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Shed Hunting

Why Shed Hunt

June 2, 2012 by CouesWhitetail in Shed Hunting with 0 Comments
coues shed

A shed antler I found in the Galiuro Mountains in Arizona during my November 2002 deer hunt. It was lying near some boulders along the side of a dry drainage lined with oak trees. Click on picture to enlarge.

Why Shed Hunt?

Shed hunting can be a great way to scout out an area. While you are searching for antlers, you will learn where the deer trails are and the bedding areas and probably where the water sources are. Shed hunting is also a great way to keep in shape during the off-season. It’s a great family outing too. Kids will enjoy spending time in the woods with you and their eyes will light up if they get lucky enough to find an antler!

When to shed hunt?

Coues deer shed their antlers much later in the year than do the northern and eastern whitetails. Coues shed theirs from April to May. This means that if you are a shed hunter, you will be out hunting up the newest sheds in some of the hottest times of the year. Of course you can find sheds at any time of the year, but the freshest sheds will be in the Spring when the bucks are dropping them. Shed antlers look best when they are newly shed. Over time, the antler becomes cracked and faded if it falls in an area exposed to the sun.

Where to shed hunt?

Did you see a huge buck last fall and you are wondering where his sheds are? Since I am not a big shed hunter, I imagine there are a lot of other people who could answer this question better than I can. Most of the time that I find sheds I am not actively searching for them, but just scouting or hunting. I often find shed antlers in drainages. That is probably due more to the antlers being washed into the drainage rather than the deer actually shedding there. So when I am scouting out an area, I tend to look more for antlers when I am in a drainage. I also find antlers around bedding areas and in some of the more open feeding areas, such as juniper and oak flats. You want to search in areas where the bucks are in April and May. If you are looking for a particular bucks sheds, try and locate where he is spending his time just before shedding time.

Can you train your dog to shed hunt?

Some people do use dogs to help them find sheds. I have a dog who loves to hunt (or rather chase things). But she isn’t very impressed with my request to have her find some inanimate thing like antlers. I have asked around on the best method to train a dog to shed hunt. Some have told me to use the force-breaking-to-retrieve technique. With that technique you are supposed to be able to train a dog to retrieve all kinds of things that it wouldn’t normally be interested in. Other people say they just play games with their dogs involving antlers, so that the dog thinks antlers are fun to pick up.

Have you taught your dog to shed hunt? How did you do it? Let us know.

To see pictures of sheds, go to the Coues deer shed photo gallery.

coues sheds

Got some antlers you want to sell? Call Antlers Southwest, they know antlers!

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