Second Season Shed Hunting Part II
Last week I shared why and when bucks shed their antlers. This week I wish to share where my family and I have the most success finding sheds.
As I explained last week, antlers are not knocked off. Rather they shed due to a rapid decrease in testosterone levels. So the old theory of finding most sheds at fence crossings or places antlers are thought to be “knocked off” simply isn’t correct.
The best place to find sheds is where deer will spend most of their time during the late winter – feeding and bedding areas! Bucks typically spend more time in there than in transition zones. Deer prefer grain (carbohydrates) during the late winter, especially if the temperatures have been cold where you plan to shed hunt. So standing soybean or cornfields is my favorite place to hunt for sheds.
My second favorite place is cut/harvested soybean or cornfields. Modern combines are very efficient and don’t spill much grain but these may be the best feed sources in the local area. If you hunt on land where there are no commercial grain production fields or quality food plots, then focus on areas where deer are browsing during the late winter. Shed hunting is much more difficult in these conditions as deer tend to cover a much larger territory daily searching for food. They don’t use the same part of the property day after day so it’s rare to see many deer in the same places or find many sheds in the same area. Finding a shed on lands that are primarily covered by timber is just as much of a challenge as patterning a mature buck in these places.
My second favorite place to find sheds is in bedding areas. Again, in parts of the country with ag production, bedding areas are much easier to pinpoint as cover is limited. CRP fields, brushy draws, etc., can be hot spots for sheds where most of the land is crop fields.
Timbered properties are often hilly. In these areas deer will often bed on south facing slopes during the winter if the temperatures are cold and north facing slopes as a way of staying cool if the temperatures are warmer than normal. I evaluate the habitat and weather conditions during the late winter for each location I plan to shed hunt and select where I’ll spend my time – just like I would evaluate where to place a stand.
Shed hunting is almost as fun as buck hunting – except it doesn’t have the potential to provide great venison for my family.
Growing and hunting deer together,
Dr. Grant Woods, GrowingDeer.tv
Dr. Grant Woods was raised and began his love of white-tailed deer as a bow hunter in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.