SHED HUNTING


A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS

THE BLOG

Iowa

March 18, 2013

Well, another Dubuque antler auction has come and gone and it was a fun time! First stop was at the book printer to pick up another round of books! Then it was off to Iowa. I dumped off my stuff in my booth, then hustled to get out shed hunting for a couple hours before dark. I was heading for the place I went last year missed my turn and ended up going someplace I hadn’t researched or even heard of! There was patchy snow there and the south slopes were bare! First grass I’ve seen in a long time! Within 5 minutes I found a spike! Textbook location: south slope with cedar trees! Walked a couple hours and didn’t find any more sheds, but I saw 7 deer. The show was a little smaller than in years past because they held an antler auction last October so there wouldn’t be so much stuff. In years past it took so long to auction everything off that there were few people left to bid at the end and antlers were selling cheap! Much better prices this time. I even ended up buying a bunch of antlers. Looking forward to digging through the boxes to see what I’ve got! Went to the folks’ house in southern Wisconsin, hoping to do some shed hunting but they have way more snow than I expected and we got another 4 inches today. This could be the spring that never comes! Good luck out there!

My Iowa spike as it lay. Isn't Iowa supposed to have big bucks?

My Iowa spike as it lay. Isn't Iowa supposed to have big bucks?

 

Where I found the spike:cedars on a south slope. Textbook!

Where I found the spike:cedars on a south slope. Textbook!

 

The kind of sheds you can find at the show. This I'm sure is a game farm antler. The $1,500 price tag is the buy it now price. Doubt it anyone grabbed it for that and I would guess it auctioned for much less!

The kind of sheds you can find at the show. This I'm sure is a game farm antler. The $1,500 price tag is the buy it now price. Doubt it anyone grabbed it for that and I would guess it auctioned for much less!


Iowa Antler Auction March 15-17

March 10, 2013

Hey folks,

I feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record here. Bucks still carrying antlers, more snow, no sheds! I have not found a shed since Jan. 9, and it’s not for lack of trying! I’m watching several bucks and they are not giving them up for anything! I was past my knees in snow a few times last week, and we got 3 more inches last night! It’s been a pretty respectable winter. This has me excited for spring. The deep snow forces deer into their winter patterns. They get more concentrated, and sheds are easier to find. When the snow recedes, it’s gonna be game on! Last year was really mild and the deer were scattered, making it harder to find sheds. Saw a full-racked buck two days ago, and two the day before that. It’s not unusual for deer to carry antlers into March, but I think it’s unusual for so many to have them this long. In other news, I’m excited for the Circle M Antler Auction in Dubuque, Iowa March 15-17. I go to this every year and it’s pretty amazing. Thousands of sheds, racks, taxidermy mounts, sporting goods, you name it come up for auction, but the main focus is deer antlers. If you want to own a 100-inch shed or a 200-inch rack, this is the place to get one! Come on down and check it out. I’ll be there all three days doing shed hunting seminars and selling my books and DVDs. I’ll have some of my sheds on display there too. Last year it was 80 degrees during the show and the year before it snowed, so who knows what kind of weather we’ll have. If time permits, I might sneak down a bit early and try to shed hunt. Good luck to all you shed hunters!


Lots of Stuff Going on, But the Deer Aren’t Cooperating

February 25, 2013

Hi Shedheads,

Well, it’s really about that time. There has been a lot going on lately. Sounds like a lot of people are finding sheds. Congrats to Sean and Michael, who emailed me pics of their antlers in the last few days. I am starting to think the deer around here have forgotten that they’re supposed to let me have their antlers. I have been watching 5 bucks, all of which are holding tight. I’ve gotten some videos of them and am dying to post them, but I want to wait until these bucks drop. There are other people in this area gunning for their sheds too and I don’t want other people to know where I’m looking. Shed hunters can be really cutthroat. I’ve been backstabbed before. Public land sheds are fair game for anyone who finds them, but I suspect there are a few locals who follow my blog just to try to figure out where I’m going. That’s the ugly side of shed hunting. Ok, enough of that rant. Lots going on. Reprinting the Shed Hunting book again. I honestly am not sure how many times it’s been, but that’s exciting. Got some big trips in the works. Possibly some really big things in the works, but I can’t say much until I know more details. Right now we still have a lot of snow. Got about 4 inches again late last week, but this week has been warm and things are getting soft and slushy. Any sheds that aren’t in a bed or in a trail will be invisible for a while. I have actually walked quite a bit lately but have come up empty every time and it’s getting frustrating, especially when other people are finding them. The icing on the cake was an email I got from my friend Dave yesterday. Dave is not a shed hunter at all. But as luck would have it, he was snowmobiling down this logging road to go ice fishing on some secret trout hole and there was a moose antler right in the road! I have decided some people are just lucky, and it’s definitely not me! Good luck to all of you out there. And if you’ve got some luck to spare, send it my way!

Joe

Dave with his logging road moose shed.

Dave with his logging road moose shed.


GIVE THEM UP!!!!!

February 14, 2013

pict0173


Blizzard!

