I was walking through the Kentucky woods one summer day, searching the timber for the perfect climbing tree when I found something else, lying snow-white against lush-green mayapples on the forest floor. To my unskilled eye it was spectacular: a buck’s 4-point antler. To my 11-year-old mind, it was a trophy worth keeping, and that’s what I did. Fast forward more than 25 years, and I still feel the same excitement each time I find a shed deer antler.
So, what exactly is shed hunting? Well, that’s simple: It means hunting for antlers that bucks shed each year from winter through early spring, depending on your location.
Why should I care?
For a few reasons, actually. For one thing, there are entire events around shed hunting! Consider #ShedRally, the first-ever nationwide shed hunting event, which began in 2014.
Shed hunting helps hunters and landowners learn what kind of bucks roam the property. You might never catch a buck on a trail camera during deer season, but if you head to the woods in late winter and search diligently, you could find a trophy’s shed antlers.
Shed hunting also gives you something to look forward to come autumn. When you find a shed, you know the buck survived the grueling hunting/mating season and will likely be around in autumn.
Although those are three great reasons to hunt sheds, an often-overlooked positive is that it gets you outside when you might lack the desire to be outdoors. But shed-hunting gives you a great excuse to lace up your hiking boots for a winter-walk through nature.
What Can I Do With Antlers?
For starters, sheds can make great artwork. Artists and craftsmen make lamps, door handles, picture holders and even chandeliers from shed antlers. If you don’t believe us, just search “antlers” on Pinterest and check out the lamps, candle holders and wall decor you can make from sheds.
Bottom line: If you haven’t hunted shed antlers, head to your hunting land or nearest wildlife management area and give it a try. It might take a few trips before you find what you’re seeking, but when you do, I promise you’ll be as excited as I am each winter.