Kansas Sheds: The Electric-Fence Buck

ks shed 2018 1

From our friend Mike Charowhas, The Antler Collector:

Around noon the other day I was driving in central Kansas and passed a truck on a 2-lane with an older couple in it. About 5 min later, I looked in my rear view and saw that same truck getting closer and fast. Hmm. Their headlights start flickering so I pulled over.

The truck pulled up alongside me and the Missus says, “Hey, we saw you go by. We have antlers. Do you live around here?”

They couldn’t miss The Antler Collector logo on my truck. I said, “Yes I live not too far away.”

She gave me their number said, “Please call us if you’re passing by.”

I said, “Okay great.” I proceeded on my way and got to thinking about it. I called them and left a message.

About 20 minutes later the husband called me back and said sorry we missed you, but we are home now. I asked where and by luck I was only 15 minutes away.

I headed over and they invited me in. We talked for 15 minutes and the man said, “I have something I don’t think you’ve ever seen.”

I said, “Well let’s take a look,” and we proceeded out to his workshop.

What I saw did amaze me. I never had seen anything like it, and I have seen a lot of antlers!

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The gentleman had found the sheds—heavy, tall-tined upper 150s/160 class–10 years ago beside a pond on his property while out bird hunting. From my understanding, one of his neighbors that year had lost 1/4 mile of electric fence and never could figure out where the heck it gone. The mystery was solved when these sheds were found.

I was surprised the deer had survived, and even more amazed that he was able to shed his antlers and slip them off his face! Incredible.

After talking it over with the man, we worked out a deal and I was able to bring the unique sheds home.

James and Janice are quite the couple. They are both 80 years old and look amazing. After 58 years of marriage they are still going strong. The antlers are rare, but even rarer is the pleasure of meeting two great people so dedicated to one another. It was a pleasure today.–Mike

Shed Hunting: Try a Grid Search

shed hunting compressedTo find sheds you need to look close, real close. Try a grid search. Look over the ground before you and mark off a 20-yard block. Walk slowly and cover every foot of it before moving on to the next grid.

It’s our nature to look out front and up as we walk. Do that while you’re shedding and you’ll look right over antlers. Instead, take it slow and look straight down at the ground; scan every inch of each grid.

You might spot an antler lying on the grass…or mostly buried with just a tine tip sticking up. You want big antlers, but the spikes and fork-horns are cool souvenirs too. You’ve got to look down and real close for to see the little ones.

Once you finish each grid, stop, turn around and give the ground one last look. From a new perspective with different lighting you might spot an antler that you missed.

Shed Hunting: What Killed That Deadhead Buck?

ohio double drop deadheadShed antler season 2018 has officially begun, and people across the country are roaming the woods—and, it seems, finding an inordinate number of “deadheads,” or the carcasses of mature bucks that have been dead for weeks and more likely months. They are popping up everywhere on social media.

Run across a dead buck and what comes to mind: What killed this animal? Lost by a bowhunter…hit by a car (ran off into the woods and perished)…attacked by a predator…succumbed to EHD last summer?

Here are some interesting tips from the QDMA on how to examine a deadhead and possibly determine its cause of death.

Also, while doing a rudimentary field autopsy on a dead buck is fine, remember that in many states you need to contact the wildlife department and/or get a salvage permit before removing the antlers and taking them home. Be sure to check and abide by your state’s law before posting a deadhead on social, or you could get jammed up.

Good luck with your shed hunting this winter and send me stories and pictures.

Alberta Black Bear Hunt

alberta kelly bear

Come to find out, Big Deer’s resident shed-hunting expert is also a bear hunter. Kelly files this report from the Alberta bush: 

Mike: Another great Canada bear hunt in the books. Very warm conditions this year, but many bears. Had to be selective when picking an animal to shoot, as there were many rubbed bears.

The units I hunt in Alberta are two-bear units. I shot this black bear and waited for a colored bear to no avail. This was my fifth year up in Alberta and I have yet to shoot a color-phase, but there is always next year.

I’m happy. The bear I shot squared 6’6” with a very clean coat. Already looking forward to next year!—Kelly K

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.