SHED HUNTING


A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS

THE BLOG

A Couple Shed Hunts

March 31, 2012

Hey, where did everyone go? I’m just getting into the swing of things and it seems like everyone has disappeared from my blog! They’re missing the best part! April is by far my best foot, and we are on the cusp of it! It was a really busy week here, but I think the end is in sight and I’m hoping to get out a lot next week. I was still thrilled to find another shed off Short and Stout 5 days ago. I got out again yesterday after wrapping up all the crap I needed to take care of this week. I was in a spot where I thought I would clean up. Deer don’t winter there much, but I know there are some big bucks there in the fall. Huge rubs on trees! I thought that this year with our mild winter the deer would stay put. I thought for sure I was going to find a few sheds. It looked really good! I only came up with one! It was a year old and its stark whiteness stood out like a beacon on the black dirt surrounding it. Not even I could miss it! I did see one deer yesterday that I’m pretty sure had antlers. I’ve seen a few bucks carrying antlers in April over the years, but not too many. This year, after the mild winter, I fully expect to see a few. Today I was at a small show, but courteously, the show planners only ran the show till 4, which gave me time to slip outside. I managed to find two sheds in a couple hours. These were also old and quite white and stood out great against the background. That helps! Also found a bonus coyote skull, which I thought was cool enough to carry home. That’s at least one shed on four consecutive trips. That’s pretty good for me! Looking forward to some serious walking next week!

Yesterday's lone shed. This is not how I found it. I was so excited to find one after a long walk I snatched it right up!

Yesterday's lone shed. This is not how I found it. I was so excited to find one after a long walk I snatched it right up!

First shed for today. Very old.

First shed for today. Very old.

Today's second shed.

Today's second shed.

Today's group shot, with coyote skull.

Today's group shot, with coyote skull.


Short and Stout!

March 27, 2012

Regular readers may recall some sheds I found last year off a buck I nicknamed Short and Stout. This buck really lives up to his name: his antlers aren’t too big, but they have decent mass. I don’t have the luxury of owning private land to shed hunt, and thus, don’t have any scouting camera photos of the bucks whose sheds I chase. I spend 90 percent of my time shed hunting on public ground. So I had no prior photos or encounters with Short and Stout before last year. We have now gotten to know each other, or at least I know something about him. Just by chance I stumbled on a shed last year. It was a year old and bleached on top, but in perfect condition. I didn’t think much about it at the time, although of course I was glad to find it. Later in the day, however, things got interesting when I found a fresh shed off this buck. It wasn’t until a day later that I realized these two sheds belonged to the same buck. Then the quest for the match began. It took me a couple trips, but I found the match to S&S’s 2011 sheds a few days later, after the snow melted.  So that’s where our story began. It is unusual for me to get multiple sheds off the same buck, but this had me excited. This year I impatiently waited for a chance to look for S&S’s sheds. I finally got my chance. As I approached the area, I found myself stalling. I think I was savoring the moment. I had waited all year to find these sheds and I realized the anticipation may even be more exciting than actually finding the buck’s sheds. I finally got out in the woods and began a slow, thorough search. I was about 45 minutes into the hunt when I spotted the base of a shed sticking in the air, tight to a log. It was a bit of a letdown at first, because I could see it was old and faded. Imagine my shock when I pulled out the antler and immediately recognized it. It was yet another shed off of Short and Stout! It was a left side, and although I couldn’t be certain, I was pretty sure I already had 2 lefts off him. Could it be yet another left??? I pulled out my phone and checked my old pictures. Yup! This was the THIRD left side off the same buck. This antler had to be shed 3 years ago in 2009. The squirrels got some of the underside, but all the tines are intact. That capped my day right there. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any fresh sheds. I ended the day with three antlers, all old. But I put together another piece of the Short and Stout puzzle. Unbelievably, I grid searched that area last year and walked within feet of that antler multiple times, but that log hid it pretty well. With any luck, I’ll get more sheds off Short and Stout. Amazingly, the guy never seems to grow. This 2009 shed is pretty much identical in size to the 2010 shed. He gained just a little in 2011, but still would only score in the low 50s. This buck had to be at least 4.5 years old last year, and if I can find his sheds this year, they would be off a buck that’s 5.5 years old. Just when you think you’ve seen everything! I may just have to invest in a cheap scouting camera and place it on public land next winter. I’m enjoying getting to know this buck. I hope our story isn’t finished.

