Shed Hunting: You’re a hunter, you’ve been hunting all fall, chasing that same buck. This time he eluded you and you want to see if he made it through the pursuit. It’s time to shed hunt him.
Shed hunting is an awesome reason to get back out in the woods. It helps fight off the post season hunting blues, it can give you hope for next season, and it can teach you a lot about deer movement.
You need to step back though if you want to have success. Where you saw the bucks during the fall hunting season probably won’t be the same spots that you will find sheds.
Imagine you’re a buck in the pre-rut early fall. Your testosterone is ratcheting up, you can’t get enough to eat. You are completely focused on food and territory for the upcoming mating season. You start with some lite sparring with your friends, but as the season wears on the fights get a little more intense. The competition becomes real. The battle scares become real. The fight for food, territory, and mating rights becomes real. Your testosterone levels peak, you are ready to love and the does are ready to love you! Just when everything seems perfect, all the hard-fought battles and energy expended has paid off and the time is right something big, smelly, and loud crashes the party and ruins the mood. Now you have to keep away from the worlds biggest love block, chase does all over the county because they’ve been pushed out, stay out all night and when you’re exhausted coming home at day light, make sure you don’t end up hanging from a tree. Sounds like an exhausting four months or so, right?
So now it’s late December, the woods are empty, the does are bred, your testosterone returns to normal, and all you want to do is SLEEP!
If that where you, where would you go? You would go to the quietest bedroom, with the warmest blanket (because its freezing out) and you would keep your fridge stocked as full as you could get it. Oh and then your beautiful, triumphant head gear would fall off.
Bucks at this time of year don’t spend time in their pre-rut areas, you are going to find them in places where they feel secure, where they can get some relief from the cold, and have access to food. The large home range that’s so hard to patrol in the fall is given up for a quiet warm area that can be used to recover from wounds, conserve energy for the long winter, and rest.
The best place to start to find these bedding areas are to identify food sources. Bucks will be relatively close by in dense areas that give them protection. Look on east facing hillside’s that heat up the fastest in the morning when the sun comes up. Also look for the travel trails to the food source. Places where they jump a fence or another obstacle can jar the antlers loose when they land.
Think like a post season buck and you can put yourself in the right vicinity to have shed hunting success.
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