Shed hunting isn’t easy, let’s get that out of the way first. That said, more than likely you are unhappy with the number of sheds you’re picking up every year. Also very likely, is that you are the one to blame for not finding them. Here’s three reasons you’re a terrible shed hunter.
SHED HUNTING BEFORE THERE ARE SHEDS
Know what makes it really hard to find sheds? Looking for sheds before there are any. If you’re glassing fields and busting through your sanctuary the first week of January, more than likely you’re wasting your time. More than that, you’re burning yourself out. You make a few walks, find nothing, declare they aren’t shedding on your property and give up.
Work smarter not harder. Did you already pull your trail cameras down? There’s your first mistake, especially if you’re using cell cams. Keep an eye on your deer. Even if most of your cameras are down, consider leaving one or two LINK-MICRO-LTE cameras in place to monitor the deer.
If bucks are still walking around with antlers, maybe don’t bother trying to find sheds. The BUCK TRACKER filters get a lot of attention during hunting season, but using the antlered/antlerless deer filter can help narrow down when sheds start hitting the ground too. The best time to hunt sheds is when there are actually sheds on the ground.
SHED HUNTING WHERE THERE AREN’T SHEDS
Shed hunting is looking for needles in haystack, but your haystack is a few hundred acres. Focus on the high percentage areas. Fence and ditch crossings are great, because the jostle of jumping often sends a shed flying.
During the time of year deer are shedding their antlers, they are focused on putting the feed sack on after the stress of the rut, so areas where deer are congregating around reliable food sources are also great. Since when they aren’t eating this time of year, they’re resting, plan to visit bedding areas a time or two as well, but not so often that you’re disturbing your deer.
Shed hunting is the only time most people visit their sanctuaries. In many cases, it's the most product shed hunting trip they make. If you go in to your deer sanctuaries in search of sheds, like we talked about in this blog from 2019, it's not a bad time to consider leaving a camera behind in or near the area. Solar cameras are an especially good option here. First, if you missed your window you can watch for when to come back, but also to get intelligence from an area you typically stay out of.
GIVING UP TOO SOON
Shed hunting is a numbers game. It’s like mushroom hunting, but even harder. More walking, more time, fewer rewards. Unless you have thousands upon thousands of acres to shed hunt on, a good year may yield only a handful of sheds, and it may take multiple hours of searching to find the few you do. If you expect to go out once or twice for a half hour and come home with a potato sack full of freshly-shed antlers, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Just wrap your mind around the fact that more than likely, you won’t find much if anything, and that when you do find something, it’s going to take a good long while to do so.
Shed hunting isn’t easy, and most people don’t find as many as they would like, but if you quit doing these three things just maybe you’ll be a little less bad at it.