Although deer hunting season is over with there is still something to look forward to, and that’s shed hunting.
There is a lot to know about shed hunting but first you need to know a little about how a deer loses their antlers.
A deers antlers quickly grow for two to four months, during this growing phase the antlers are covered in a layer of velvet. During the summer months high levels of testosterone slow antler growth, and the velvet starts to constrict and cut off the supply of nutrients to the antlers. The velvet then begins to peel off as the buck rubs against trees. After the rut is over a bucks testosterone level begins to decline, and when it drops to a certain level the bone where the antlers attach to the deers scull, called a pedicel starts to weaken. Eventually as the tissue between the antler and the pedicel gets weaker and weaker and the antlers break off.
One of the most important things about shed hunting is timing. Deer usually drop their antlers sometime between late December in early March depending on where the deer is located, and whether or not the deer has poor nutrition.
grandviewoutdoors.com states that this process can happen quickly; antlers that are firmly attached one day can weaken and fall off within 24 to 48 hours.
archery360.com says that location is another very important thing to keep in mind, look at places that the deer would have to jump, like fences, streams and things like that, because when a deer jumps the antler could become loose and fall off.
“Make sure you walk slower than you think you need to”, says Joe Shead from wiredtohunt.com , “There are a lot of things on the ground that look like sheds and many other things that can cover up sheds. Sheds look a lot like sticks, brush and cornstalks so your eyes need time to separate the grain from the chaff. Your pace should be dictated by how fast your eyes can thoroughly scan the ground, not how fast you can walk.”
Once you find one antler your going to need to find its other half, and it’s most likely nearby. Mature bucks grow annoyed by the lopsided weight on their heads. When one shed drops, the buck usually tries to lose the other.