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March 28, 2013

Did you ever just have a great day? Man, yesterday was one of those days! I got a check in the mail worth more than I expected, found out I have to fill out less paperwork for my taxes than expected, got some good news via a few emails and plus, it was just gorgeous out! It’s amazing how a 40-degree day in March feels so much warmer than a 40-degree day in October! I felt so dang good, I decided to take a little walk late in the afternoon. I took a pretty hard walk a couple days ago and was floored at the amount of snow that is still out there. Since I’ve been shed hunting, I can’t remember seeing this much snow this late in the year. Today I went to an old standby spot. I know lots of deer were in there this year. I had scoured most of this area pretty good, but the deer had shifted their movements closer to some houses. I don’t know if the people who lived there were feeding them or not, but it seemed like a possibility because these deer were hanging out at the edge of their back yards. Park land borders these yards. I always feel strange and awkward walking around at the edge of someone’s yard. I hate shed hunting, or hunting for that matter, when I feel like I’m always looking over my shoulder. I’m not trying to trespass here, I just want some sheds, and these deer happen to be hanging out very close to some houses. Just awkward. So I’m walking along and I stop, partly to look for antlers and partly to assess how much closer I can go toward this house up ahead before I think I’m trespassing. There’s no defined boundary, but I was pretty sure I was still in the park land. So as I’m standing there looking around, bam! There’s a shed! It’s been so long since I’ve found one I think I forgot what they look like! So now I looked over at the house. The antler wasn’t in their yard (I don’t think) but when I walked over to it I’d be right in the open where I could be seen and I don’t like that! Well, I wasn’t leaving it! I quickly scurried over and scooped it up. This is an antler from a buck I know well. I was pretty stoked to get it! So now I had to keep looking for the match. I was on a southern hillside and a lot of the areas were melted off. Deer trails were packed down to ice, so it was pretty easy to see where they’d been traveling. Plus there was a whole winter’s worth of deer droppings in there! So I walked all the trails and checked the exposed grass patches where deer might have browsed. Why, oh why, can’t deer drop their antlers together? In a short time, I’d covered all the trails in the immediate area. As I walked up one of these trails for the second time, I saw what looked an awful lot like a tine poking out of the grass. Sure enough, it was! And I’d walked within 3 feet of it just minutes earlier! This is an old one! Not the match to the one I was looking for. In fact, my friend Aaron White, who is a deer encyclopedia, upon seeing a pic of it promptly told me he knows who had found the match to it That shed was dropped 6 years ago! This is your typical Joe Shead antler. You see, I never find big antlers. I have pretty much learned that I am not a lucky person. Any shed I find, I earn. Any deer I kill, I work for. I do not just stumble on huge sheds. This buck, judging by the size of his base, I would estimate to be at least 4 years old. But I bet the antler doesn’t even score 50 inches! Great mass and nothing else! Typical Joe Shead antler. For anyone else, that would have been a 70-incher! Oh well. Glad to have it. It laid there for 6 years and there isn’t a scratch on it! After some more digging, I couldn’t find the matches, so I started heading back to the truck. My friend Dan Hess always talks about the bonus shed, and today I got it. I wasn’t expecting to find anything else, but there was yet another shed – my third 4-point shed of the day! I saw the owner of this buck on Saturday, March 23, still carrying a full rack. So I know this shed is only four days old at most, but there is no blood on it. I had always wondered how long antlers stayed bloody. This may be a partial indication, although it could vary from deer to deer. So all in all, a pretty good day! What’s really impressive, for me anyway, is that I got sheds from bucks I’ve seen before. It’s usually the kiss of death when I follow bucks around all winter. I never seem to get their antlers. I know I have video of the first one. I’ll have to check to see if I have video of the other fresh one, but I know I’ve seen that deer before. Hope today is just as good! 

The first shed of the day, as it lay.

The first shed of the day, as it lay.

 

Walked within 3 feet of this one 20 minutes earlier. Can you see how I missed it?

Walked within 3 feet of this one 20 minutes earlier. Can you see how I missed it?

The white base is from the first deer, which is a 2-year-old. The green base is from a buck that had to be at least 4 years old. Huge base!

The white base is from the first deer, which is a 2-year-old. The green base is from a buck that had to be at least 4 years old. Huge base!

Third shed, as it lay.

Third shed, as it lay.

Group shot. All 4-point sides.

Group shot. All 4-point sides.


9 Comments »

  1. Hey Joe,
    Nice Job! Finally a change of luck right?
    We went out yesterday with out shed dog in training and we found a blood trail. We followed it until we saw that it went across the road to land that we can’t go on. Oh well there’s more out there.

    Comment by Autumn in Minnesota — March 28, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Hey Joe,
    Great finds. I know how you feel with the houses. I always think people think I am a peeping Tom as I skirt the backyards. I have started finding some sheds and now as the snow is really starting to melt down here, I’m off to Florida. Took a trip to Buffalo County last weekend, 3 feet of snow. Waste of time for the most part. Never did match up the 78″ side I found or the 65″. Found three more little ones this past week. Good luck with the warm weather coming.

    Comment by Brian Nicholas — March 28, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

  3. Thanks Autumn,
    Blood trail? That’s strange! Wonder what happened?
    Joe

    Comment by joe — March 28, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  4. Hey Brian,
    Florida?! Shed hunting? That would be something! Sorry to hear you didn’t have any luck with those big guys. Maybe they’re still out there.
    Joe

    Comment by joe — March 28, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

  5. That’s great Joe! I’ve been skunked since my Feb. 20th find. Haven’t found the match either. I’ll keep on looking though. Last year people were finding morels already at this time but I think we are many weeks away from that this year.

    Comment by Michael — April 1, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  6. Well the woods I have been looking in were under a “prescribed burn” by the forest service today. I’m hoping that sheds will stand out like a sore thumb against the blackened earth!!! Anyone else have luck looking in recently burned areas?

    Comment by Michael — April 1, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

  7. That one would sure be hard to spot! Glad it didn’t get left there for the rodents.

    Comment by Jane O — April 2, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

  8. Joe, Please check your emails about snow up north and get back to me. There should be three of them.

    Comment by Roger — April 4, 2013 @ 5:52 am

  9. Hi Michael,
    Yeah, burned areas are great places to look. Sheds are usually white or yellowish and really stand out against the black background. Effective way to find them, but it’s kind of a letdown because they’re not in mint condition.
    Joe

    Comment by joe — April 7, 2013 @ 9:47 pm


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