Three tips to successful antler hunting.
Finding a nice set of sheds is almost as fun as harvesting the animal. Antler hunting is becoming more and more popular. With more people doing it, we need all the help we can get. Not everyone has the time to spend 40 hours a week training a dog to hunt sheds for you. We don’t. Here are a few tips that have been fairly successful for us.
Know where to look:
You need to know where the animals spend the winter. This may seem like an obvious observation to some but not to all. The only way to actually know this for your area is to get out in the woods and figure it out. Here are some places for you to start.
The moose tend to like watery bogs and willow bottoms of creeks and draws.
Deer seem to stay near their food plots and thickets.
Most elk winter on the south-facing slopes and like high alpine meadows and openings.
Know when to look:
Most people make the mistake of starting to look for antlers too soon. While it is better to wait until you are sure the antlers will be on the ground, it is also not good to wait too long. The trick to being successful is getting out when there is still snow on the ground.
The elk don’t actually lose their antlers in their wintering grounds. They usually lose them on their way from their wintering ground to their summer grounds. This is usually in late March and into April.
For moose you want to look in willow draws where there’s quite a bit of water. You want to find their trails and follow them, usually in January and sometimes as late as February. Find places where they rub. I have found many antlers (both sides) right by the tree where they rub.
The deer usually start losing their antlers in late December through the end of January.
Find the trails at this time and follow the trails:
I like to find fence lines, follow the fence lines, and wherever they jump the fence. A lot of times they lose their antlers there. You can also find them in an area where they jump a creek or a log.
Also, look through thickets where the antlers are knocked off by branches or brush. Other places to look are south-facing slopes, around rim rocks, and bedding areas.
For elk, find their wintering areas and follow their trails on high ridges and rocky faces where the wind blows and the snow is shallow.
Please, if you walk into an area where there is a lot of animals, back out and come back in at another time. Let’s not push the animals around.
Now let’s get off the couch and go find some antlers.
Hunter’s Best, helping create memories.