So much emphasis is placed on finding a giant shed, but what does a shed antler really mean for your herd and hunting management?
Shed Antler Findings
How does finding a shed antler relate to your overall whitetail efforts? Is your time being well spent? I love to find a great shed, however, I also find it critical to scout, prepare stand locations, create bedding areas and get to know the local buck movements. Can it all be accomplished at once? I believe it can, if you keep in mind the true meaning of shed hunting.
1. He's still alive!
For me, the number one reason to find a shed is to let me know that a specific buck is still alive. That being said, I practice a strict trail camera regiment that should have already revealed that fact to me several times over. While a giant shed on the mantel is pretty cool, make sure to focus on your trail cam strategy to maintain a high level of scouting first.
2. Habitat for sheds?
Often the variety of habit to find shed antlers in, is not necessarily the habitat that a mature buck resides in during the Summer. My own personal lands that I have owned or leased in southern MI, the UP of MI, or in southwest WI, have proven that to me time and time again.Why, because I create the lands I manage to be extremely attractive in the Fall, which doesn't necessarily mean that they are collecting deer during the Winter, Spring or Summer. A huge pile of sheds doesn't necessarily mean that the habitat on your land is adequate for molding, shaping and hunting a quality deer herd - but it does meant that your land is great for sheds!
3. Buck bedding area shed magic?
Finding an incredible bedding area with a dream shed in the middle of it is pretty cool, but keep in mind that buck's Fall range could be a mile or more away.
4. What does finding a shed antler really mean?
While a shed antler may not tell you where a buck lives during the hunting season or if your habitat fits the bill for actually influencing the herd, it does tell you that he is alive. However, for me personally that's not the reason to go shed hunting!
For me personally, shed hunting is about scouting deer in general, getting outside during the late Winter and enjoying the land to its fullest. A shed antler discovery is just a bonus!
Shed Antler Scouting Conclusion
Learning how deer move throughout the landscape, where they prefer to hide during the day, and why they choose to move thru certain areas prior to dark, are all great reasons to hunt shed antlers! However, a case can be made that many great shed hunters at times neglect their actual whitetail scouting efforts.
The more you can immerse yourself within the world of whitetail movements, the more that you can discover the truth meaning of locating your next great shed encounter. Even habitat improvement efforts and trail cam strategies can be completed while keeping an eye out for sheds. In the end, the shed antler may not be the goal - but instead, the bonus for a great scouting mission or whitetail habitat effort, in the woods.
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