Sheds are the deer hunter’s winter treasure. It’s a great way to spend some time in the woods, learn more about the deer and the lay of the land. Shed hunting follows the same principals as deer hunting itself. Pattern the deer, figure out where they are spending their time, and put yourself in a good position for success. Here are four areas that you should identify when you decide to hit the woods.
1. Bedding Areas
When we talk about areas where deer hang out, the most logical spot is where they sleep. Deer will spend a lot of time bedded up in the cold winter months, so just based off of percentage of time spent somewhere, this gives you a pretty good shot.
Things to look for in identifying a bedding area: 1. Cover 2. Protection from the wind 3. Evidence of deer beds 4. Pay attention to the trails leading into and out of the bedding areas.
2. Natural Crossing
One of the most common areas for sheds to drop is in areas where bucks have to jump. The jarring landing can cause the antlers to pop off. Again find areas where bucks travel and look for areas they have to jump. Fences and ditches that lay across travel corridors are great places to look.
3. South Facing Hillside
One of the most popular winter activities that deer enjoy is sunbathing. Deer will spend a lot of time laying on the south facing slopes of hillsides. A full belly and warm sunbeam are the perfect nap accessories. Just ask any deer hunter after lunch. Deer are no exception to this wilderness phenomenon.
4. Gathering Areas
Play the law of large numbers here. It is so important for deer to find food in the winter. If you can identify a food source that draws deer in, you will most likely find sheds. Again pay attention to the trails coming into the feeding area, especially if it is a field with a fence around it.
Think of shed hunting the same way you think about hunting during the season. Employ the same techniques and you will set yourself up to have success.