Shed Hunting: How to Hunt for Trophy Antlers When Deer Season Ends

by Will Shepard

For some of the country, shed hunting season is already upon us. As hunting season is wrapping up and transitioning into other seasons, shed hunting is ramping up.

This time of the year, bucks are dropping their antlers because they no longer need to use them for battles over females. So, shed hunting is the perfect way to go find a beautiful set of freshly dropped antlers.

Shed hunting is an alternative to kill hunting. You can still go find a wonderful set of antlers without harming the animal. Going out into the woods or fields to find sheds that bucks have no need for is a favorite hobby for some outdoors people.

Bucks drop their antlers because their testosterone levels have been dropping since the rut is over. This happens all over the country starting in late December and carrying on through early March. However, make sure to do a little bit of research about when your region’s bucks shed their antlers.

Perhaps the best part of shed hunting is that you don’t need to know anything about hunting. You don’t need to have a hunting license or anything like that, all you need is some walking boots.

The Best Place to Go Shed Hunting

The best place to start is exactly where the deer spend the most amount of their time. For example, conservation areas, state parks, or large areas away from people. Shed hunting is easy once you know where to look, but until you know where to look it can be quite difficult.

A great place to start shed hunting is hilly areas. Picking a south-facing slope that gets a lot of sunlight is a great place to start. Deer like to bed down in areas that warm up quickly in the morning sunlight.

Additionally, a great spot to go shed hunting is near water. All deer need to drink, so whatever water source is the prominent one in the area is a good start. Another spot for shed hunting is on the borderline of forests and fields.

Binoculars are an important addition to your quiver while you’re out shed hunting. They can help scout out the land for antlers. Antlers tend to glisten differently than dead branches and stand out very differently than tall grass.

Going out in different weather can change the way that antler sheds look in the light too. For instance, going out on a cloudy day can actually help because antlers stand out even brighter than on other days. On rainy days, antlers stand out as darker than the things around them.

Hunting for sheds can result in amazing finds, sometimes even better than antlers on bucks that you kill in season. Sometimes, bucks will die, and you will find a full skull with antlers attached.

Again, keep in mind the best times of year to look for sheds.