If you are looking for a way to beat cabin fever and get out in the woods for some scavenging fun, then looking for deer antlers is a way to do it. But going around to the places where you shot a buck in the fall isn’t the way to do it. That’s going to lead you in circles and be a huge waste of time.
There are certain places where the experts go when collecting deer antlers, and that’s where you need to search as well. In this article, we will speak of the top 5 tips to follow when going on a deer antler hunt.
1. Look For the Right Foods
As winter comes along, it becomes harder for bucks to find and forage for food. But there will be some areas where deers will concentrate to eat. Often there’s one field that attracts all the deer, while the other field is left untouched.
Also, to recuperate their lost energy in the wintertime, deer will tend to focus their energies on finding high-carb foods, like corn and soybeans. They will seek these out so they can stuff themselves and store that converted fat for wintertime. Find the right deer magnet foods and you will find your deer antlers as well.
2. Time Your Search Well
You are not going to be the only shed hunter going about looking for deer antlers. So you have to watch out for that competition.
But more than that, you will also be competing with squirrels, mice, and porcupines who eat shed antlers for the calcium. In such cases, where there are lots of squirrels around, you will want to get out early and quite often.
A squirrel can devour a full shed antler in less than a week. In areas where there are no squirrels, you can take your time and go out less frequently.
You will also need to get out early if you are dealing with the public ground. For private ground, wait until March. That’s when all the bucks would have shed their antlers, and it’s more likely you would end up finding one for your display collection.
Or you could use the antlers to make deer antler velvet (click for some deer antler velvet benefits).
3. Check Deer Beds
During wintertime, deers will spend a large amount of their time in bed to conserve energy. There are two bedding covers you need to watch out for.
Thermal bedding cover is usually the snarliest and nastiest thicket quite near to a food source. The weather is windy, the snow is blowing, or it’s overcast. You will also find thermal bedding cover in creek bottoms where deers can get out of the elements and truly rest.
Solar bedding cover, on the other hand, is the bed deers use on sunny days. These are the southern slopes of hills with an open canopy of trees. It provides them with a place where they can see in front of them and smell what’s behind them.
It will allow the sun’s rays to hit their bodies warming them up. As the sun moves across the sky, the deers will tend to get up and move to get out of the shade and back into the warming sun. The more they move, the more likely they are to drop an antler.
The good thing about southern slopes is that they experience earlier snowmelt, being more exposed to the sun. Thus, it’s a good chance for you to go picking for deer antlers, even when snow is covering other areas.
As you go out searching for deer antlers, keep a lookout for all these circumstances, and take notes, so you will have a record for next time. You don’t want to cover the same ground over and over again, because that would just be a waste of your time.
You can also drop markers on trees or use some other marker, to keep track of the areas you’ve covered and the ones you still need to check.
4. Walk Slowly and Keep Your Eye on the Ground
The main thing to remember when learning how to find deer antlers is that this is a game of patience and perseverance. The best antler hunters (or shed hunters as they are also called) are the ones who don’t ever get impatient by the process. They are always willing to go out once again, no matter how many times they came up with nothing.
Walk slowly when you are looking for deer antlers, keeping your eye on the ground. Whenever you see an item that looks like deer antlers, walk towards the item and analyze what it is. It could be a cornstalk or a stick.
Either way, the more you observe your surroundings, the more your eyes will learn what deer antlers look like, as opposed to other items.
Also, don’t look around or up too much when shed hunting – first-time shed hunters tend to focus higher up off the ground too often, but that’s not where you will find deer antlers.
5. Windblown Hilltops
Deer are always looking for food to build up their energy store in the winter. And windblown hilltops have less snow on them, so the food is more exposed. This is why deer are usually attracted to such hilltops, feeding there, moving about, and probably losing an antler or two.
Deer Antlers Are Easy to Find if You Know Where to Look
Don’t focus on one or two of the tips above, but try to mingle all of them together to find the best spot for shed hunting. Just because you are a newbie, doesn’t mean that you are going to be completely hopeless at finding deer antlers.
You might even have beginner’s luck and end up stumbling upon your first-ever deer antlers. Don’t lose hope and keep on trying!
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