Fall is the time of year when everything is changing, the leaves are falling, the grass is becoming brittle and the temperature is on the way down. This is the time when deer hunting is at its best. Rifle season and bow hunting is well underway and the deer are on the move. But there is another great sport to engage in that doesn’t need tags or a rifle. Shed hunting, or hunting for a deer’s shed antlers, in the fall is a difficult but often times a rewarding undertaking. To help new shed hunters find sheds in the fall here are some helpful tips and tricks.
Even though deer lose their antlers in the mid-spring the sheds tend to stick around all year. Many times these sheds will be worn down by little critters like squirrels nibbling on the stumps and other animals tromping over them throughout the year. But even though there are some degraded antlers on the ground it is still possible to find great sheds in the fall. The first thing to know is where to look. At this point the sheds in the fields have been destroyed often times by tractors and replanting of crops over the summer so looking instead on the edges of the field at the fence lines and on the tree lines is a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to use a pair of binoculars. A good pair for this job would be the RedHead Rubber Armor Binoculars - Porro Prism, these binoculars are built to be carried around in rough terrain and still work great, so they are perfect for scanning the tree lines and the edges of fields for those elusive fall sheds. Another good set of binoculars for shed hunting is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars, these binoculars are perfect for shed hunting because they have such a clear and crisp sight pattern it is easy to spot anomalies on the ground like a little white antler sticking out of the foliage. A great idea to consider in the fall when looking for sheds is that the shed is probably partly buried by debris so looking for an entire shed during the fall is not the way to proceed. Instead look for the tines or points of a shed poking through the brush or from under leaves. This entails looking for white and brown shaded points along the ground or suspended in light brush, this is where a lot of deer tend to lose their antlers as they get stuck in the foliage.
Now that the human aspect of shed hunting is done it is time to get some help from man’s best friend. Having a dog on the hunt for sheds is a great way to increase the number of sheds found and have fun with the family pet. A good way to get a dog ready for the shed hunt is to get them used to the smell of the shed and the shape of the shed. One of the best ways to do this is to get an antler scent and a plastic antler to train with. A good antler scent to use is the DogBone Antler Scent, this scent helps the dog associate the scent of an antler with the sport of finding stuff in the back yard making it fun for both the owner and the dog while actually hunting sheds. Another shed kit to use for this same purpose would be the DogBone Shed Antler Retrieving System. This allows a shed hunter to hide the shed in the backyard with the scent of an actual shed on the plastic antler. The dog then gets to go find the shed in the yard training them to find sheds while having fun in the backyard. This is a great training tool but a potential shed hunter needs to make sure to teach the dog to hold the shed lightly or it might be damaged while the dog is retrieving an actual shed in the field.
While shed hunting in the fall is fun and a good challenge shed hunting can be done all year long. The skills learned in the fall can be applied to all seasons especially the winter when looking under leaves can be substituted for looking for points in the snow. As always happy hunting and good luck!