February 10, 2013

We are getting socked with snow, even as I type this! It didn’t start till around noon though, so I went for a pretty hard walk this morning. Right off the bat I saw two bucks with full racks! That makes it tough! Snow was deep already. It was over my boots. That makes looking easy. You walk down trails and check beds. If you kick anything, check it out! Who knows how many you miss though! The nice thing about the pre-snowstorm shed hunt is it covers your tracks. You can get out there, see where deer are, maybe find a shed and your tracks are gone tomorrow. That’s important when there’s competition. I don’t like looking when there’s that much snow on the ground. I don’t want to push deer around and make it hard on them. My walk this morning was in an urban area replete with hiking trails, so the deer see people on a daily basis and don’t totally freak out over a human encounter. I don’t like to bug the rural deer because they are really fighting for their lives. I wouldn’t call it a harsh winter so far, just back to normal after some pretty weak ones. We’re getting about an inch of snow an hour today, (up to about 4 or so at the moment) and the wind is nasty. Earlier I could see about 100 yards but it has cleared up a little bit. No sheds today but I know where four potential sheds should be one of these days now. Can’t wait till April! Good luck!

Joe


Winter Patterns

February 8, 2013

Well, I wish I had some shed pics to share with you, but I don’t. We are now firmly entrenched in winter. It was a little slow in coming this year. We had a pretty mild December with little snow and generally warm temperatures, but January was much colder. Finally, in late January we got some snow and it has kept coming, with about 4 inches yesterday and up to a foot in the next couple days. Earlier in the winter, deer were not in their winter patterns here, which means they could be anywhere, making shed hunting that much harder. The deer have now grouped up, so bucks with remaining antlers should be easier to find, although some shed before entering their wintering areas. With all this snow and the cold (we hit -33 earlier this week!) I haven’t been shed hunting at all, although I’ve been ice fishing like crazy. All I can say is bring on April! Good luck to those of you who are searching! Oh, p.s., check out the tips video I made for Legendary Whitetails at http://community.deergear.com/Tips

Joe


Brain Training

January 31, 2013

Hi folks,

We’ve had a fair amount of snow lately, so I havent been out doing much shed hunting right now. Just thought I’d throw this out here as food for thought and maybe some of you can share your experiences. A big part of shed hunting, once you’re in the right place, is actually recognizing an antler on the ground. They are easy to walk past, and I’m sure I’ve done it countless times. I like to think I’m pretty good at seeing them on the ground, but there’s really no way to know how many you miss! Sometimes when I’m deer hunting I like to watch a leaf fall, memorize how it looks and where it is on the ground, then turn away and see if I can find it again. (I guess sometimes I get bored!) Just signed up on lumosity.com. It’s supposed to be a way to train your brain. The games are fun and I think it could be valuable to shed hunting. Even if it’s not, it’s still fun. (Sorry, didn’t mean to make this into an ad!) Any of you have ways of training yourselves to find antlers?

Joe


Moose and Deer Shedding

January 15, 2013

Got to walk some new ground the last couple days. Didn’t come up with any finds, but it was in a new territory, so that’s always fun. Looks like some good prospects for future trips to the area. Regular followers may know that I look mostly for whitetail sheds but make a few trips for moose every year late in the season. The areas I look are species specific. I don’t find moose sheds where I look for deer sheds and vice versa. This weekend, however, I was in an area that had both species. Yesterday, for example, I was looking in a clearcut for antlers and found about equal numbers of deer and moose tracks. Kind of exciting when you never know what the next antler you find will be! I’ve got some good info to go on now and will definitely be back for another round later this season. Personally, I’d rather find a moose shed, but I’d rather carry a whitetail shed! Good luck out there!

Joe


Shed Dog DVD Now Available

January 11, 2013

dokkenlr

When I started going to outdoor shows a few years ago with my antler display, a lot of people would come up to me and ogle over the sheds. The last couple years, however, they’ll pick up the antlers and ask, “Find these with a dog?” When I tell them no, some of them seem shocked, as if it isn’t possible to find one on your own! The interest in shed dogs the last few years has really skyrocketed, much like the interest in shed hunting a few years before that. I was kicking around the idea of doing a book or DVD on training your dog to find sheds, but I really have no experience in that area. But Tom Dokken does. He is widely regarded as an expert dog trainer. He produced a shed dog DVD, and now through a partnership, I am selling his DVD on my website. The instructional video teaches you everything you need to teach man’s best friend how to find antlers. Check it out by clicking the “Shop” tab at the bottom of my website, goshedhunting.com.


Starting off 2013 in a big way!

January 9, 2013

Hey shedheads,

It’s still plenty early, but every year it amazes me how many people I hear about finding sheds early … especially big sheds. A buddy of mine found a couple this week, which got me itching to get out (which is tough because I’ve been having a lot of fun ice fishing.) Yesterday I took a short impromptu walk but came up empty. Today I decided to hit it a little harder. Well, it didn’t take long! I was about a half hour into the walk. It was a little disconcerting because there were footprints in the area, but we are talking about deer that are in the process of shedding, so I kept going. I was on the phone making fishing plans when, WHAM, there it was! I thought it was a synthetic rattling antler at first. It was just too big! I told Cody I’d call him back. Really nice shed. Not only is this the earliest I’ve ever found one (beating my old record by a day) it’s by far the biggest first shed of the year I’ve ever found. Very stoked! I taped it at 62-6/8 inches. Record book shed! He’s got a cool hole where an insect would have burrowed in while the antler was covered in velvet. I’ve found a few such sheds over the years. Couldn’t come up with the match, but it may be out there. I’m sure there are other nice antlers to be found there. Lots of big rubs! Great way to start it off! Best of luck to my fellow shed hunters! Happy 2013!

Joe

 

A better look in hand.

A better look in hand.

 

Some big rubs in the area.

Some big rubs in the area.

 

Just a little blood on the base.

Just a little blood on the base.

shedfound


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