Shed 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.