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The number one rule before beginning your antler hunting adventure is to be sure of the state regulations about gathering or keeping them.
Just like with hunting, where you never look for an entire animal, while antler hunting, don’t look for an entire antler. If you are into horseback riding, hunting antlers can be a great way to spend the spring days; however springtime riding in the mountains can be very dangerous. Finally, always carry a camera with you and keep it in your pocket or another easy place to access. When we needed to swing the line to make a bend or if one side got slowed down by difficult terrain (remember those kudzu washes) the wingman would tell the point man by radio to slow down until the line was straight again.
While our television stations show hunters in the great Midwest walking through plowed fields and picking up 150” antlers, that is certainly not likely in the thick brush of the southeast. Annually, I will spend the January and February months wandering through my property looking for sheds.
It’s exciting to find a shed from a buck that may have given you the slip during the season. I often make this a family affair offering some reward to my children for every one they find. As hunters we are always looking for an excuse to be out in the woods, and if small game hunting isn’t your thing, get out there and walk your property looking for sheds, you will learn your property intimately, and learn a lot about the deer you are hunting by knowing where they bed, feed and spend their days. Receive weekly updates on new listings and price-reduced properties, and our periodic Evidence of Success updates. A successful shed hunt requires a lot of patience, a sharp eye and the ability to cover plenty of ground.
March is also an ideal time to search for antlers because the under growth which is waiting to explode will typically hold off until April – which bring with it poison ivy and ticks!
Including the kids in the hunt for antlers is a great chance to spend time with the young’uns and teach them about being in the woods. This is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your kids in the woods, make it an adventure!
CopyrightWe are so pleased you are here and we love to share our life and stories with you, but please remember to link back to us and to give credit for all images and content you share. I went with my buddy Isaac, and we found over 20 elk sheds, 14 of which were worth keeping. Since shed antler hunting has become extremely popular and competitive over the past few years, a few people have taken it to the extreme. Smaller day packs might be easier to maneuver with and be more comfortable, but try strapping 50 pounds of antlers to a daypack and hiking around.
Personally I wear clothes by Sitka Gear during fall hunts, all spring while antler hunting and basically any other time of the year I am out hiking. They like the high, wind blown ridges and unless pressured by wolves or people, will scratch out a living there all winter long.
When you are tired, it’s difficult to make yourself dig out a camera for pictures so keep it accessible. I hunt in West TN and am always wanting to learn about this area more and what type of deer others are growing!

While I stay out of sanctuaries, during shed hunting, I wander through them looking for evidence. It proves they lived through the hunting season and offers hope that it will make it until the next. About five miles into our hike, we stashed 6 of them for horse packing or another backpacking trip at a later date. When time is getting close for elk to be dropping antlers, I like to find a vantage point early in the morning where I can put my optics to work.
After my fall hunting seasons end, I keep myself in shape, looking forward to the middle of March when I begin to look for antlers. Very rarely will you find bulls with cows after November and if you do, they will usually be smaller type bulls. A few years ago we lost a local young man when his horse went down and rolled over him on an icy slope. Text, photos, and video may not be used without written permission of the copyright holder(s).
Hunters have learned that by looking for and finding these sheds can be a great manner of spending time afield and to monitor bucks that made it through the hunting season. Granted, this isn’t hardcore shed hunting, but I do occasionally find a good shed, and actually get more excited when I find some that are rather small since they are more difficult to locate. Also with the pressure mostly off the deer with the ending of the season, bucks will also bed near these food plots, so making some sweeps around the edges will usually benefit in the locating of some sheds.
I will only make one pass through the sanctuary and look well then abandon the area until the next shed season. I don’t know of a better way to spend a day with your kids than stomping around in the woods.
Many places in the west have migratory herds, so finding a great pair of shed antlers doesn’t necessarily mean that bull will be within 50 miles the following fall.
Some states now have actual antler hunting seasons, some have certain opening dates and some may restrict it altogether. It’s better to spot bulls from a distance using binoculars or a spotting scope to see where they’ve been feeding and if any are missing antlers. Staying in shape for me consists of hiking and snowshoeing, looking for mountain lion tracks, all the while searching out wind-blown ridges where bulls may spend the winter.
Do not wear cotton clothing unless you are out in late spring or early summer and aren’t worried about the weather!
Downed timber and deep powder snow make climbing those slopes dangerous and almost impossible.
In deep snow conditions, bulls will often hang out near the bases of trees where the canopy has lessened the snow depth. Be extremely careful where you ride and look into the special horseshoes specifically for that type of riding. Regardless, it is great exercise and can be a good way gain further knowledge about your elk unit or other ones. Also remember to do your research and use your GPS and maps to make sure you don’t trespass on any private lands or parks.

If you are patient and wait for the bulls to timber-up and bed for the day, you can then go search the clearings where they’ve fed for the night, pick up whatever antlers are there without disturbing the bulls. Bungees are easier and faster to strap a load on and quicker to rearrange when you have to add more antlers.
If Isaac and I had been wearing cotton on our trip, we would have become hypothermic very quickly and been in a dangerous situation. Typically, mid-March is when they begin shedding, and it usually peaks around the first week of April. Windblown ridges and south facing slopes are key places, especially if there is adjoining timber.
If your terrain has some hillsides, deer will bed on the south facing slopes to gather the winter sun as fully as possible. Lastly, when I find sheds of deer I never saw during the season or have pictures of it builds anticipation of finding him come fall. The day started with beautiful weather, but by eleven in the morning it was snowing sideways, typical spring weather in Wyoming. Bottom line is, just like your fall hunting season, you should be physically prepared as well as have some areas scouted out. If there are cliffs on a south facing slope, pay close attention right at the base of the cliffs.
Lord knows in many areas, wolves harass the elk enough; they don’t need us adding to their pressure at this critical time of year.
Larger, more mature bulls tend to shed first, with some smaller rag horn bulls carrying their antlers well into April.
It’s worth packing snowshoes for 10 miles even if you only have to use them for a few hundred yards.
Snow conditions change and fresh wind blown snow can make it look like no animal has been there all winter.
In any case, enjoy your time in the field and again, please remember to not put undo stress on the elk.
March and April, the key months for shed hunting can be brutal and unforgivable, especially at an elevation of 8000-9000 feet. This past weekend, snow conditions were so soft that even with snowshoes, we were waist deep in snow.
I think the sun against the rock backdrop creates more warmth for the bulls, and fresh green grass sprouts early there as well.
We ended up crawling with snowshoes on our hands several times to make it across really deep places.

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  • 04.12.2014, admin

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