Shed Hunting must be different in the northern states. I have shed hunted for the last 3 years and what do I have to show for it? 2 sheds, that were over a year old and found within 100 yards of our farm house – technically found on my way to shed hunt…. Here’s one of the monsters I found. That’s right take it in, I taste your seething jealousy and its delicious!
After 3 years of hunting and hours upon hours of searching my property, coming up shed-less and seeing pictures like this pic below posted on the interwebs, I have developed a few theories as to why I am not finding any sheds.
1. The sheds just aren’t big enough. This seems to be the best theory I have because lord knows it’s not the hunter! I have hunted this property for approximately 30 years and literally have never found a quality shed. Let me also point out that over the 30 years this buck (see photo) was one of the Top 5 largest bucks killed on the property and he was a rarity. I’m guessing he doesn’t even gross 120 and I wouldn’t know because I’ve never scored it and I don’t intend to. In any event, if we had a number of these quality bucks or even better a bunch that were 150 inches or more, I would think they would be easier to see and find.
Side note: In the last 5 years I have gotten rid of some trigger-happy people and implemented a management plan. Over the last 2 years I have seen better bucks than in the prior 28 years combined. I think that some of this is absolutely management of the property, but I also think I owe some credit to neighbors letting young bucks walk. Last but not least, I believe the number one factor is trail cameras. I think this is the leading reason bucks are getting bigger, because people now know what’s in the woods they hold out for a specific deer or even just a bigger one versus shooting the first decent buck they see. I know because I was that person.
2. Bucks don’t live on my property. I have thought this for years and my game cameras seem to lend credence to this theory. My property is absolutely covered with does and fawns year-round, then come late-October, well hello boys! (Song plays, boys are back in town…)
They show up, hang out, rut like crazy through November, stick around through early January then, Poof!!! Gone again. I will say this year I saw more buck tracks in my early March scouting than ever, but they were small tracks and again, no sheds.
3. The cover is just flat out too thick. Truth. Our woods are thick with leaf litter, briars and other scrubby scruffy stuff that coats the forest floor. You are lucky if you can see 50 yards in places and our bucks don’t seem to hang out in the edge of the agriculture fields (which are just hay pastures) because they are just too exposed. We don’t have four to six-foot agriculture fields that get routinely harvested or tall CRP fields. At best we have 3-foot native grass. This leaves them exposed to the roads, so they don’t hang out there much. If you are out walking the property and you drop a glove, a knife or your phone and have taken more than three steps, forget it, it’s gone forever.
4. Bucks in my area don’t shed. I know, I know, science, blah, blah, blah. The only reason I am event putting this down is because I have never seen a buck reappear year after year (this must be another northern state trend). I think I owe this to survival rates referred to in paragraph one and then of course, again, I know its false because of, science duh….and of course pics like this.
Who knows maybe all these theories are wrong. Maybe those northern guys just have an edge on me. Maybe it’s because they have time to plant winter food plots or there is some other agriculture related planting/harvest that hones them in on where to look. Or maybe, just maybe, I am inept at finding sheds. I consider myself a decent hunter with a keen eye and a great hiker but apparently, I am an abysmal shed hunter. In any event, if you live in the south like me, I would suggest we blame it on 1-4 above and talk trash on all those northerners and about how those guys with their 150” deer, ag fields and food plots jut have it easy. They don’t know what hard work is… I’d like to see one of them find an antler that doesn’t even gross 20 inches. But in all seriousness, I don’t want to hate on those guys – I am just kidding and have nothing but love (and a bit of jealousy) for them. In any event, don’t get discouraged! It’s really not about finding sheds. It’s about getting outside, seeing the first signs of a spring and taking in all the beauty that nature has to offer. When we are free to explore the outdoors after surviving the doldrums of January and February, we are all champions!
–The 8 Point