It’s the shed antler scavenging season! I particularly like this because for once I can save a little money and still enjoy a sport in the woods (no costly hunting licenses or stamps)! Shed hunting for me typically starts in early spring. Deer, elk and moose shed their antlers from late winter and into spring, following the mating seasons. The weekend of March 8th-10th, a few friends and I took the 3 hour road trip to Garrison, KY to hunt on D.A. Outfitters’ many different properties. I was a little skeptical about driving so far to scout a property I have never been to before, but it made me more than anxious once I was on the land. We arrived on over 4,000 acres of quality private property with a fully equipped lodge to stay in for the weekend and relax after miles and miles of walking.
A big part of shed hunting, once you’re in the right place, is actually recognizing an antler on the ground. They are easy to walk past, and I’m sure I’ve done it countless times. I brought my 4 month old blue healer puppy with me for assistance, and he collected a fine assortment of…sticks. Training dogs to shed hunt certainly wasn’t done in one day! Shed hunting and hiking can be a strenuous and athletic activity. I know I was certainly ready for relaxing in the hot tub from lack of being in “hunting shape” and walking the woods during the off season.
I spent a lot of my time checking the obvious bedding and feeding areas since deer spend most of their time in these spots. I did find two really nice sheds. One was from a 10 point buck with really long brow tines that I named “Mai Tai,” and the other had a swerved brow tine that I named “Wicked.” Our group of 6 hunters found over 20 whitetail sheds! I have been putting in the efforts to shed hunt for a few years now and I have never seen so many people have such success with the number and the quality of sheds we found.
My favorite part about the hunt was not just coming home with new decorations and improving my fitness level. During this experience I made some new friends, learned more about the land and the sport, got to wind down from the stressful work week in a laid back and fun environment, and did a lot of laughing. Aside from the entertainment, the sheds you find can also be very informative. Each shed offers particular information about the class and the age of the bucks that are still around, and it keeps you from going completely stir-crazy if you are as addicted to the outdoors as I am! I was fortunate enough to find a couple sheds I was very proud of and that was simply a bonus to an already enjoyable activity and a great day in the woods.