SHED HUNTING


A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS

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2nd Printing of Shed Hunting

March 29, 2011

I know of some people who go into fisheries biology so they can work with fish. Then they work their way up the corporate ladder and sit at a desk and never get to play with fish. That’s how I feel right now! I have been at deer shows 4 of the last 5 weekends. I actually had a person come up to me at my booth this weekend and tell me how great it was that I get to spend all my time outside. He must not have realized that we were standing in the middle of a giant expo center in town with tons of people and no sheds (at least none I hadn’t already found). But that’s life I guess. The shows are behind me, but now I’m catching up on all the things I’ve gotten behind on. That tends to happen when you’re away from home for over 3 weeks straight! Chief among those things is working on a 2nd printing of the book. I am down to two copies of the first edition. I am doing very minor revisions to the second printing. I frankly don’t have the time to give it much of an overhaul at this point, although I’d like to come out with an expanded edition. This printing will largely go to Legendary Whitetails. After a few months of negotiations, LW put in a large purchase order for the books. They have cleaned out pretty much all that I have and will be ordering more this summer. It’s nice to see the books selling well. So the plan is to get this thing to the printer ASAP, get some more available and hopefully find a moment to shed hunt one of these days. When I get a free moment one of these years, look for a revised, expanded edition of the book. But it’s gonna be a while!


Superior, WI this weekend

March 23, 2011

One more deer show for me this weekend! Ugh, I should be out shed hunting, not talking about it! No matter, Wisconsin is getting DUMPED ON with snow even as I type this. Well over a foot has already fallen in a lot of areas just today. I do love March. It can be 60 degrees one day and snowing the next! I’ll be at the Douglas County Fish and Game League show at the Wessman Arena in snowy Superior, WI this weekend. If you can get out of your driveway, stop in!

Joe


Need to Catch a Break

March 21, 2011

I’ve been at shows 3 of the last 4 weekends and I’ve got one more coming up this weekend. At least this weekend I’ll get to sleep in my own bed. I haven’t been home since March 2! I haven’t had much chance to shed hunt in the meantime, other than my weekend in Illinois. What’s worse, Dan Hess, my “co-star” from the Western Shed-Venture DVD, called me this weekend. He’s in Montana in one of the places we searched last year. We checked a small chunk of forest that we pulled 14 sheds out of last year. Dan said he found 14 in that same spot this weekend, and all but one of them were old sheds! How could we have missed that many? Yikes! It gets worse: After a bit of a spring thaw, we’re supposed to get a bunch of snow starting tomorrow. Here we go again. I did have fun in Dubuque this weekend. It was a cool event and I met some nice folks, including Bill, who often posts on the blog. Hopefully I can get my last show behind me, and with a little help from Ma Nature, I can get back after those sheds!


Dubuque, Iowa Antler Auction Tomorrow

March 17, 2011

Hey all,

Things are busy here at “world shedquarters!” Tomorrow and the rest of the weekend I will be at the Circle M Antler Auction in Dubuque, Iowa. The antlers that come through that place are unbelievable! So if you’d rather buy ’em than find ’em, this is the place! There is a sport show on one side of the building and the auction is on the other. I have a booth in the show, so I never get to see much of the auction, but it’s always fun to look at what comes in before the show. I’ll also be giving seminars on shed hunting. Here’s a link to the Circle M site with info on show times, etc. http://www.circlemauctions.com/whitetailtest2011.html

Otherwise, I’ve been pretty busy. We finally have some beautiful spring-like weather here in Wisconsin. Over the weekend I was in Madison after the NASHC show and saw bare ground. I got out shed hunting in central Wisconsin yesterday and was really amazed at how much snow was left. It was a short shed hunt, let’s put it that way! I had to stop for deer 5 times on the way home. That’s refreshing for me because I have not been seeing a lot of deer in Wisconsin the last couple years. Supposedly rain tonight. Hope it takes care of some of this snow. I’m really itching to get out. Good luck!

Joe


WI Big Buck Classic Tomorrow

March 10, 2011

Hey Wisconsinites, you know that sloppy snow we got on Wednesday? Well, if your sheds are buried right now, come to the Wisconsin Big Buck Classic in Wisconsin Dells this weekend, Friday thru Sunday. This show is very shed-oriented and is put on by the North American Shed Hunters’ Club. This year there will be two world-class shed collections on display: Matt Beard and Mike Charowhas. These guys collect only the big ones! Plus a big shed contest and a seminar on shed hunting at noon on Saturday by yours truly! Stop in and say hi!


