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.
I used these tips in March of 2014 after reading one of Mike’s blogs on shed hunting. We had another brutal winter and one evening around late January a small buck and several other deer crossed the road in front of me. He had already dropped one side of his rack. During the next few weeks I noticed quite a few heavily used trails crossing the same road in the same spot that I saw the buck. I went back in March when a lot of the snow had melted. I followed these heavily used trails into some thick brushy fields. Just about every bush I saw was browsed over. With all the snow we had it was obvious what the deer were surviving on. I walked roughly a mile and found 5 sheds. 2 of which were matched sets. 1 set was laying side by side and the other set was about 30 yards apart.
Thanks Mike and Kelly for the good tips.
Shed hunting is no different then Deer hunting, put in a bunch of time finding the deer groups and wait till it’s time.
When the horns are on the ground you will have a great chance of finding more, you already know where to search.