March 24, 2023
Shed hunting season is in full force, and many pieces of white gold have been discovered. But there’s still time to find more, especially if one elevates their game to the next level. Here are 20 advanced shed hunting skills to know.
1. Start shed hunting early, but only check open food sources. These are locations where deer routinely lose their headgear. Plus, covering these locations is less likely to pressure deer. This is important, especially if a high percentage of bucks are still holding their antlers.
2. Save the bedding cover for last. This decreases the odds of pressuring deer that might not have shed yet. Furthermore, it will apply less pressure and stress to the herd, resulting in healthier deer.
3. Shed hunt public tracts sooner. This boosts the odds of discovering dropped antlers before other hunters find them. This is even more important for areas that receive more pressure and are closer to roads and parking lots.
4. Go to the eye doctor. Sheds aren’t easy to see, so the sharper your vision the better.
5. Use the glass. Binos are great tools for shed hunting. These can also help determine that distant shed-like object isn’t a shed, but a stick, saving a lot of valuable time.
6. Don’t look for an entire antler. Look for the tip of a tine. Better yet, search for a spike shed. Do that, and seeing a complete antler becomes much simpler.
7. Take along some help. More sets of eyes in the field can make it more enjoyable, and certainly more fruitful. Just work out a deal on who gets to keep the sheds before starting. Generally, it’s best for the landowner to keep them, and return the favor by helping other individuals find sheds on their properties.
8. Look on rainy days. Antlers almost always seem to shine a little brighter during or just after a bit of rainfall. The glisten and glow seems to catch the attention of passerby shed hunters.
9. Change perspectives while in the field. Sometimes an antler might be virtually invisible from one direction. Then, by either moving to another spot, crouching down or standing up higher, a change in perspective reveals the shed.
10. Move slower while walking or riding. Going too fast will lead to missed sheds, especially smaller ones or those that are somewhat concealed.
11. Look far out (occasionally). This can reveal an easy-to-spot shed that’s out in an open field. It also helps locate sheds in food plots and ag fields.
12. But don’t look too far out for too long. That leads to missed sheds up close. It’s important to strike the necessary balance. I find most of my sheds within 10-20 yards of my position, especially in cut cornfields and thick cover.
13. Come to complete stops. This is increasingly important as the terrain gets thicker and more difficult to shed hunt. Early successional cover certainly requires more patience.
14. Wear quality footwear. Long days of shed hunting leads to wear and tear on the feet. Those with subpar footwear will likely get blisters, soars and bruises.
15. Purchase a pair of chaps. These are a must-have, especially when busting through briars and other brush.
16. Wear leather gloves. This helps save the hands when fighting through the sea of briars and brambles. Without these you’ll likely end up with scratched-up hands and fingers.
17. Use an ATV or UTV, especially for open-area early dropping sheds. These are especially beneficial in fields and other navigable areas. It helps shed hunters recover more sheds, find them faster and use less energy.
18. Use a shed dog. While these canine friends don’t always make huge gains in overall discovered sheds, they can help recover sheds that would otherwise go undiscovered.
19. Draw a grid and search each quadrant. Search each one before moving on the next. Do that, and rest easier knowing that most of the property was searched.
20. Cover everything. Don’t leave pieces of dirt unsearched. Even unlikely locations should be scoured. Shed antlers can turn up just about anywhere.
Bonus: Label the antlers. On the underside of the base, write a letter to identify the property it originated from. Then, write the date of discovery, too.
Overall, this is just another day of shed hunting. But when deploying advanced shed hunting tips, the haul might just be a little bigger and sweeter.