It’s a strange time of year here at Two Dog Outdoors. Deer and duck hunting seasons have ended and turkey season has not opened here in the upstate of SC. The rains held off this weekend and with temperatures in the 60’s, we had to get outdoors. Our kids love to be outdoors, but if left to their own devices, can get into trouble.
To remedy this, we turn our attention to the ground and let the kids go shed hunting.
Each spring, male deer shed(or lose) their antlers before beginning to grow new ones over the summer.
Deer typically shed their antlers around the same time each year, but when this time period occurs can vary due to geography, age of the deer, environmental conditions, and diet just to name a few. There are also theories that whitetail deer genetics play a factor in when deer shed their antlers. To sum it, no one really knows exactly what the contributing factor or factors may be. Before venturing out, we checked the game cameras to see if the whitetail bucks still had antlers attached.
Shed hunting is quickly growing in popularity. There is little to no equipment needed. Here in the south, a pair of walking shoes or boots is all you need to begin. For a greater chance of success, begin looking in high foot traffic areas where, or between where, deer bed or frequently feed. The longer the deer spend in an area, the higher chance their antlers will be located close by.
Be sure to check in the brush around bedding areas as well. Rodents and squirrels like to chew on fresh antlers and will pull them into the brush for more cover.
Man’s best friend is another valuable resource when shed hunting. Dogs that like to use their nose and retrieve can quickly be taught to retrieve a shed. I have even seen kits for purchase at outdoor stores that come with a bottle of scent and a small antlers to train with.
Our command for the dogs to target sheds is “find the bone.” We may rethink this command for our future dogs. Last weekend on our shed hunt, our golden retriever brought back a whitetail shoulder blade.
Shed hunting is a fun hobby to take up in early spring. Most hunters have been patterning deer all fall and winter so locating their high traffic areas should be easy. Bring a dog that likes to use it’s nose to try and pick up on the scent and to cover more ground. If you aren’t successful this year, at least it was a pretty spring day to be out in the woods.
PS- While you are out looking for sheds, bring a bag along and pick up trash while you are at it. There is a #tinesandtrash campaign going on right now to encourage keeping lands trash free for all to enjoy.