I thought I had experienced the excitement of shed hunting – but lets be honest, I hadn’t really. In a handful of years searching for fallen bone across Michigan and Ohio I had found some decent antlers here and there, and definitely enjoyed myself. But in all of the hours we spent searching, my friends and I almost never came home with more than a token fork antler or the like.
But this weekend, I found out that the grass really is greener on the other side. With two and a half days to spend shed hunting in Iowa, I was excited to see if there was something to all the hype – and I wasn’t disappointed.
The shed hunting success kicked off on Thursday when Corey found a decent 4 point side from a two year old in a spot near town. This area had been good for a handful of sheds every year for Corey when he lived out in Iowa, and he was actually surprised they didn’t find more there. Fast forward to Friday, when I arrived in town and we set off to walk several farms in the NE part of the state. We put a lot of miles on the boots and were overall disappointed in the success we were having until Corey pointed out some white spikes sticking up out of the ground ahead. When we got closer we knew it was a set of antlers. A big set of antlers! After pulling the two year old match set from under the dirt and grass, Corey held up the 160″ match set from a buck he’d seen hunting this farm several years before. The left side ended up being the largest shed he has found to date! At about the same time on another farm our pal Ross also found a 60″+ shed. Things were looking up.
Saturday the plan was to head north again and meet up with Wired To Hunt team members Peter, Ross and his wife Kendall to shed hunt a new 400 acre farm. Again we put in a lot of hours and miles, without a huge quantity of sheds – but I ended up finding my first Iowa shed, which also ended up being my largest shed found yet! It ended up scoring 50″.
Later that day Peter and Ross found several other sheds, including a nice heavy five point side and a 61″ shed found by Pete! Also that afternoon Pete found the match to my shed, which gave me a 48″ and 50″ side. With a 15″ spread, this buck would have been about a 113″ eight point two year old. He’ll be a dandy in a year or two!
When it was all said and done Corey went home with a 160″ match set and a two year four point side. Ross had found a 60″+ side and a decent two year old side and Pete had a 61″, a heavy 5 point side from a three year old and a yearling four point side. Not too bad for two days of walking!
Now that being said, from what the guys told me (who’ve lived and shed hunted in Iowa for the past few years), this was actually a really bad weekend of shed hunting. In fact this year in general has been pretty poor and our assumption is that it’s due to the mild winter. Without heavy snow and cold, deer haven’t herded up as much in certain areas – this has resulted in deer spread out widely and sheds as well.
So while our shed hunting trip may not have been as good as years past, I certainly can’t complain. I picked up my largest shed to date and came home with a nice match set, while also seeing more antlers found in a couple days than I’ve ever gotten to see before. Maybe this wasn’t the ultimate shed hunting trip – but it was a dang good one in my opinion, and I can’t wait to get back out next year!