Illinois Shed Hunt, Part 2

March 9, 2011

What a surprise this morning to wake up to about 4-6 inches of snow in Wisconsin! I guess it’s still March! I wanted to wrap up the rest of the Illinois story. Between the 12 of us, we found 36 sheds on Saturday. We covered the same ground for a few hours on Sunday as well and only came up with 2 more. I had a pretty good day. Of course, the first shed I found was particularly exciting because it was my first shed in Illinois. I have now found sheds in 7 states and one Canadian province. I had some trepidation about shed hunting in central Illinois. Where I live, we really don’t have any gray or fox squirrels. We do have red squirrels, but a lot of times, I find sheds in aspen forests, where there is no food for squirrels, and as a result, there are no squirrels! I’m used to picking up mint condition sheds! I also find a fair amount of old sheds, simply because we don’t have many squirrels, although sometimes older sheds get found and do get partially chewed. I had heard horror stories about how quickly squirrels can devour sheds in the mixed farmlands/forests of Illinois. I think I would prefer not to find a shed at all, rather than find a nice one that has been chewed to nothing. I kind of conducted my search in Illinois in hopes of not finding chewed sheds. I stayed out of the woods and stuck to grassy bedding areas for the most part. I’m sure there were plenty of mint-condition sheds in the big cornfields, but I don’t think I could stand walking them row by row. All told, I ended up with 7 sheds on Saturday, and every single one of them was a 4-point side! What are the odds of that? Between my group of 3 guys, we found 16 total in our area, and not one matched set! Again, what are the odds of that? The first 6 sheds I found were in pristine condition. No squirrels had found them, although two of them did have points damaged when the bucks fought. The very last shed I got was in a tiny, food-plot-sized milo field. This was the first time in my life I found a shed in a crop field. There isn’t a cornfield within miles of where I live. I covered this milo field in four short passes. I had walked right past the shed the first time and spotted it right at the end of my last pass. It was 75 yards from two lone trees, and more than 125 yards from any significant amount of trees, but somehow the squirrels found THAT one! It boggles my mind! All in all, it was a fun shed hunt, and it was nice to get out on some bare ground. Thanks to Cody Walker and the folks at the Grigsby. I had a great time!

My finds.

My finds.

 

My biggest shed of the trip: 63 inches.

My biggest shed of the trip: 63 inches.

 

The group's finds.

The group's finds.


Creepy Shed Hunting Find

March 8, 2011

I hope I never find anything like this:

http://www.mikehanback.com/blog/index.cfm/2011/3/7/Breaking-Maryland-Shed-Hunters-Find-Human-Skull


Illinois Shed Hunt, Part 1

March 7, 2011

I woke up a few days ago at home and it was below zero. A few days later I was in central Illinois, shed hunting on bare ground in 65-degree weather. What a change! I participated in an annual shed hunt at the 13,000-acre Grigsby property in central Illinois. They hold an annual shed hunt there. A dozen folks, many who are members and scorers for the North American Shed Hunters’ Club, were in attendance. Our host, Cody Walker, showed us some southern hospitality with his friendliness and the food he and his family prepared. I sampled frog legs and alligator for the first time! We all split into small groups for Saturday’s shed hunt. Myself and Dan Hess filmed for a future webisode on the Grigsby’s Web site http://www.grigsbyoutdoors.com One of the goals was to find the matching shed to a buck named Dagger. This buck is 7 or 8 years old and has a unique dagger-like flyer coming off the G-2 on one side. Cody had found the flyer side of Dagger and wanted the match.  That was the 7th shed found off that buck. Dan Hess had found 5 of those. Dagger always drops his sheds at the same time, so Dan and Cody were confident the match would be within 100 yards of where the first side was found. I was across the road from where the Dagger shed was found. My group of three shed hunters was having pretty good luck. By lunchtime we’d found 10 sheds and heard that Dan Hess’ group, which was looking for Dagger’s match, hadn’t found a thing. After lunch, I was thinking about calling Dan and razzing him a bit. I was going to ask him how he was going to get any footage if no one found anything! Just then, I heard a war cry from his side of the road, more than a quarter-mile away! John Dittmer found the match to Dagger! And it was indeed less than 100 yards from the first. This shed was officially scored at over 93 inches. The match, with the flyer, was over 77. Dagger had sustained an injury, which apparently limited his growth on the one side.  Here are some pics of Dagger. I’ll talk more about the shed hunt in another post.

Dagger's 77-inch flyer side.

Dagger's 77-inch flyer side.

 

The match: 93-6/8

The match: 93-6/8

 

The set. You'd never guess they were a match.

The set. You'd never guess they were a match.

 

Four sets from Dagger. No one found his sheds last year.

Four sets from Dagger. No one found his sheds last year.


I Wasn’t Even Tryin’

March 1, 2011

This is tough. It’ March 1. March has been my favorite month, long before I’d found my first shed. I do love winter, but I love the spring transition. If I were ever on a calendar, I’d be Mr. March! I’m looking ahead at my schedule, and it’s gonna be a busy month. I’m going to be away from home for most of it, so I’m kind of missing shed hunting before I even leave. But more on that in future posts. Today I did a little shed hunting in a quick spot that has been productive in the past, but I blanked. I went to another area later where I’ve also found sheds. The intent of my trip, however, was not to find sheds. Rather, I needed to take some photos for a story I’m writing on winter deer browsing. I wanted to get some pictures of where deer had been heavily browsing on fallen aspen. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I was walking up this small rise and up ahead I saw what looked like tines sticking up in the air! It couldn’t be! But the more I looked at it, there was nothing else it could be! I really had no intention of finding a shed today, and yet, there it was. That’s the third time this year I’ve found a shed when I wasn’t really expecting it. Hey, I’ll take it!

The view as I spied it.

The view as I spied it.

 

Closeup.

Closeup.

 

What the next person down the trail will find!

What the next person down the trail will find!

 

The photo I came for: deer browsing on fallen aspen.

The photo I came for: deer browsing on fallen aspen.


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