"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." - Aldo Leopold

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Accidental Shed Hunter

Saturday, March 6th, I finally wrapped my longing fingers around deer antler. Too bad there was no buck attached.

Monitoring the online forums a month or so ago, I asked my friends as USA Hunting Pros how they went about hunting for sheds, an activity they regard with much enthusiasm. In short, the answers I got were solid – search bedding and feeding areas.

One problem with this, though – geography. Most of the hunters on this site hail from the Midwest where the terrain is more open than where I hunt in Florida. No doubt they have choked up bottoms and such, but unless a buck drops horn in an oak hammock or food plot, it is a different game here, and Lord knows I’m not going traipsing through palmetto flats and swamps looking for a shed. Honestly, I’ve not spent a great deal of time on the hobby.

I’ve found a few – and some right fine ones – over the years, but completely on accident, which makes plenty of sense since most of the deer I’ve harvested have come to me in similar fashion. But, I always keep my eyes open.

Well, wouldn’t you know it? I found my first shed in a long time, a little forkie horn laying on a game trail between the broom sedge as I walked a climber stand out of a hammock. Dad thinks it may have come off a small buck he’d been seeing in there during the season. Though it’s awfully wimpy, I was pleased.

I don’t have any real answers to how Florida hunters could go about searching for their own sheds in any purposeful manner other than spending a lot of time walking around. Some people have suggested checking burned out palmetto flats and pine stands and look for the white horn against the black landscape. Makes sense. A couple of sheds I’ve happened upon have rested by creek beds and totally random spots while I’ve been quail hunting or following up blood trails while winter hog hunting.

If anybody has any tips on hunting sheds, here or up north, feel free to share!

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