Whitetail Deer Shed Hunting Tips
More hunters are hitting the woods each year in search of shed antlers. Here are seven whitetail deer shed hunting tips.
- I suggest looking at an aerial map of the property you are going to shed hunt ahead of time. Label the bedding areas, late season food sources, and any major travel routes. Plan out a route that will increase your odds for success by allowing you to focus primarily on searching the areas where deer spend the majority of their time. Cross off areas you search as you go. This can also be helpful if you search the same property multiple times to make sure you didn’t overlook any promising areas.
- I typically run trail cameras year round so I do try to check them periodically to try to get a better feel for when I need to be shed hunting specific properties. When whitetail deer shed their antlers can vary greatly depending on a number of factors like how harsh the winter was, the available food sources, etc. I have noticed that specific mature bucks will consistently shed their antlers around the same time of year.
- Be sure to search areas where deer need to jump like a fence or creek crossing. One of the largest sheds I ever found was located just past a fallen log that crossed a quad path. The deer either ducked and knocked the antler loose on the log or jumped the log and knocked it loose on the landing. I have also found a number of sheds near creek crossings.
- Search south facing slopes after a long cold winter. Deer will often bed on south facing slopes during cold winters to soak as much sun as possible.
- Overcast days are best, but always keep the sun at your back if you are shed hunting on a sunny day. The glare from the sun can easily cause false alarms.
- Carry a small pair of binoculars or a monocular. (This can save you quite a few steps, since there are many objects in the whitetail woods that can appear to be a shed antler from a distance.)
- I always try to focus on shed hunting in the late winter/early spring, but I have a really hard time passing large rubs and other sign from the previous rut. I have learned that I can maximize my time by both shed hunting and scouting during the same outing, but I always try to focus on looking for sheds while I am on the move. Any rubs or other sign I find is just a bonus.
Out of these whitetail deer shed hunting tips, the most important thing you can do is put some miles on. Shed hunting is not easy, by any means, but it can be extremely rewarding when you finally find the treasure you have been searching for. You will likely be addicted after finding your first shed!