My latest find off Short and Sweet. The upper shed, dropped in 2009 and found in 2012.

My latest find off Short and Sweet. The upper shed, dropped in 2009 and found in 2012.


Group Shot

March 24, 2012

Hey all,

Just wanted to thank Justin again for the invite to go shed hunting. I had a great time. Below is a picture of our group shot that I didn’t have for the last posting. I’m at a show in Superior, WI this weekend and another the following weekend, and with taxes and stories due in between, shed hunting time is slim for me, as it has been all year. But I am definitely going to sneak out at least one day next week. I can’t wait! Keep after those antlers before the green grass swallows them up!

Justin and I with our finds for the day.

Justin and I with our finds for the day.


Good Wisconsin Shed Hunt

March 22, 2012

A few weeks back I got an invite to shed hunt some ground in Wisconsin with a guy named Justin. Justin was one of the first people to buy my book back when it came out. He just kind of threw the idea out there, but as it turned out, we were able to work it into our schedules yesterday! Justin had already found about a dozen sheds in the area but he knew a lot of bucks had carried their antlers late. Justin got things rolling with a 4-point side. After a short while, I got on the board with a 4-point side of my own. Justin was really excited with this one. It was from a 9-pointer that he’d been seeing a lot and he really wanted this guy’s sheds. We never did match it up, but Justin knew he dropped on different days because he saw the buck with one antler. I got another 4-point side after a while. Then we hit a long drought. Later in the afternoon, we were both pretty hot and thirsty and we were heading back. Unfortunately, Justin walked right past one and I spotted it! We headed back pretty satisfied that we’d found 4 sheds. After a drink, Justin suggested we go walk a field edge quick and call it a day. It turned out to be a great idea. Justin found a small 3-point shed right along the fence almost immediately. Just a few minutes later, I spotted something white out in the greening alfalfa field. I had to see what it was. It was a shed, and what a shed! Justin and I were both pretty stoked to see this 6-point side. It’s from a buck Justin and his hunting partner call Megatron! We looked around in vain for the match, but we were quite thrilled to tally a half-dozen sheds. And I was pretty stoked with that last shed. It’s the biggest I’ve found in a long time! It’s amazing how fast things are greening up with record-high temps. Get out there quick while you can. I really haven’t gotten to shed hunt much this year, but I’m going to turn it on soon. I’ve got some spots I’m dying to try. The pic at the end is me with one side of Megatron. Justin’s got our group shot on his camera, so I will post that when I get the pic from him. It was a great shed hunt with a great guy! Thanks for the invite Justin!

Me with a side off Megatron. My biggest shed in a long time!

Me with a side off Megatron. My biggest shed in a long time!


Iowa

March 19, 2012

Wow, the shed season is really getting away! I spent the weekend in Iowa at the Dubuque antler auction. With temps in the 80s, it wasn’t too surprising that the crowd was small! Saw some amazing antlers and heads auctioned off (and yes, some even came home with me). What really struck me was the number of people who said they were seeing bucks that still had antlers. Pretty much everyone was saying that! With the mild winter we had, it makes sense bucks would be in good health, with minimal stress, so they should be able to retain antlers longer. I was glad to hear that for one simple reason: I went shed hunting in Iowa on Thursday, the day before the show. I have always wanted to do it, but never did. This year I made a point of going down a day early to shed hunt. I’ve heard too many stories of guys pulling 20 antlers in a day not to try it! I took a 6-hour walk and sweated like crazy. Most of the time I had my shirt off. I was on DNR land and I ran across at least 4 deer stands, so there is definitely some hunting pressure. Midway through the walk I spotted a dead fawn. I walked over to take a look at it, and beyond it I saw white tines poking up! My first Iowa shed. Turned out to be the only one. That makes 8 states (plus 1 province) where I’ve found a shed.  It wasn’t a 20-shed day, so I can only surmise that most of the Iowa bucks are still holding antlers! 😉 I’m going to be out a few times this week in some areas with pretty good potential, so check back for more posts this week. Get out there while you can. With these warm temps, green-up is going to come fast this year!

