The Deer Hunter’s Second Season: Shed Hunting

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: Deer Management, Hunting Blog, Trail Cameras, White-tailed Deer

There are a few more days of archery season in Missouri and a few other states. Grant and the boys still have a few days to fill their tags here at The Proving Grounds. Once archery season ends, Grant will give me permission to start my season – shed hunting! Late winter is the time that I enjoy most here in Missouri. The woods are free of ticks and snakes. The brush has died back so that the hills and glades are easier walking. Best of all – Crystal and I can find special treasures while walking these Ozark Mountains – shed antlers! (Crystal is a Labrador Retriever that I have trained to find and retrieve shed antlers.)

Shed hunting in the Ozarks is not like shed hunting in the states that have flat land like Iowa, Kansas, or Illinois. I envy the folks that can go shed hunting and spot one 300 yards away! Finding a shed in these hills is akin to an Easter egg hunt where the eggs are well hidden. When you find a shed you consider it a special blessing!

My first objective will be to initially walk the valleys in search of deer that may have died during the fall from EHD. Our valley contains a creek that although it isn’t a perennial, flowing source of water, it does have certain deeper holes that held water even through this last summer’s drought. Those are the targets for my initial hunts. Crystal and I will be looking, but not necessarily hoping, to find the bucks that were lost due to the disease. Our fear is that we will find many more like the one Grant recently found pictured below and the one shown in the video back in September (GDTV 147).

Buck that died from EHD in Missouri

Initially I will walk the valleys in search of deer that may have died during the fall from EHD, like the buck pictured above.

On the brighter side, hunting in the valley has an additional benefit – it is relatively flat which will be the beginning of conditioning for both Crystal and me for the harder exercise of searching the hills!

Once the water sources have been hunted I will move on to the rest of the property. Grant and the boys will still be using the Reconyx cameras to monitor the deer herd to determine which bucks made it through the season. As soon as bucks start to show they are loosing antlers, I will develop specific areas to canvas based on the travel patterns shown by the Reconyx MapView software. Perhaps we’ll get lucky like we did last year (see it here in GDTV 116) and the Reconyx will capture images of one of our hit list bucks the night that he sheds his antlers!

Grant and I will be sharing some other tactics to help you find shed antlers in future blog posts. In the meantime – get out there to get some exercise and enjoy Creation! Enjoy the shed hunting season and share when and what you find on our Facebook page! I look forward to hearing about and seeing all the great treasures you find in the next few weeks.

Enjoying Deer together,

Tracy Woods