By Mark Kenyon

When I first started shed hunting, I took a similar approach as I did to hunting mature bucks at the time. I figured the harder I hunted, the better my chances would be for success. But as I eventually found with actual hunting, that’s not always going to be true. In fact, in most cases smarter hunting is more important than harder hunting, and the same can be said for sheds. If you want to find more sheds, it’s time to get smart.

And so the question is, how can you be a smart shed hunter? To me the answer is simple, but well worth a reminder. Efficiency.

The average shed hunter figures that the more of a property they walk, the better chances they’ll have at finding antlers. The smart shed hunter thinks differently. Rather than walking an entire property, the smart shed hunter will spend all or most of his/her time on a smaller number of  focus areas – those areas with the highest likelihood of having sheds – and will then scour those key spots with great detail, ensuring that any hidden sheds are noticed.

Rather than spreading your hypothetical eight hours of walking equally across 100 acres, spend the majority of those hours walking the 20 or 30 or 40 acres acres that are most likely to hold sheds, and then move on to your next property and focus on those top acres, and move on to the next. If you do this right, rather than aimlessly walking lots of areas that likely didn’t have sheds to begin with, you can instead spend the majority of your time in high opportunity areas, which in turn will help keep your focus levels high, which then increases your chances of success even more.

So what do these highest percentage areas look like?

Quite simply, they’re the best bedding and feeding areas on your properties. This will be different depending on your property and what area of the country you’re in, but there are some typical hot-spots worth considering no matter where you are. First, if you have a high quality winter food source, focus lots of time in and around there. Maybe that’s a food plot, a cut corn field, a standing bean field, or a brushy cut-over – wherever deer are feeding consistently – you’ll have a chance at finding sheds. And then secondly, winter bedding. This might be a high spot in a swamp, a timbered point off a ridge, or a cedar choked hillside. Speaking of hillsides, specifically key in on those south facing hillsides, if present, as they’ll get the most sun in the winter months and will be comfortable warm bedding areas for deer.

So this shed season, plan on putting plenty of miles on the boots. But make sure they’re the right miles.

Be efficient with your time. Be a smart shed hunter.


Looking for more shed hunting help? Check out these other great resources:

Everything You Need To Know About Shed Hunting

When Should You Start Shed Hunting?

Train for Shed Hunting with these 40 Shed Antler Photos “As They Lay”

8 Steps To Being An Awful Shed Hunting Partner

Wired To Hunt Podcast #46: Expert Shed Hunting Tips w/Whitetail Properties