Ticks and Snakes: When to Stop Shed Hunting

SD kelly final 2017Shed-Hunting fanatic Kelly from South Dakota filed his last field report of the spring:

Mike: Time to stop shed hunting, ticks are terrible and I saw a “rattler” last weekend. That is all it takes for me to quit the shed hunting and go Walleye wader fishing.

Ended the season with 102 antlers, and I know I will find a few more as I wader fish. I fish some areas where I hunt, so I know the land area very well.

Pictured is #101 in count and the biggest of the year, 82”. I searched 4 hours for other half with no luck.—Kelly

Enjoyed your reports, Kelly, 100 for the year is awesome man. I’m with ya on the ticks and especially the snakes.

South Dakota Shed Hunt

Sd shed set kelly comp

BIG DEER’s shed-hunting expert Kelly Kirsch filed this field report:

Mike: Walked another 16.8 miles last Saturday and found 6. I found one that I call the “kick stand,” it stands on its own. Kind of a cool antler, my wife already claimed it!

Sunday I hurt so I just hit one place, a small dam with grasses in the middle of an unpicked corn field. It just felt right! Well, we picked 8, with three sets and this one good set.—Kelly

Shed thick

By my count Kelly is pushing 100 antlers for the year so far, with some great sets like in the picture above. Gonna be a slammer buck this fall..

For BIG DEER’s best shed-hunting tips click here.

 

Need A Salvage Permit For Deer Skull/Antlers?

IL deadhead - CopyDuring the winter and spring shed hunt of 2017, hunters across the country have been finding, picking up and posting on social media some giant “deadheads,” like this 200-class skull making the rounds on Facebook.

Let me remind you that if you find any-size skull w/antlers in the woods you might—actually you probably– need to obtain a salvage permit (or at least permission) from the state to possess and transport that skull.

In most states a deadhead—the skull and rack from a buck that died of disease, was hit by a car or was lost by a hunter last season—is treated like a roadkill buck, and subject to the same state roadkill laws, which in most cases means you need to call a conservation officer or sheriff and get a permit (or at the very least official permission) before you move and take possession of the antlers.

States where I can confirm you need a salvage permit include: Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Indiana, and there are many more. Every shed hunter should check the state laws and know for certain sure. The last thing you need is to come home with a skull with big antlers, post a picture of it on Facebook or Instagram and promptly get a call or visit from a game warden asking if you have the proper salvage permit.

I’d like to greatly expand the list of state salvage laws for deer, so please let me know your state’s regulation, if any, by commenting below.

Shed-Hunting: Antler Trivia

Big Buck Nation Milk River 2008 003Did you know…some fun facts about antlers and shed-hunting:

The #1 Typical Whitetail Antler in the Shed Record Book is a 6-point 104 6/8” left side picked up in Illinois 1992.

The #1 Non-Typical Whitetail Antler in the Shed Record Book is a 24-point 156 5/8” right side found in Saskatchewan 2007.

Individual bucks often shed their antlers the same week every year.

Antlers are the fastest-growing tissue in the animal kingdom.

Increasing daylight and a buck’s falling testosterone cause antlers to shed.

Once a buck drops one antler, the other one usually falls off within hours.

Huge whitetail antlers can be found in many city parks and suburbs. Get permission to shed hunt these type areas if you can.

When you’re out looking for antlers, mark off small grids, walk slowly and look straight down for a brown or white piece of bone.

Look for pieces of antler as you hunt: a tine or the white gleam of a beam.

Rainy days are good for shed searching—wet antlers shine and stand out.

Squirrels and porcupines chew on antlers for the calcium they provide.

Sheds are valued by size and grade, from Grade A Brown (best) to old, white chalk.

Deer antlers can fetch $5 to $18 a pound, depending on grade and size.

A matched set of grade A fresh sheds from a trophy 6-point elk can be worth $500 to $1,000.

South Dakota Shed Hunter Up to 70 Antlers and Counting

sd kelly shed 1

Update from our expert, Kelly “Shedhunter” Kirsch:

Mike: Walked 17.8 miles on Saturday, it was very warm, and picked up 15. One real nice set, maybe in the 160s. I found the antlers about ¾-mile apart.

Sunday I hurt, so I used the Quad to cover a sunflower field and picked 12 more. Total for the year is right on 70 sheds, not a bad start.

SD kelly 3

Take a look at that sunflower field. A lot of people I run into that think that antlers have to be knocked off by tree, fence post, or something. But there’s really nothing like that out here in places. Sometimes the antlers just fall off, and I have watched bucks hit the ground with their antlers to remove them.—Kelly