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Nebraska Shed Hunter's Wife and Dog Find 6x9 Set One Year After Learning About the Buck

Nick Illian's dog helped him and his wife find their largest match set to date.

Nebraska Shed Hunter's Wife and Dog Find 6x9 Set One Year After Learning About the Buck

Nick never knew about this buck before talking to another shed hunter. About a year later, he was holding the buck’s freshly dropped antlers. (Photo courtesy of Nick Illian)

Just Dropped

Nick Illian has permission to shed hunt on a piece of private land in Eastern Nebraska. Last shed season, Nick ran into another shed hunter on the property; and while talking to the other hunter, Nick learned about a large whitetail living on the property that had some unique antler characteristics.

“I never knew about the deer before talking to that other guy,” Nick remembers.

Shed Surprise

Early in 2022, Nick, his wife and their dog headed to the property to look for sheds. Since it was early, Nick didn’t have the highest expectations. However, it didn’t take long for him to pick up a few smaller antlers. Then he saw his dog carrying a shed.

“My dog brought a big left side back to us,” Nick says. “It was fresh, so my wife and I spread out to look for its match. I walked about 100 yards and saw a small shed, and at the same time I hear my wife yell: “I found one, I think it’s big!”

big buck deer antler shed just dropped
The antlers’ bloody bases indicate that the set was fresh. (Photo courtesy of Nick Illian)

Nick walked over to his wife and his jaw dropped. He put the shed his wife found next to the antler his dog picked up and they clearly matched. Better yet, the antlers belonged to the buck Nick had learned about last year.

big buck deer antler shed just dropped
After their dog found the left side, it didn’t take long for Nick’s wife to complete the set! (Photo courtesy of Nick Illian)

“We have been shed hunting for years, and this is our biggest match yet,” Nick says.

Nick loves hunting whitetails, but at this point in his life, he says that he’d rather shed hunt than actually hunt for whitetails.

“There’s no better feeling than being able to find such a majestic mature buck’s sheds,” says Nick.

For more shed hunting stories, keep following along with North American Whitetail’s Just Dropped campaign through shed season.


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