Check Out This Shed Hunting Story!

January 26, 2010

Bethe Gettle of Pennsylvania is one of the most diehard outdoors-persons I have ever met. She has got the shed addiction BAD! I got a chance to shed hunt with her for a few days last spring and she is a shed machine. It was tough to convince her that we should take a lunch break or quit for the day! She’s a great person and a true outdoorswoman. Last week she spent a day with a local reporter for a story on shed hunting. She was very nervous, but I think she did an excellent job. She is a true ambassador for the outdoors and has taught classes to women to help them enjoy the outdoors. You can check out her story and a video of her at the link below. I think SHE needs to produce a shed DVD!

Adapting and Learning on the Fly

January 20, 2010

There are many things about shed hunting that seem to be universally true, such as looking on a south-facing hillside or next to a lone evergreen. But I’m amazed at how some things can change. That’s been the case for me this season. I’ve only been out a handful of times, but already I’ve seen some things that surprised me. For example, in one of my favorite areas, the deer have shifted their movements slightly. They are still frequenting the same old haunts, but this winter, for reasons I haven’t yet determined, they have expanded into a different area. I’m not sure 1. why they didn’t use that area in the past as much and 2. why they’re using it now. I am a little bit excited by this. For one thing, the competition hasn’t seemed to have figured this out yet, even though the deer tracks are plain as day on the snow. (And that’s one advantage us northerners have over the southern folks. Snow not only tells you where the deer are, but also where they’re not.) The little set I picked up last weekend came from an area I hardly ever spend any time in. I’m excited for the snow to melt, because if I haven’t searched this area before, maybe others haven’t either and I’m excited to see what treasures are left from last season as well as this season. I took a brief hike today that lasted less than a half hour. Once again I went to a spot that is usually littered with deer tracks and droppings, but today it was nearly trackless. I can’t figure this one out either. The key is to pay attention to your surroundings and learn what deer are doing. In years past I’ve had a good season of shed hunting in one area, only to have a logging operation on an adjacent property draw the deer the following year, and I didn’t find as many sheds. That’s a problem with a readily identifyable source. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Most of all, get out there if you can!

Quite a Day!

January 16, 2010

Temperatures lately have been dipping down to 15 degrees below zero at night. Right now we’re in the middle of a heat wave. It was about 40 degrees today! I almost don’t even know what to do when it’s that warm in January, but I was way overdressed for the occasion. Today I was at home (admittedly still in bed) when the phone rang. A fellow shed hunter from Ohio, John, called me up and said he was in town. John has worked on Great Lakes ships for more than 30 years. This year he was working aboard the Indiana Harbor, a 1,000-foot ship that hauls iron ore and coal. Today was the last day of the Great Lakes shipping season. Unbelievably, after today they will let the ships freeze in right at the dock! I was still groggy when John called, but I was kicking myself for not inviting him shed hunting. 15 minutes later I called him back and asked if he wanted to go for a walk. He couldn’t until almost dark because he had to be aboard the ship, but would I like to tour it? Would I! It was an amazing experience. John says the ship, running full speed ahead, burns 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel a day. It was very cool and fun to meet John face to face. He had a small photo album and showed me some of the sheds he’s picked up in near his home, including three years’ worth off two different monsters. I didn’t think my day could get any better, but I went for a walk this afternoon. I was sort of going through the motions, just enjoying the weather and was lucky enough to pick up a matched set from a yearling 5-pointer. The sheds were about 60 yards apart. I never have much luck matching up my sheds and as of today have made it a goal to find more matches this year. Maybe John sent me some good luck. Either way, it was quite a day. Thanks John!


Too Early?

January 12, 2010

This has been a really interesting shed season so far, and it’s just barely underway. Personally, I don’t really hit it too hard until March. I like to wait until most of the bucks have shed before I spend too much time afield. The problem is, when there’s a lot of competition, you have to get out early and often. This year there have been a lot of sheds picked up already in my area. At the same time, we’re all still seeing a lot of bucks carrying antlers. Have you noticed early shedding in your area? Aaron White made a good point when I talked with him the other day. In our area we had some freezing rain after the snow, which made the snow very crusty and difficult to walk through. This has restricted deer movements to well-worn trails. Aaron suggested maybe there are no more antlers on the ground than usual at this point, it’s just that the antlers are simply lying in trails and beds and not scattered throughout the woods, making them easier to find. Mike Neri commented in a post that rut-worn 2- and 3-year-olds have been shedding, but not many big bucks. That seems to be the case in my area too. I feel for the southern guys! In the north, bucks rut earlier, so likewise they shed earlier. In the south, the rut is pushed back, as is shedding. It won’t be long though. I’m sure the southern folks won’t have crusty snow to contend with either. What are the conditions in everyone’s area?


