Mike: This buck was found dead in February in Kansas (Butler County) on a shed hunting expedition by my daughter-in-law Ashley Hall.
Had a chance to visit old friends over on the Eastern Shore of Maryland last weekend before a conference scheduled for Annapolis on Monday.
Cabin fever got the best of me, and even though I knew I’d be pushing around a good number of bucks still toting antlers, I went strolling in search of some early sheds anyways.
On my second outing of the year, I decided to return to the same area where I had encountered all the antlered bucks the weekend prior. A little later, I started exploring the small thicket from the aerials and I found more of what I was looking for. It appears that some sort of critter was thinking of pulling the antler into its den for a mid-afternoon snack.
I hope to hit this area at least one more time, but I am going to stay out until at least March 20 so that all the bucks have had adequate opportunity to drop.
Headed out to sweep some woodlots that I have been seeing some good concentrations of deer feeding out of in the evenings. I ended up flushing somewhere between 25 and 30 deer out of the 2 isolated woodlots and the herds contained at least 8 different fully-racked bucks. The landowner where I harvested the Monster 8 was gracious enough to give me the buck’s sheds from the year prior when we thought he was a massive 7 point. That is crazy considering his rack scored 146 and change when I harvested him a year later. First spot I went was a pine stand that was burned about 6 weeks ago. As you can see, the regrowth is really aggressive but there was an antler in this tangle of stuff.
Before I left that area, I picked up a few bleached antlers that were missed in previous years but were glaringly obvious in contrast to the black background. After I had thoroughly searched the area, I made a loop around a clover field and made this good spot on a little yearling buck’s antler. Hard to see, but look right in the middle of the sunlight spot and there is a nice mature 4 point side laying tines up.
But when I flipped the other antler over I realized they were both left sides from different deer! What are the odds? If only I could find his 3 point matching side. After 30 minutes of gridding the immediate area, I hit the jackpot. Match! Shed hunting is certainly a whole lot tougher this time of year than it was 2 months ago, but if you can get over your fear of snakes, ticks, chiggers, and whatever else might ail you, there are usually still antlers to find. Plans are to hang stands (maybe a little shed hunting too) on Friday, do a little turkey hunting Saturday morning, hang more stands during the day, more of the same on Sunday, wrap the weekend up with a good cookout, and be back to Alabama by Monday afternoon. Have a great weekend, and I look forward to sharing the trip with you next week on The Outdoor Smorgasbord.
But I did head down to the study site and attempt to dart deer this morning. Nothing doing except some shed-out bucks and a buttonhead that was much too far to attempt a shot. After trying to dart deer, I put the walking boots on and went shed hunting with my advisor from Auburn Univ. We picked up about 15 antlers, most of which were old and chewed.
However, I did manage a nice 5 point shed that was fresh and we tag-teamed on 1 side apiece of a 2.5 year old 8 point set. To boot, we even threw in a little fishing and managed to pull out a handful for the freezer.
Yesterday, I saw some really pretty Red Buckeye trees that were flowering out down at the study site.
I’ve hunted for sheds several days in the last couple of weeks, both around town and in farm country. I haven’t looked for a shed yet this year because it seems like only a few hours go by between snow storms. I had about an hour of sunlight left after I finished a legal project in the general area of one of my best deer hunting spots. My best find ever but then again it's my first year shed hunting and that's all I've found!
Red buckeye flowers are prime hummingbird nectar sources, though otherwise the plant has little wildlife value. The small fruits that are produced are poisonous to humans.
While it would have been great for advertising to say one of my KFO paying hunters harvested this deer it just isn’t so.
It truly is a shame for a world-class buck like this to have such a sad ending but so be it.
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Published at: Storage Buildings