go about it without posing any threat to the deer. I would prefer to go out and look for them myself, and find them in their natural setting. To each his own though!

    Comment by Nic D — February 7, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  2. On our farm we have a home made feeder. It’s a 6 in. PVC pipe. It’s about 8ft. long and has a Y stub at the bottom the corn or oats slides down as they eat it. One bungee strap at the top and one at the bottom. My brother’s and I don’t have anything else that is built on it to knock there antlers off. Tried that years ago and found the thing laying 20 ft. from where we put it. Our camera’s are set 2 min. apart and we get around 625 pictures a night. Even the old bucks are eating out of it. We usually find a lot of the sheds there or near the pipe. It is pretty cool and easy to make. We only do this on our 1 farm.
    I pick up over a 100 antlers a year and 10-20 come from the pipe. We have shelled corn and oats on the farm so it’s not to expensive for us.
    Other wise I prefer to walk. I walk around 40 farms.

    Comment by Bill — February 7, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  3. I totally agree that there is no substitute for the many miles and hundreds of hours spent walking for your best chance at finding the most sheds. Like I said I was just wondering if some of these shed traps worked or were they just a waste of time and money spent on bait. One of my biggest joys of shed hunting is learning more about the deer’s habits when I’m scouting and looking for sheds in the spring. Also it’s probably my only hobby that is FREE!! So even if these traps helped with my total shed amounts, I don’t think I want to start paying for corn at $9.00 per 50 lbs. Joe, Thanks for responding. Todd

    Comment by Todd Blettner — February 9, 2011 @ 12:34 am

  4. Thanks folks for weighing in on the topic. Always interesting to hear about other peoples’ experiences. And Todd, thanks for coming up with the topic. I’ve gotta say, I wouldn’t mind walking out to a trap and finding sheds the easy way (any way to get ‘em, right?) but Todd makes a good point that you learn so much about a deer’s movements by walking around and looking for sheds. I know I’ve learned more about deer from shed hunting than from all my time in a deer stand. Bill, I had no idea you walked so many farms and found so many sheds! That’s impressive! Nic, I hadn’t considered a fence to make a deer jump, but that’s not a bad idea either!

    Comment by joe — February 9, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  5. I’m laid off Jan., Feb., and March so I hit her pretty hard. I shed hunt farm’s from the Minnesota border to the Missouri border. We feed the deer on our farm to keep track of them. We have sheds off some of the deer for 5 years and yes we bow hunt and shotgun hunt. NO PRESSURE though that keep’s them there. No Bull I have picked up around 3,000 antlers in the last 15 years. I’ve been to Saskatchewan twice shed hunting. I enjoy shed hunting and seeing different landscapes and meeting great people. A lot of the farms I shed hunt I have had permission for almost 10 years when no one new what a deer shed was. A buck I had at the feeder yesterday was there last night with one side missing. Not big enough to go look for, a lot of bigger ones holding.
    This is what it cost me a day to feed-
    1-3rd crop alfalfa square bale a day-$3.00
    Half bag of shelled corn to put in feeder- $4.00
    1 big bag of ear corn a day- $2.00
    About $10.00 a day.
    I don’t have batteries for three camera’s figured in for 3 month’s.
    My Dad and two brother’s help me with the cost.
    My wife think’s I’m crazy until she find’s a 75 in. side then she is pumped.
    It’s priceless though when you can kill one of these buck’s and have followed him since he was a pup. Four of the bucks that I have taken with the bow I have match sets for 2-3 years.
    It’s a lot of enjoyment for my family.
    P.S. One of the farmer’s ground I shed hunt on cut’s a cedar tree down every year and put’s it by his bunker silo and throw’s corn in it he find’s all kind’s of sheds. In 2009 i found 46 shed’s on his farm it was like picking morrel’s.
    I’ll talk to ya’s later I could talk about shed hunting all day!

    Comment by Bill — February 9, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  6. Bill, that’s unbelievable! It sounds like you’ve really got the addiction bad! Ha ha! Sounds like you are incredibly passionate about it, to do all that traveling and feeding. Man, that’s amazing! Good for you! Keep it up!

    Comment by joe — February 11, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  7. Hey joe,
    so anyways, the shed traps right? i’m 12 years old and i have used the wired fence before and i got a 10 point match up. it was awesome.I live in cook county, where the monsters live. :) i have to say any teqniue will work. if you have food, the bucks will come. just hope they have thier rack on for you when they visit your bait shop!

    Comment by Jenna — September 19, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  8. Thanks for the post, Jenna. And conrgats on the 10-point set!

    Comment by joe — December 10, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

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