Springtime is about new beginnings. It is the time of year that we reflect on the deer we chased and the turkey hunts to come all while we settle in for summer until we’re able to pick up our gun or bow and head back to the stand for next year’s adventure.
However, spring doesn’t mean that the whitetail hunts have to end. This is an excellent time of year to get out and go shed hunting. Shed hunting, looking for the remnants of last season’s whitetails, is quickly become one of the most popular hunting sports around. Early spring affords you the best chance to find sheds before the trees and grasses begin to green up and cover the landscape.
Deer in Kansas typically shed their antlers between December and March after the mating season has concluded. Since bucks use antlers to attract mates and defend against competing bucks, it is only after the mating season that they will shed their racks to aid in body recovery. After the antlers are shed the process of regeneration begins.
It doesn’t take a gun or bow to go shed hunting only persistence and a little luck. Shed hunting is relatively easy to do, requires no permit or weapon and can be enjoyable for the whole family.
Here are a few tips and pointers to get you started:
- Search in and around known bedding and feeding areas since this is where deer spend much of their time.
- Taking binoculars for spotting the difference between far off sticks and sheds will save you time and effort
- Because deer spend a lot of time during the winter sunning, check south facing slopes and hillsides.
- Creek and fence crossings are other great places to look because deer will often knock their antlers loose trying to cross these obstacles.
- Timber areas with low hanging branches or thickets are good spots to looks because the shedding antler will get caught on these obstructions as the deer pass through.
- Take your time, slow down and don’t forget to look down.
- Usually when you find on shed the match won’t be far from it. The deer can feel the awkwardness of carrying only one half of their rack so they’ll work hard to knock off the other side.
- Shed hunting can be an all day adventure so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and some snacks.
Shed hunting is not only a good reason to get back in the field, it’s also a great way to identify travel corridors and take inventory of the bucks that survived the winter for next year’s pursuit. Shed hunting can be a rewarding adventure as well as a great way to explore your property all while identifying projects to improve the habitat potential of your property for future hunting success.