Like many of you, I’ve been spending as much time as possible looking for shed antlers during the last several weeks. The Reconyx cameras were getting photos of a few bucks that were shedding early and that was all the encouragement I needed to get out and start shed hunting.
Shed hunting can often feel like hunting for a needle in the haystack. Folks that shed hunt in areas with large agriculture fields probably don’t understand that statement. “Flat landers” have a distinct advantage to those of us hunting in habitat that is primarily timber and mountainous. It’s something I dream of – taking my dog and hunting on flat land where the wind direction remains constant and the line of sight extends for more than 30 to 50 yards! My dog, Crystal, helps me overcome this limitation by using her nose to find shed antlers.The first couple of weeks shed hunting yielded few results. I found a few smaller antlers from yearling bucks without assistance from Crystal. After years of shed hunting with the dog that I had trained, it appeared she had lost her ability to find shed antlers. That all turned around this week.
On Monday afternoon Crystal and I walked and hunted for about 1 ½ hours. In that time she found three antlers that were not in my line of sight. On Wednesday she found two more small antlers. What brought about this change in Crystal? The weather. Over the weekend our farm received some much needed rain. Our area had been experiencing warmer and dryer temperatures than normal. Daytime humidity levels were very low. It made for great fire weather (watch this video) but poor conditions for a dog to scent an antler. When the air is humid it carries scent.
Not everyone reading this blog has a shed dog (a dog trained to find shed antlers) but there is a takeaway here for all deer hunters. It’s the power of an animal’s nose. Hunters in dry climates like western Kansas can bow hunt whitetails much “easier” than a hunter in a humid location like Florida. This is why Grant and the team are so picky about reducing their scent and the scent on their gear. This is also why they are very concerned about how they approach stands. The GrowingDeer Team’s scent control is much more than using a field spray, it's based on hygiene and cleaning their gear in addition to using a field spray. If you want to understand more about the role of humidity in effective deer hunting, read the article Grant wrote here.
I have renewed confidence in my dog’s ability to hunt antlers. We’ll be out as often as possible. We will hunt smart and use our time wisely. We’ll concentrate on food plots, bedding areas, water sources, and move between those by following active trails and sign. To give Crystal the advantage we’ll hunt the wind direction and try to be out when the humidity levels are higher. We’ll keep you posted on our results on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. If you’re not already connected with us – please join us today!
Trying to control my shed hunting addiction,