Duluth Boat Show

February 17, 2010

I know that there has been a lot of snow lately around he country, but I am predicting beautiful weather ahead. That’s because I’ll be at the Duluth Boat Show today through Sunday. I can virtually guarantee there will be nice weather since I’m cooped up inside! Stop by and say hi if you’re in the area. Haven’t been out shed hunting too much because of the snow. I did see a halfrack and a full-rack late last week. Just waiting for some spring-like weather! Good luck out there!

Snow Wonder There Are No Sheds!

February 9, 2010

Well, all I can say is sorry Roger and those of you on the East Coast who are up to your eyeballs in snow right now! At least the squirrels can’t get at the sheds either. We got a pretty good snowfall here the last couple days, though nothing like out east. Right before the snow came, I got out for a little shed hunting but came home empty. I did learn a few things though, so I guess that’s coming home with some knowledge, just not any sheds. Let me start by saying this: Until this year, I have always preferred to wait until March when most of the bucks have dropped and when the snow is receding before I shed hunt in earnest. This year has been different though. A lot of people were finding them early, so I got out looking earlier too and I have been pleasantly surprised. At this point last year I had found one shed. Right now I’m sitting at 8 this year. And for the first time ever, I actually FEEL like I have a good chance of finding sheds in early February and that’s significant too. I truly believe if you don’t feel like you’ll find anything, you probably won’t. You won’t try as hard, you won’t be as observant. The mind is a powerful thing. So anyway, I got into a spot last year that looked really good. I ended up finding one nice shed back in there. I went there the other day and learned two things. 1. the snow is really deep there and 2. the deer aren’t there this year, most likely because the snow is simply too deep. Had I waited until March before shed hunting, I might have put in a full effort, not realizing the deer hadn’t wintered there. The flip side of the coin is this, I went back yesterday to an adjacent area on a hunch that that’s where the deer had moved. I did find tracks there and saw a couple deer, so I can confirm there are deer there. Just didn’t see as much sign as I expected to see. Good rubs though. I think this area will be worth checking in the spring. Yesterday I didn’t wear snowshoes and I was up to my butt in snow several times when I broke through the crust. It was very tough walking. With snowshoes it would have been a breeze, but there they sat in the truck. I will take my knowledge and avoid the spots devoid of tracks right now and hit the more concentrated sign this spring.

I Need an Eye Exam!

February 4, 2010

As obvious as this sounds, you need to see a shed to find it. When you’re deer hunting sometimes you can at least hear one snort as it spooks and runs away. Sheesh. On Tuesday my friend Sam picked up a shed that I missed by 10 feet. Yesterday I went for a little walk. Here’s the thing. I had just spooked a couple deer and was watching them. I should have been looking down, not at the deer. As I was getting ready to leave, I spotted a decent 4-point shed lying just at the edge of the trail I’d walked in on, right where I was when those deer jumped up. The snow revealed I’d missed it by 3 feet! I poked around a bit in the twilight, hoping to find the match, but didn’t find it. Today I went back for the match in the daylight. I was coming along this hill on kind of a narrow path and up ahead and spotted an antler just below me. Right away I could see it was a 4-point side. I could also see it was a right side, just like the shed from yesterday. Not a match! I scoured the area hard. I pretty much covered everything. As I was leaving, I walked through an area of heavy deer sign. This is the first place I tried earlier today because I knew it was getting dark when I went through there last night. Lying just on the other side of a fallen tree was a shed, partially buried in snow. And a foot away from the shed was my track from last night! I had literally stepped over it in the dark! It was a match to the shed I found earlier in the day. So my mission to find a match to yesterday’s shed failed, but I got a match today. And I saw two bucks carrying full headgear. Can’t wait to get a crack at ’em! I’m going to try to post three pics here. In the third pic you can see my footprint from last night at the top of the photo!


Shed Hunt With Friends

February 2, 2010

On Friday while driving around I saw an area that looked promising that I had never been in. Today I ventured back to that place with Aaron White and Sam Bartz. I’d never set foot in there, so I didn’t know what to expect. We split up and started covering ground. There was definitely good deer sign, but after about an hour, I hadn’t gotten any calls or text messages, so I assumed no one had found anything. I met up with Sam and we were discussing whether to keep at it or leave. While we were discussing this, we bumped into Aaron. Those of you who have met Aaron will not be surprised that he’d found three sheds! Personally, I expected him to have more! After all, he’d been walking for a whole hour! Ha, just kidding, Aaron! He had a matched set from an 8-pointer and a single shed, probably off just a 2-year-old buck, with 6 legitimate points! Sam and I were in shock. We continued searching. Sam came up with a 4-point side. He said he was walking down a deer trail when he came across my boot tracks. At a fork in the trail, I had gone one way, so he chose the trail that was only trodden by deer. Mere feet down the trail, he saw a tine sticking out of the snow and unearthed a shed! Aaron found yet another shed. This one must have dropped early. It was tines down and frozen to the ground. He was walking down a trail, came to a trail intersection, and spotted about a 2-inch piece of antler! We had to go to the truck for a hammer and pry bar to chip the shed out of the ice! Alas, I didn’t find any sheds. I did have an exciting moment though. I was walking a deer trail up a steep hill. I was about 10 yards from the crest when three deer, which had been spooked by Aaron, came barreling over the top of the hill and were quite surprised to see a shed hunter in their path! They split off in different directions at full tilt! So 5 sheds total for the bunch. Not a bad day! I didn’t get any pics, but I know Aaron and Sam did. Guys? I will post a pic from the other day. I went cross-country skiing on Friday, and after our ski, my friend Deb and I took a quick hike in a likely looking area. I found this little 4-point side mostly buried under the snow. It had been there for at least a year. Good time to be out in the woods!


Shed Hunting Tour

February 1, 2010

In order to appease those of you who have been clamoring for new posts on this blog, mainly those of you who answer to the name “Bert,” I am making a post. Although shed hunting is all fun and games, once in a while, a guy’s gotta try to make a living too, although I hate to admit it. I have to say, I’ve really been blessed with a lot of cool experiences with this whole shed hunting bit. This weekend I got to tour a family’s shed hunting shrine in their basement. They have been shed hunting for over 20 years and have amassed hundreds of sheds. They have a great collection of antlers. Joe’s first buck, killed in 1960, had a small rack that went forward over the eyes. His wife, Janet, has killed several bucks. Together, with their son Mike, they have found dozens of sheds. Most notable are the sheds off a buck they call The Old Monarch. They have 14 sheds of this deer, and yes, it is a wild buck that lives in an area of heavy hunting pressure. They have 5 matched sets and 4 singles. Joe, Janet and Mike have all found sheds off this deer. The kicker is, the first shed they have off this buck was probably from when the buck was 3.5 years old. So it was 11.5 when it died! They also have the skull. Interestingly, they found the buck’s right antler 9 years in a row. They only found 5 of the buck’s left antlers. Must have been harder to find. The buck was a mainframe 10-pointer. He had weak brows and his tines were just average. He grew a droptine 5 years, but broke it off 4 of those years. The buck was nice from age 3.5 to 8.5, then started to decline at 9.5 and eventually was just a big fork. What a cool experience and some great people. They also have 6 matched sets off another buck. I just finished writing a story about them for the Minnesota Deer Hunters’ Association magazine. I spent 5 hours just talking deer with them. What a treat. Here’s a picture of their sheds off this buck. The sets are mounted on artificial skull plates.