SD shed 1When you’re out in the woods on a shed hunt, pick up a deer trail and follow it for a few hundred yards to a half-mile or more, until you come to a thick and obvious deer bedding area. In late winter that might be a brushy southern exposure that gets midday sunlight, or the east side of a grassy ridge or knoll where deer hunker out of a bitter northwest wind.

Back in hunting season you would have stopped, tested the wind and worked the outer fringes of such a sanctuary so as not to spook any deer. But now, plow right in.

Montana shed-hunting fanatic Dick Idol told me one time that he finds 60 percent of his sheds in and around thick covers where giant bucks hide in late winter. So dive in, go slow and look close. While you’re at it, analyze all the rub lines and trails you’re sure to find in and around there. Try to get an idea of the easiest and best-hidden routes a mature buck would use to enter and exit the cover according to various winds. That info will help when you come back to hunt the area next fall.

Keep in mind that if you find some good-sized sheds in and around a thick cover for several years in a row you know within a few acres of where at least one good buck and probably a couple of giants bed in the winter and perhaps earlier in the rut as well. Hang a tree stand along a trail that leads out to a hot food source and you might shoot a monster right there next fall.