I still remember the first time I heard the word shed used within the realm of hunting. Up until then, the only sheds I knew of were the kind that held lawn mowers, bicycles, gardening tools and other random outdoor necessities. For those of you who are not familiar with hunting, a shed is an antler that a deer has shed in order to grow a new set for the upcoming fall. It was Josh's Fourth of July party, and we had been dating for literally five minutes. He and his friend Tim were standing around talking about sheds when I walked over. Innocently enough, I asked him if he was getting a shed for his backyard. They made fun of me, and I realized I had a lot to learn. That same summer Josh took me for my first hike through the woods. About five minutes into it I found my first shed. It was a little spike and was sitting right in the middle of the trail. Since that day I have gone looking for sheds many times with Josh, and each time it has been an adventure.
This afternoon Josh and I went out to fill the feeders around his dad's house and look for sheds. I am happy to say that I was the only one to find a shed today :o)
It was a three point and was found right in the middle of a deer trail coming past the feeder. I have learned a lot about deer and looking for sheds over the past few years, and this year I was able to put some of my knowledge to use. If you are looking for a great book about shed hunting I recommend Shed Hunting: A Guide To Finding White-Tailed Deer Antlers, by Joe Shead. Yes, his name really is Joe Shead.
*Tips-learned from Joe Shead and my own hunting guide Josh.
1. The first thing that you need to find out is where are the deer. Seems impossible, as they are illusive, but look for signs around you. Heavily worn trails through the woods, rubs on trees, scrapes underneath low-lying branches, and droppings (yes poop) are all signs of deer activity. It has taken me a long time to be able to look around the woods and pick out a trail, rub or scrape. For the longest time everything just looked like trees and dirt (sometimes it still does), but look closely and you can see the signs the deer leave for us.
2. Look for sheds on these worn trails, but don't forget about wood lines beside a food plot, or even right in the field. This gets tricky in corn fields because the fallen corn stalks will look exactly like a shed. I cannot tell you how many times I have run into the middle of a field after mistaking a cornstalk for a shed. Disappointing yes, but part of the fun.
I have started looking at the use of shed dogs for hunting shed antlers, and so far have read that Labradors are the best breed for the job. Personally, I think that I have an orange cat that would do a pretty fantastic job-he is a master hunter of laser beams.