Even after the last package of venison is eaten, the story of the hunt lives on. Whether we hunt primarily for meat or big antlers, storytelling is a common thread among deer hunters.
Buck Tales: Stories From the Deer Stand is a compilation of more than three dozen short stories written by Joe Shead, former managing editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine. Joe’s storytelling captures all the emotions of deer hunting. You’ll root for triumphant hunters shooting their first or biggest bucks and feel the heartbreak when the big buck gets away. Have a laugh at the antics of accident-prone hunting partners, and smile at the kinship of good hunting companions who would do anything for each other to help make the hunt successful. Sneak along as Joe unravels a buck track with fresh snow blanketing the evergreen forest and feel the sweat bead up on your forehead on a long deer drag in the big woods. Some of these yarns are straight up how it happened while others take a thoughtful, introspective look at the sport we love so much. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, you’ll appreciate Joe’s storytelling ability and feel like you’re part of his hunting camp.
Some of these stories have previously appeared in Deer & Deer Hunting, Outdoor News and Northern Wilds,while several others have never before been published. In addition to these hunts for white-tailed deer, the final chapter, Bull Tales, takes you to the Alaskan wilderness where Joe’s week-long solo moose hunt turned into a 10-day struggle for survival. You’ll feel like you’re right there as Joe strains to drag a fully loaded canoe down a shallow creek, shoots a rapids with an entire moose aboard – in the dark, and makes a last-ditch effort to hitchhike to his truck as he tries to pack out the bull moose he shot 20 miles from the nearest road!
These timeless tales can be read over and over again. Whether you’re reading curled up in front of a crackling fireplace at home or from the deer camp outhouse, Buck Tales will have you longing to go deer hunting!
Members of the deer family are the only animals that grow and discard body parts on an annual basis. Male deer, elk and moose (and both male and female caribou) grow antlers on their heads beginning in the spring. By summer the antlers are fully grown. In fall, bucks and bulls use their antlers to fight rival males and attract mates. In winter or early spring, the antlers are shed and new antlers begin to grow. These bony treasures are beautiful and highly coveted by some folks. Best of all, they are free for the taking … if you can find them. Each winter and spring, thousands of people take to the fields and forests to look for these naturally shed antlers. For many, looking for sheds is like a treasure hunt. Although walking through the woods and staring at the ground may seem like a silly way to spend your time, the thrill of finding one of these bony appendages keeps people coming back for more.
Finding a fresh antler while shed hunting is exciting!
How in the world do you find an antler? To a beginning shed hunter, the idea of walking through the woods and finding an antler no doubt seems daunting. But shed hunting is like fishing: you don’t show up at a lake and just start casting blindly if you want to catch a fish. Instead, you look for rocks, weeds, logs or other structure that provide cover for fish. In effect, you’re looking for areas that concentrate fish to up your odds. It’s the same with shed hunting. During the winter and early spring shedding period, bucks and bulls do two basic things: they eat and rest. So naturally, food sources and bedding areas are where you’ll find most sheds. Food sources vary depending on the species and the area. They could be agricultural crops, natural forest browse or even a crab apple tree in an urban setting. This is where scouting and legwork come in. To be successful, you’ll have to spend some time observing animals and following their tracks to see where they spend their time and what they eat. It’s the same with finding bedding areas. Sometimes deer bed in thick brush. Other times they rest in coniferous forests. You might even find them bedding on top of a hill. It all depends on what type of cover is available to them and how harsh the winter weather is. Finding sheds, at the most basic level, boils down to finding a buck’s feeding and bedding areas. Once you’ve located these general areas, you can fine-tune your approach to find the X, so to speak. The biggest thing is to pay attention to the sign around you. It will tell you a lot about how the animals move around. If you’re a careful observer, in time, you’ll get a feel for how deer move across their habitat, which will help you find more sheds. With experience, you’ll learn which trees deer prefer to bed under and even which side they bed under (it’s almost always the south side). It’s this attention to detail that will really help you in your hunt for sheds. There are so many little nuances and intricacies about deer movements and shed location that you could literally fill a book with them. Shed hunting is much more than a blind walk through the woods. Pay attention to details and the sheds will come.
Shed Hunting: A Guide to Finding White-Tailed Deer Antlers is the first and only book fully devoted to the increasingly popular hobby of looking for naturally shed antlers from deer and other antlered game.
This how-to book covers the biology of how antlers grow and ultimately shed. More importantly, it teaches the reader where to look for shed whitetail antlers and how to find them. The book even touches on how to train your dog to find deer antlers!
The 160-page, fully illustrated book features more than 75 black-and-white photos. The book discusses the fascinating processes of antler growth and shedding. You'll also learn where to look for antlers, which areas contain bucks during late winter and early spring and how to find places with high deer populations that are off-limits to deer hunting. The book also includes information on necessary equipment, how to deal with competition from other shed hunters and what to do with your sheds, once you've found them. After reviewing the easy-to-read chapters, readers will have a basic idea of how to find antlers on their own.
The book is written by Joe Shead, a freelance outdoor writer, former managing editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and a passionate shed hunter. Joe has found whitetail sheds from Alabama to Saskatchewan. His pursuits of antlers from mule deer, elk, moose and caribou have taken him across the Rockies and from northern Minnesota to Alaska's North Slope.
Shed Hunting: A Guide to Finding White-tailed Deer Antlers by Joe Shead
"Useful, fast read. Many tips you won’t see in most of the shed hunting articles online or in magazines. Read with a highlighter."
"A quick read with practical tips relevant to white tails. Explains a lot of regional nuances to shed hunting - highly recommend."
"I’ve had both the book and DVD now for several years. Would highly recommend them for shed hunters of all levels of experience!"
Subscribe to my YouTube channel, Joe Shead Outdoors, and join me on my outdoor adventures as I look for shed antlers, reel in fish or pursue ducks, deer and other game. I focus heavily on shed hunting, traveling in search of antlers from North American big game, and you're invited to ride along as I chase fish and hunt for a variety of game, too. Learn valuable tips (along with some terrible jokes) and enjoy the outdoor life!