On the Board in 2010!

January 10, 2010

I have this weird thing where every year, I wonder if this will be the year I don’t find any sheds. It used to be a legitimate concern. Nowadays I’m pretty confident I won’t get skunked for the year, but you never know! People are absolutely piling up the sheds already around home this year! Yesterday I heard of more than 20 being found just a few miles from where I live, and I didn’t even go out! Another friend, who also didn’t go out, finally shut his phone off because the text messages and phone calls about found sheds just kept coming! After all that, it seemed like maybe there wouldn’t be any sheds left, but there was no way I could sit home today. I spotted a shed-out buck in one area, but struck out. I moved to a different spot, which has been getting pounded by other shed hunters. But this crafty old shed man had the eye today! And you’d have to be on your A-game to spot this one! I found shed No. 1 of the year in a deer bed. The snow is super crusty and the deer are actually re-using their old beds. This bed, as you can see in the pic, was down to bare ground from re-bedding. This isn’t the coveted button from a buck fawn. Rather, it’s an antler from a young buck that broke just above the base. But it’s got a pedicle and some blood on the base, so it’s a legitimate shed, and exactly what I needed to start playing catch-up with all the other shed hunters in the area. Shortly after I found this guy, I received a call from another shed hunter, saying he saw my truck. He told me he’d been in that spot an hour earlier. I told him I found one (I didn’t tell him he shouldn’t feel bad for not seeing this tiny thing.) I spotted 3 bucks in this spot with full racks and another one with a halfrack. On the way back to the truck, I was 20 feet from the road when I saw tines poking up. Although I’d already found a shed, this was the first time I got to see those magic antler tines poking up. This guy busted off the end of his main beam. So two broken antlers, but it feels good to be on the board. These are my earliest sheds ever by a full two weeks.


First Official Shed Hunt of 2010

January 5, 2010

I have yet to find a shed this decade. I hope I can’t say that for much longer! Got out for my first walk today. I felt like I had to keep up with the Joneses. I know of a few folks who have picked up quite a few already and I’ve seen trail cam photos of a lot of bucks with one side. Seems early to me. People say it every year: “It’s been so cold, I think the bucks are dropping early.” I don’t buy it for a second. It has been bitterly cold here, but these deer are accustomed to it. I spent about 4 or 5 hours outside today. I saw a red fox, a grouse and more deer than I could count. I saw at least 2 bucks, and possibly 4. Couldn’t tell if they were the same ones or not. They all kept running back and forth. Didn’t find any sheds. The snow was crusty and nice to walk on when you stayed on top, but brutal if you broke through. I don’t really like to bug deer when it’s like this. I’ll probably get out a little here and there, but I’d rather wait till more sheds drop. So it goes. Nice to see some bucks anyway.


What is a Shed Worth?

January 3, 2010

A very good friend of mine shot a beautiful buck this archery season. The 12-pointer was 4.5 years old and had terrific mass. It scored 169 inches. He is the property manager of a large chunk of ground in Wisconsin. Not only does he have scouting camera photos of this buck each year, he has both sheds from when it was 1.5 years old, one from when it was 2.5 years old and one from when it was 3.5 years old. All are in great shape with no chews. Word goes around, and he learned that someone had the match to the buck’s shed from age 3.5. That side is a 6-point side, no chews, and scores about 70 inches. A real nice shed. Right after he shot the buck, my friend offered the guy $100 for the shed. He wouldn’t sell. I can understand that. I don’t like to part with my own sheds. Yesterday we went to the man’s place. The man said he’d reconsidered, but he wouldn’t sell for less than $140. It’s a great shed, but on the shed antler market, that’s grossly overpriced. My friend paid it and he’s going to have a nice display with the mounted buck and 5 of the buck’s 6 sheds. Would you have paid it??? Do you think the guy ripped him off???