First thing, just go…and go and go. A lot of people have no luck because they look on one or two properties where the deer may not even be this time of year, or maybe the animals are just passing through to a food source. Get permission to as many farms and woodlands as you can. Then start walking. One of BIG DEER’s best shed hunters, Kelly from South Dakota, told me he walked 19 miles last Saturday and found 8 antlers. Go!
But make sure you walk where the deer are. Remember that as a general rule 90 percent of the deer are in 10% of the woods/fields/brush this time of year, where there is something to eat, so you need to narrow down your search areas.
If you see 10 or 20 deer feeding and hanging around in a field now, some sheds are going to be there, or close. Prime food sources to check: 1) standing soybeans or a late-cut bean field where some pods are still on the ground; 2) thick, scrubby fields, with green shrubs and berries and maybe some locust trees with pods (deer love them this time of year); 3) alfalfa, clover or winter wheat.
Standing corn or stubble is good, but if you don’t have a shed dog it’s tough. If no dog, walk every 2nd to 3rd corn row. Pay attention and look hard. Antlers stick out better in the corn with a light snow on the ground.
Most of the best shedding is done in and around food sources and nearby staging areas, and from there branch out farther toward bedding areas. Hunt the connecting trails too.
If you find several sheds in a spot one year, you will probably find more there next year. Mark spots where you find big sheds on a map.