Is It Time to Start Shed Hunting Yet?
It’s finally that time of year, the time to get out in the woods and start shed hunting…. or is it? We’ve posted several informative blogs on how to get better at finding shed antlers, but you need to know when to get out and look! How do you know when to get out and look though? Well, in Wisconsin and most of the northern midwest, we still have a ton of snow, but that can be helpful in certain situation. Each one of us will have a different set of situations and locations to find sheds, but take into account these considerations and you will know exactly when to start shed hunting in your area. Now get out and find some antlers!
Date is always an important factor and most research suggests that the majority of antlers fall between January 15 and March 1st. There may be some anomalies but barring any strange happenings some of the best time to be out in the woods and fields is between February 15 and March 30th to prevent the rodents from getting them first. Antlers are cast due to the fact that daylight levels are getting longer and that is how deer work. This is the same as with the rut. Without getting into too many specifics, you will find that when the days begin to get longer, the deer tend to lose their antlers.
Check Your Cams
If you still have cameras out, you can monitor when the deer cast their antlers. If you don’t have your cameras out, then get them out! Different areas and health of the deer herd contribute to the times that antlers fall, but the best way to know is to see a photo or a deer with no antlers. If you can monitor your deer herd with a trail camera near a food source, then you’ll be the first to know when the bucks stop dropping their antlers and when you need to get out shed hunting.
Health of the Deer
As we said earlier, the health of the deer herd has a lot to do with antler drop. A healthy deer typically will hold it’s antlers longer than a struggling deer. Weather, lack of food, injuries and body damage all contribute to when a deer drops its antlers. If you want to find the antlers of a specific buck and that buck is injured, you had better look sooner rather than later.
If you have had a particularly hard winter like the one that we have this year with a lot of snow, ice and cold days, then this could affect antler drop. I know that I’ve seen it in my area. Deer usually drop a little later, but most have all shed by now due to the difficulty of getting food and the cold weather. Lots of snow makes it tough to find food and that makes it harder for deer to eat. Less nutrient=earlier drop. You get the picture.
While it’s probably time for you to get out and look by now, these will help you decide. I went last weekend and noticed that the 2 feet of snow was a pain in the ass to walk through, but I’ll be out there when it melts a bit and I hope that you can find some bone as well.
Send us your photos of the sheds that you find to PJ@MorningMoss.com.