As summer and fall begin to approach this year, consider taking up the sport of “shed hunting”. Watch for that monster buck with a beautiful set of antlers and then sit back and wait…
Shed hunting is a hobby that consists of wandering around the woods looking for “antler drops”. Where you are in the country will determine what sheds you will find. Around the nation, you can find sheds from mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose, but in the Northeast you will be find sheds from white –tailed deer or moose.
The time when animals drop their antlers is different throughout the United States, and can be rather different from state to state. Moose naturally shed their antlers every year starting in November through early spring. While white-tailed deer usually shed their antlers in February. The timing will depend on the maturity of the animal.
Shed hunting is rather competitive and consists of long hours of walking. Sheds benefit wildlife and hunters in a few different ways. Both moose and deer sheds are loaded with nutrients that other animals take advantage of through the winter months. A few animals that seek out sheds are mice, squirrels, and coyotes. By the time many shed hunters find a shed, they have likely been chewed on. Hunters benefit from shed hunting not for their nutrients but in all the miles walked searching, they also learn the animals winter patterns and the area around them. When hunting season comes around they will have learned patterns, heard sizes, and have a better idea if the forest is can sustain a healthy heard.
-Kelly Brooks, GBNERR Stewardship Assistant