How to Study Winter Deer Patterns for Successful Shed Hunting During a Snowy Season

by Will Shepard

Every state in the U.S. is in the throes of winter, and shed hunting season is underway. Whitetail deer all over the states are dropping their antlers, so the question remains, where to find the antler drops in the cold weather.

To find sheds, you have to know deer patterns in the winter months. In particular, you need to focus on where the rut is happening. This will lead you to where the bucks are fighting, and consequently where they are breaking off their antlers most often.

Additionally, the deer will be focusing mainly on finding food during the cold months of the year. Shed hunting near proven areas where whitetails feed is a great start.

Because deer are working hard to conserve as much energy as they can, so they spend a lot of time near their bedding place. When the days are extra cold, deer like to be near their food source and bedding area. This means that finding that sweet spot is a perfect place to go shed hunting.

So, in brief summation, focusing on bedding spots, feeding grounds, and high traffic areas are great spots to find sheds. Hunting in places where bucks spend most of their time is the best place to look. Always create a plan to shed hunt, there’s nothing worse than wandering the woods aimlessly with no luck.

Shed Hunting in a Harsh Winter Actually Can Be Better Than Most Winters

Last year, for much of the U.S. winter, was mild. This meant that antler sheds were all over the place because whitetails didn’t need to conserve as much energy. But, this year is much different.

All over the place, winter is bringing harsh temperatures. For the whitetails, this means harder days ahead. But, for shed hunting, this is actually a good thing. Again, when temperatures are unseasonably cold, the deer will spend most of their time hunkering down and stay warm.

Consequently, this means that antler sheds will be in a tight vicinity. So, when you go shed hunting and find one antler, there will likely be more antlers nearby.

Keep an Eye Out for Solitary Tracks

There is always the hope that when you are out shed hunting, that you will find the biggest antlers around. But, this is often hard to do. For one, the big bucks are typically solitary and won’t hang around with other bucks or even the does in the wintertime.

So, if you ever come on a set of bigger whitetail tracks, stay with them as they will likely lead to a bigger buck. The tracks will venture through a variety of terrain including bedding grounds and feeding areas.

While on the path, make sure you search any place where the buck might have dropped an antler. This can be on the ground, slightly buried, in dense vegetation, or anywhere a buck could hit his head against. Essentially, anywhere a buck could shake one of his antlers loose is a great spot to look.

Another good trick is to train a dog to find antlers. This is a simple trick that can pay off big when going out shed hunting.