By Mark Kenyon
This past weekend, I enjoyed my “best” day of shed hunting in Michigan to date. I found four sheds in about two hours, two of which are now my top two largest sheds I’ve ever found in my home state. But as great as it was to find those antlers, I was reminded of something even more important on this trip. I was reminded of what I believe is the single most important thing you can do to ensure a successful shed hunt.
That evening, hours after finishing our shed hunt, I was riding back home in the truck with a friend who’d not had the luck I enjoyed that day. And as we discussed the day’s events, he was clearly bummed about not having found the number of sheds he would have liked and shared his frustrations and the stress that had built up during the day. I sat there listening to him, nodding along, and thought back on plenty of other shed hunting trips where I had felt the same way. I usually am not the guy to pull in the big haul of sheds, so I could definitely relate. But hearing his dissatisfaction with the day also got me thinking about the inherent risks of approaching shed hunting with such an “end-result focus”, which I had also done so many times in the past.
If you love shed hunting, which many of us do, it’s also easy to get frustrated by shed hunting – or at least to get frustrated by those days or weekends or weeks when luck just isn’t with you, and you can’t find an antler to save your life. When we build up shed hunting so much in our minds, with finding antlers as our top goal, it’s no surprise that we get disappointed, frustrated or disenchanted when things aren’t going well.
The thing is, regardless of how much time or effort we put into a shed hunt, we still might not get the results we seek. Sure, a good strategy or great property can help you find more antlers, but at the end of the day, luck will always play a huge role in finding those needles in the haystack. And luck is something that we just can’t control.
That’s why I’ve come to believe that the single most important thing to ensure a successful shed hunt isn’t some kind of tip for spotting antlers or a suggestion as to where you should be searching or advice on the best days of the year to get out and start walking.
Instead, the key to a successful shed hunt is much more simple. If you want to ensure a successful shed hunt, you need to re-set what “successful” means to you.
A day spent walking a beautiful stretch of creek bottom or an open leafy bottomed timber. The first warm, sunny afternoon of spring. A few hours spent with good friends. What’s to complain about that?
Shed hunting is supposed to be fun, and assuming you let it be, it is! So this spring try to remember that it’s not all about antlers, but also about the walking and the breeze, the laughs and the sunshine, the good company and the search itself.
This shed hunting season, redefine what success means to you and I guarantee you’ll have more of it.
Heck, you might even find more sheds too.