If you’ve never been shed antler hunting I have some advice for you. It’s simple – don’t go. Don’t go shed hunting. Don’t even start. Don’t even spend 15 minutes looking in a food plot for antlers. Why? Because once you do you will be addicted. I’ve seen it happen. The addiction only takes minutes to set in. I saw it happen just recently.
I had a family come join me on a recent Sunday afternoon to enjoy a couple of hours walking in the woods to hunt for shed antlers. Neither the husband nor wife had ever hunted for shed antlers. As a matter of fact, the husband prefers turkey hunting to deer hunting. However they love being outdoors, love hiking, and love letting their three boys run free in the woods where they can’t get in trouble when throwing a rock or busting up a tree stump.
Our hunt that afternoon focused on areas of high deer activity – the woods around frequently used food plots. As the hunt progressed I saw the hike turn from a casual family hike to an intense search for that elusive shed antler. I saw it on their faces – fierce concentration as they scanned the ground hoping to find one. It was like an early Easter egg hunt for adults.
They were full of questions. Where should I be looking? How do I find one? How many have you found in a day? What’s the most you’ve found in a season? Is it more of a thrill to find a big antler or a small antler?
As I answered each question I could see the desire to find an antler begin to burn stronger. My answers were simple: When you find deer trails, rubs, scrapes, deer beds, or deer poop slow down and check those areas out more thoroughly. I’ve found up to six antlers in one day. To me it’s more rewarding to find a small antler than a big one because you have to really be looking hard to find those! Of course, the big antlers are a bigger thrill to find and are what keeps everyone truly motivated.
The afternoon hunt ended with the boys playing in the creek, one shed antler found that was definitely shed more than a couple of years before, and at least two new addicts to hunting shed antlers.
The next time you consider taking up shed hunting – don’t do it. Don’t go. Just go for a walk in the spring woods. Take time to enjoy the warmer air, spring wildflowers, and budding trees. If you see an antler – leave it for the squirrels. You’ll be glad you did. (or not….)
Confessing my addition to shed antler hunting,