By Mark Kenyon
UPDATE 3/4/2011: As soon as you finish reading these tips, check out our newest shed hunting post on Wired To Hunt, “The Ultimate Shed Hunting Resource – Expert Shed Hunting Tips, Strategies and Suggestions”. We’ve compiled the most comprehensive collection of shed hunting tips ever, from the likes of Mark and Terry Drury, Bill Winke, Mike Hanback, Kandi Kisky, the Whitetail Properties TV team, Scott Bestul of Field & Stream and many more! This is a must read if you want to find the most sheds possible this year! Visit the link below.
We’re keeping the shed hunting tips flowing and this time it’s from author Joe Shead. Joe is the author of “Shed Hunting: A Guide To Finding White-Tailed Deer Antlers” and creator of the DVD “Go Shed Hunting.” He has also worked as managing editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and written for numerous other publications. So I think it’s safe to say that he is one of the most qualified shed hunting experts in the hunting community! Lucky for us, he was kind enough to offer the Wired To Hunt Nation some great shed hunting tips. So check them out and make sure to share some of your favorite tips too!
Joe Shead’s Shed Hunting Tips
1. Look for southern exposures, such as south-facing hills and the south edge of a forest. The south face receives the most direct sunlight in winter. Deer bed here to soak up radiant heat, much like a cat lying in a window. Direct sunlight also reduces snow depth here first, making it easier for deer to bed, travel and find food.
2. Check under scattered evergreens. Whether it’s a lone cedar in the middle of a fallow field or a handful of scattered pines in a hardwood forest, check under every one, particularly under the south side. Deer are drawn to these odd features on a landscape the same way a fish is drawn to weeds, rocks or logs in an otherwise featureless lake.
3. Walk slower than you think you need to. There are a lot of things on the ground that look like sheds and many other things that can cover up sheds. Sheds look a lot like sticks, brush and cornstalks so your eyes need time to separate the grain from the chaff. Your pace should be dictated by how fast your eyes can thoroughly scan the ground, not how fast you can walk.
4. Look for pieces of an antler. Sometimes you see a deer’s tail twitch or you see a glint of antler before you spot the whole deer. It’s the same way with sheds. Sheds can be buried under snow or grass or may be projecting only part-way from behind sticks or logs. Look for a piece of tine, a round base or the M-shape of an antler lying tines down or a W-shape of an antler lying tines up. Many times that 3-inch piece of antler you see sticking out behind the grass is attached to a much-larger antler.
5. Keep your eyes on the ground. As simple as this sounds, it’s amazing how often you’ll catch yourself looking at deer, birds, rubs or other things above ground level. Last week I watched 2 deer jump up out of their beds and bound uphill. On the way out of that area that night, I spotted a 4-point shed that I had stepped within 3 feet of when I was watching those 2 deer.
For more shed hunting tips, check out a few of our other shed hunting posts!