The shed hunting craze is at full throttle. Come mid-March the majority of deer have shed, and the white gold left behind is up for grabs. When you look for deer sheds in certain habitat and topography, such as food plots, open timber, and large fields, it is fairly easy with enough eyes looking for white gold to find the majority of the sheds. However, some habitats such as thick timber and corn fields are some of the hardest areas to shed hunt in. Unfortunately, these are some of the best places to find deer sheds. While it might be impossible for us to find a shed in a corn field, using a dog to find sheds could be the ticket. How effective can a shed dog be at finding deer sheds? How many more sheds does a shed dog find than just you or a couple of friends? What habitats do shed dogs excel in finding sheds, what habitats are they not so effective in? How easy is shed dog training?
With the addition of Dan to the Holder family, Raised Hunting discusses using a shed dog and addresses these questions. Part of this discussion focuses on how effective a shed dog can be in certain habitats, and other considerations to think about when considering using a shed dog when you shed hunt this year.
How To Find Shed Antlers | Shed Hunting Dog Training (Pt 5)
Shed Dog Training Kits
Shed dog training starts with small steps. From indoor training to finding sheds on their own, dog training requires patience. To start you could use expert training tips and techniques, including a step by step guide for training dogs to find sheds. These include shed dog training kits from Dog Bone™. The Dog Bone™ Shed Antler Retrieving System allows you to teach your dog how to retrieve sheds by supplying not only information and a step by step process but the shape and smell of a shed antler. This shed dog training kit allows you to train gun/bird dogs or brand new pups.
https://www.raisedhunting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/shed-dog-training-tips_Feature-Low.jpg4231210Raised Huntinghttps://www.raisedhunting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Raised-Hunting-presented-by-Whittaker-Guns.pngRaised Hunting2017-03-14 16:46:402018-02-05 13:45:51Shed Dog Training Tips
Prime shed hunting season is upon us and if you have not been out looking yet, no time is better than now. Finding shed antlers is not easy especially if you have not trained yourself to find sheds. It is downright impossible to pick up any sheds with even the most trained eye if you are not searching in areas where bucks may have dropped them.
Find Deer First, Then Look for Sheds
Deer, and bucks particularly, can move into their winter patterns sometimes right after the conclusion of deer season. Those bucks that have survived will be finding ground that offers secure bedding areas and amble food sources to get them through the tough months ahead. Pressured bucks will often remain in secluded areas such as those off limits to hunting or designated sanctuary areas of a hunting property. Learning how to shed hunt in areas like these will increase your chances simply because they are likely to hold bucks that have survived long enough to shed their antlers.
Another way to up your chances of finding deer sheds is to eliminate ground. It is senseless to walk ground that has little to no winter deer activity. Again, first and foremost it takes a buck to find sheds and if no bucks are in a particular area you should spend time shed hunting somewhere else. One way to eliminate ground is to do some high-level scouting. Whether it be driving around looking for tracks in the snow around farm fields or using maps to identify areas that may have been hunted lightly or not at all, you can start to focus on where your time will be well spent shed hunting and where it will not.
Primary Areas to Find Shed Antlers
Now that you have found places deer are actively using this time of year, the next step is to hit the ground hunting for deer sheds. There are two primary areas to find shed antlers. Neither one will be surprising since both relate to the primary winter patterns of deer.
How To Find Shed Antlers | Best Places To Find More Deer Sheds (Pt 4 of 5)
(Video) In this fourth of 5 episodes, the team discusses the best places to find deer sheds. Searching bedding and feeding areas can yield the best results, because of the amount of time deer spend in those areas each day.
The first primary area for shed hunting is food sources. Deer are looking to not only recover lost energy during the rut, but they are also trying to maintain reserves throughout winter until spring brings renewed options to feed on. Unlike early fall where food is readily available, the shed hunting season falls within a harsh time for finding food for deer. Lush agriculture fields, food plots and vast acorn flats have all but diminished by now. What this means for those hunting for deer sheds is that deer are concentrated on just a few available food sources.
Focus on these three winter food sources as a primary spot to find shed antlers:
Leftover farm fields. Agricultural fields such as cut corn and soybeans offer leftover high-carb foods needed to meet the whitetail’s energy needs. Bucks will spend most of their time feeding in winter on these fields. Also, sometimes farmers will leave parts or whole corn fields still standing at this time of year, which are deer magnets in winter.
Oak lined ridge-tops. Two-fold here. If there was a good acorn crop, bucks can still find some scattered acorns for calories along these ridges, Also, winter weather like ice, snow and wind can blow tops out of trees providing adequate and easily accessible browse to keep bucks fed through winter.
