I mentioned last week that I was getting cabin fever. That statement holds true for this week as well. February and the beginning weeks of March send me into a serious boredom. Hunting and trapping have ended here in Missouri and turkey season, along with the best fishing days, are weeks and even months away. With all this being said, there is one thing that a guy can pursue to try and relieve his cabin fever: shed hunting!
By this time of year here in the Midwest, a lot of bucks have shed their antlers. It’s always an enjoyment to monitor the Reconyx cameras and see when most of the bucks have started shedding their antlers. As soon as we see that the majority of bucks have shed their antlers, we head to the woods to try and find them! Unfortunately, finding these antlers can be very difficult, excluding the areas of large crop fields like Iowa and Illinois. Growing up in the Ozark Mountains, I’ve found less than twenty sheds my entire life. While I attended college my brother and I would head to Kansas every spring and chase turkeys. Just in those few days every spring, we found more sheds than our entire lives in the Ozark Mountains. What was the difference you ask? FOOD! FOOD! And more FOOD!
Obviously the winter months are cold, and like this year, there can be lots of snow. These conditions push deer to food sources. A deer has only one option to survive the arctic temperatures of winter, and that’s to eat. By consuming food they will increase their body temperature so they can survive the cold days of winter. While deer are focused on feeding to survive, they’re making our job as shed hunters easier. With the deer confined to smaller areas of feeding and bedding, they’re shrinking the circle in which they’ll drop their antlers in. Locating that food source is what we struggle with here in the Ozark Mountains. That food source might be a half acre food plot or a five hundred acre forest with acorns. Lucky for me, Magellan, a 4.5 year old buck here at The Proving Grounds decided this week that the food source of choice was a food plot planted in Eagle Seed Broadside blend. While doing some work beside this food plot I was keeping my eyes peeled for sheds and found his left antler laying ten yards from the edge of the woods. Bingo! It’s always exciting finding sheds but it’s even more rewarding finding them in the Ozark Mountains! They come with such rarity that it’s such a reward!
This find illustrates my main point even further. Once we’ve reached the latter part of the winter months, deer will be concentrated more heavily on food sources. That’s exactly where you’ll find me while I’m searching for those mysterious antlers that haunt our dreams.
Daydreaming of whitetails,