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One More Piece to the Puzzle

Posted by: Josh Martin | Ohio | NAP Field Staff
| May, 18 2011

Josh, Logan & Hunter with shed antlers

Josh, with sons Hunter & Logan hit the field in search of shed antlers each Spring.

One of my favorite activities of the year actually comes in the "winter blues" months of February and March. My twin boys and I venture out into the woods and fields in search of shed antlers from the deer that made it through the hunting season. Whitetail bucks shed their antlers on an annual basis and this makes for a great way to see which bucks will be back again for next Fall. This would defiantly qualify as searching for a needle in a hay stack. It never ceases to amaze me when we do find a shed antler but it sure does make it exciting when you have walked for miles and finally find one.

My boys hunter and Logan sure do get excited about being in the outdoors and this is just one more way for them to be outside learning more about hunting and nature in general. They are already very accomplished hunters in their own right, even at 11 years old. They have taken 8 deer between the two of them in the last few years. I believe shed hunting has played a major role in this. It has told us where to spend most of our time in the stand, and this has really paid off. To say they are excited about hunting and the outdoors would be a major understatement. I think they talk about hunting more than I do, and this is really saying something! They sure do their fair share of the work that needs to be done to consistently take big bucks year after year, including putting in mile after mile looking for sheds.

Now for myself, being a whitetail fanatic, I not only shed hunt for fun with my kids but also to feed my addiction of chasing big mature whitetails. This is a great way to keep an inventory of which bucks will be back in your area next season. You can actually keep track of how much the bucks in your area are growing from year to year if you get out there and put in the miles to find his sheds. Finding sheds will not only tell you which bucks survived the hunting season but it will also give you small clues to the bucks core area. More than likely where you find a bucks sheds is where he spends most of his time. Whether you find it in his bedding area or his feeding area, either place would be a great place to hang a stand for next Fall. There is no better feeling than harvesting a buck that you have history with. And if you have his sheds it sure makes for a good story with family and friends.

Josh with his 2009 droptine buck

Josh, seen with an excellent buck he took in 2009 had located the bucks sheds from previous years.

I have harvested several bucks from which I have located their sheds, and two bucks which I have a matching set of antlers from that particular buck. Now I'm assuming most of you are like me and are looking for every advantage you can get on that big buck you are chasing. I'm sure you all practice shooting your bow or gun, do some scouting, hang your stands in the right spot, and be as scent free as possible when chasing that buck. Shed hunting can be that last piece of the puzzle that gives you the advantage you need to finally close the deal on the buck of a lifetime.

If you're looking for a challenge in the whitetail woods get out and cover some ground looking for those shed antlers. It can be very beneficial to you come next season.

Good luck to all my fellow hunters out their next season, I hope you get that big one you're after!