Edges are always good. Edges offer young shoots and stems perfect for browsing. Deer will work the edges of woodlots along fallow fields browsing the first several feet of low, brushy growth left to flourish from the extra sunlight.
The second primary place for shed hunting is bedding areas. Bucks bed most of the day, usually near feeding areas like the ones discussed above. If you have not already pinpointed potential bedding areas on a property you are searching for deer sheds then start by following trails back from food sources. Additionally, use aerial maps to delineate possible bedding areas to check out by finding thick cover on southern exposures.
When hunting for sheds in bedding areas, consider these three types of areas:
Thermal pockets. Since the pressure is gone, bucks are mostly looking to survive and survive comfortably. When winter weather is in full force, bucks will bed in natural thermal pockets such as hollows and dense conifers to avoid the heaviest of snows and high winds. These areas are typically a few degrees warmer and have less snow, making for much more habitable conditions for bucks.
Southern exposures. Not every winter day is packed with sub-zero temperatures and snow. On these days, bucks will often bed in open, southern exposures. Southern exposures are not only warmer but thaw out quicker than other areas making travel easier (for deer and shed hunters alike) to move to and from food sources.
Thicket beds. If bucks are not bedding on southern exposures and they are not seeking thermal pockets then they are bedding in thickets. Bucks are likely to be bedding in thick, dense vegetation in areas that have extended late season hunting or places with high predator populations.
Bedding areas are only second to food sources for finding shed antlers because it is harder to see sheds in bedding areas. Sheds stick out in a cut bean field but are much more difficult to spot in tangled thickets that you can barely walk through.
Secondary Shed Hunting Areas
After exhausting food sources and bedding areas looking for deer sheds, there are two secondary areas that may land you a shed or two.
First, remember that a buck’s focus is mostly feeding and bedding, which is why those were the two primary areas to find shed antlers. However, a buck will have to travel back and forth and these trails can be where his antlers drop off. Worn trails with fresh tracks and scat leading from a food source are a good place to check out during shed hunting season. In extreme winter conditions, deer will condense into the same areas and these trails may hold several sheds from multiple bucks trying to access the only remaining food left on a property.
Another spot to look for sheds are crossings. These are areas like stream crossings and fence rows. The energy exerted and sometimes the force required to cross can jar a ready to fall off antler free from a buck’s head. When searching for sheds here, be sure to not just look right at the crossing but also a few feet on either side as the shed may have been tossed to the side from the act of crossing.
In conclusion, where to find deer sheds comes down to finding deer. The best places to shed hunt are where you will find bucks in February and March. Start with available food sources and bedding areas then move on to deer trails and crossings to maximize your chances of finding shed antlers this shed hunting season.
Shed season is reserved from February to March for the most dedicated outdoorsmen. This season is devoted to hitting mile after mile high and low to find deer sheds! The basics of shed hunting, besides when to go shed hunting, and where to find sheds, is how to find shed antlers. Perhaps an even bigger question is what can you find out from finding sheds?
How To Find Shed Antlers | Matching Antlers Year Over Year (Pt 3 of 5)
Why do you go out in search for deer sheds? Most of us would answer with one of these answers. “I like shed hunting just to get out there after hunting season ends. I shed hunt to scout the areas of my property that I normally stay out of. I shed hunt to simply find sheds, but see what bucks survived and to hopefully not find dead heads of bucks that did not.”
These answers are common but there is much more to shed hunting that we do not normally discuss. Just the fact of finding sheds to deer that you have seen before have not seen before, had trail camera pictures of, or are surprised to find thinking that they did not survive the season. One thing is for sure, finding the sheds, and getting the white gold in your hand is what it is all about. So why do you shed hunt?
What You Find Out By Finding Deer Sheds
When the shed is in hand you get several things that are addicting. Confirming the score of what you estimated the deer to be is one thing, but the biggest thing we deer hunters start to love as our passion grows is building history with deer. Trail camera pictures, sightings, encounters, close calls, multiple years of sheds, they all start to add up into a long history of somewhat of a nemesis out in your woods. Each and every year all of this data, and the location of where you find the deer sheds starts to add up and an incredible story of that deer’s movements, habits, and life takes shape. Knowing this confirms what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and shows you how and what to do with hunting another deer in similar areas.
Shed hunting can tell you a lot, it’s more than just an addicting hobby, its history, satisfaction, and information to fuel your passion! Looking for antlers provides a great sense of satisfaction as it connects you to the animals you chase. There is a great enjoyment to the activity since there are few barriers to heading afield to look and explore. Each shed antler teaches you more about the animal and how they use the land they live on because it shows you at one point they stood in that spot for a particular reason. That reason is up for you to decipher and put into your bank of knowledge for the coming fall.
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