1st Iowa Shed

1st Iowa Shed


Dubuque Antler Auction March 16-18

March 16, 2012

Half of the antlers they will be auctioning today, and it's a 3-day event!

Half of the antlers they will be auctioning today, and it's a 3-day event!

Hey folks,

I’m at the Dubuque antler auction in Dubuque, Iowa this weekend. This is truly an amazing eveng if you like antlers, and I know you do! It’s amazing to see all the sheds, racks, mounts and other sporting goods that come through the door, but the main focus is antlers. Ever want to see a 200-inch set or see some incredible nontypicals? They’re here! I’ve got a booth here with my book and DVDs and I’ll be doing seminars on shed hunting each day. If you can get here, do it! I know it’s nice out, but you don’t wanna miss this!


The Latest

March 9, 2012

Hi folks,

I apologize for not getting some more posts up here during the heart of shed hunting season. It’s been busy and it will be a busy couple weeks ahead. I took a short 2-hour hike today and there was even more snow than I expected. We had essentially bare ground all winter until Feb. 29 when we got buried. That has really thrown a wrench into shed hunting around here! The snow today was pretty deep still, although it’s supposed to warm up greatly in the next couple days. Won’t do me any good though! I will be on the road a lot for the next two and a half weeks. Earlier this week I had the privilege to ice fish with some of the top names in ice fishing. I fished with Dave Genz, Jason Mitchell, Jim Hudson and some pros with Vexilar and Clam. Jason Mitchell has a TV show that includes both hunting and fishing. I tossed out the idea of a shed show and he said he would be interested. We’ll see. Tomorrow I will be filming some video spots for Legendary Whitetails. This is a catalog company that sells deer hunting merchandise. They picked up my book about a year ago and it has been a good partnership for me. Then it’s on the road heading to Iowa for the Dubuque Antler Auction March 16-18. If you’ve never been there, it would blow your mind. Literally thousands of antlers, racks, taxidermy mounts and sporting goods come up for auction, but the vast majority of items are sheds and racks. It’s absolutley unbelievable! Throw in some shed hunting in southern Wisconsin, as well as some fishing and it’s going to be a blast, but it’s going to keep me busy! I will keep the posts coming. I have a couple followers who have sent in pics to post and I just haven’t had time to do that yet. I’ll get those up when I can. Good luck to all of you out there. This should be prime time!


The Blettner Boys!

March 1, 2012

Hey Shed Seekers,

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. That’s how I’m viewing our blizzard yesterday. We had steady winds of 25 mph, with a recorded gust of 65 mph! Plus an undetermined amount of snow. Hard to tell because it drifted a lot with that wind, but the sheds are buried, which is good for me because I don’t have time to shed hunt. Thus, the defense. The snow is keeping the sheds away from the other guys, hopefully. Ideally the snow will recede right when I get done with everything! In the meantime, I wanted to keep the posts coming, even when I can’t be out there. Todd Blettner has sent me a few pics recently. He tracked down some awesome sheds off the 12-pointer he hunted last fall. Truly some impressive antlers. But he also sent me a pic that I really got a kick out of – his boys, Nate and Trent, out on a shed hunt. I first dreamed up the idea of writing my shed book back in 2003. I struggled for a long time, trying to decide if I should write it or not. Promoting shed hunting is cutting your own throat. You tell other people about it, get them hooked, and the next thing you know, there are footprints everywhere you want to shed hunt. I was well aware of that and I considered that for a long time before I finally went ahead and wrote the book. There were a couple reasons why I went forward with it. For one thing, I figured if I didn’t, somebody else would anyway. But there’s another reason. One which Todd Blettner has clearly realized, and that’s the fun of introducing new people to shed hunting. I think the look on Nate and Trent’s faces will say it all. Here’s a brief message from Todd:

Took my boys out for a day of shed hunting. They might not be old enough to deer hunt yet, but they sure were excited when they each found their own trophy, shed hunting. I would encourage any parent that wants to get the kids interested in hunting or the outdoors that shed hunting is a great start.  Todd

Nate and Trent Blettner with their trophies!

Nate and Trent Blettner with their trophies!


HOME      DVD      BOOK      THE AUTHOR      SHOP      WHAT IS SHED HUNTING?      COOL STUFF      BLOG